It’s starting to get tasty towards the bottom of the league and Newcastle United have been left looking over their shoulder after a run of three defeats in a row with this latest loss at the hands of Manchester United.
The signs were ominous before the game as the hosts welcomed back both Pogba and Zlatan to their ranks, the former fit enough to gain a starting birth for the Red Devils.
For Newcastle it was a case of having to cope with three regular first teamers with all of Atsu, Merino and Lascelles still ruled out with injury.
STARTING XI: Elliot, Yedlin, Lejeune, Clark, Manquillo, Murphy, Hayden, Shelvey, Ritchie (Aarons, 66), Gayle (Diame, 77), Joselu (Mitrovic, 71)
On a day when most expected Manchester United to roll over their visitors, Newcastle United couldn’t have made a better start.
Gayle again was afforded the opportunity to start the game from Rafa and he paid his boss back for the faith shown in him. Pressing from the start Newcastle looked lively and were causing Manchester United problems before a break from Yedlin down the right would see him cut the ball back to Gayle who’s first time effort would be perfectly placed past de Gea’s right hand.
And for half an hour things ewer looking good with the high press seeing several of the Red Devils players rattled in possession.
We should have known better.
On 37 minutes it was all square. A lovely piece of skill from the returning Pogba would give him the time and space to cross and find Anthony Martial at the back stick who headed home.
The home side now well on top it was looking like Newcastle would get to the break all square and the chance to regroup. No such luck!
A cross the the reinvented Ashley Young would find Chris Smalling who would finish past Elliot deep into injury time at the end of the half.
The second half would be very one sided. And when Pogba turned from provided to goal scorer on 54 minutes most Newcastle fans were fearing the worst. And worse it would get as Lukaku ended his mini goal drought after a lovely ball over the top allowed him to slot home.
The reappearance of Zlatan Ibrahimovic after 75 minutes and 7 months out injured would do little to settle nerves of the travelling Newcastle faithful but the black and whites would ‘hold on’ for the last twenty minutes without conceding again.
One bright spark would be a thoroughly decent display from Murphy who made a start with the continued absence of Atsu. We will need some big performances from the likes of him before this season is finished if we are to stay out of the drop zone.
A day, well an hour, to forget for the Magpies.