A visit to Manchester United and Old Trafford has not been the most pleasant experience over the years, although a bore draw and a famous Cabaye winner would give the Geordie faithful some optimism before kick off.
With pressure cranked up on both sides before the match, and rumours that this could be Jose’s last game in the Manchester United dug out, it felt like this one meant more than just a victory to both managers.
And Newcastle could not have made a better start. Two goals inside 11 minutes had the travelling Newcastle fans in dreamland. The first a suburb finish from Kenedy after being played in by Perez and the second a great turn and finish from Muto, both for their first goals of the season.
But delight would turn to despair for all in black and white, well blue, as Manchester United came back in the second half to score three of their own in the last 20 minutes of the game, the final goal being in the 90th minute to send Rafa and his men back to Newcastle with nothing.
Devastating on all accounts after such a good display.
Rafa had made changes in his starting eleven in the hope of getting something from the game. Fernandez recalled after injury but Dummett wouldn’t make it meaning a start for Manquillo. The biggest, and perhaps most welcome, new however was the inclusion of Muto up front with Joselu only making the bench and with Rondon still missing.
STARTING XI: Dubravka, Manquillo, Fernandez, Lascelles, Yedlin, Shelvey, Diame, Kenedy (Murphy, 68), Perez (Joselu, 88), Ritchies, Muto (Atsu, 78)
Newcastle had already started brightly, closing down the spaces and putting pressure on a fragile Manchester United back line. This even before a ball through the defence by Perez allowed Kenedy to brilliantly move the ball onto his left and curl home from 20 yards, giving de Gea no chance. 1-0 after just 7 mins.
And it would get better for the Magpies when a cross into the box just 4 minutes later by Shelvey would find Muto, who’s control and turn allowed him to strike thunderously past the Man U keeper again, this time from inside the box.
And it could have been three in the first half as first de Gea saved brilliantly when Muto got a header on target from only 5 yards out, and then Newcastle were denied a penalty when a Shelvey free kick blatantly hit a Manchester United arm inside the box to deflect the free kick wide of the goal. The referee giving Manchester United a goal kick!!
Manchester United had been pretty abject to this point. Mata had already been introduced part way through the first half, before Fellaini was put on at half time and Sanchez on 67.
And it would be the subs that would make all the difference.
First a free kick from Mata on 70 minutes after a clumsy tackle by Diame.
Manchester United now with their tails up would get another from Martial after a smart interchange between himself and Pogba.
The grandstand finish was all set up, and it could have been a Newcastle winner had Ritchie’s back heel not hit a defender and deflected into the arms of de Gea rather than finding it’s way to Perez.
Instead a right win cross would find Sanchez unmarked six yards out on the stoke of 90 minutes to send the home fans into delirium and Newcastle broken.
Tough to take on so many levels, but just the way this season is going so far…