Manchester United 3-2 Newcastle United (October 2018)

Goalscorers: Kenedy 7, Yoshinori Muto 10, Juan Mata 70, Anthony Martial 76, Alexis Sanchez 90


Manchester United: David de Gea, Eric Bailly (Juan Mata 19), Chris Smalling, Luke Shaw, Ashley Young, Nemanja Matic, Scott McTominay (Marouane Fellaini 45), Paul Pogba, Romelu Lukaku, Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford (Alexis Sanchez 47)

Newcastle United: Martin Dubravka, Federico Fernandez, Jamaal Lascelles, Javi Manquillo, DeAndre Yedlin, Mohamed Diame, Jonjo Shelvey, Matt Ritchie, Kenedy (Jacob Murphy 68), Yoshinori Muto (Christian Atsu 78), Ayoze Perez (Joselu 88)

Referee: Jon Moss, Attendance: 53,213

The build-up to Newcastle United’s trip to Old Trafford in October 2018 was about the short-term future of Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho. Feverish reports had emerged less than 24 hours earlier that Mourinho was on the verge of the sack after a disappointing start to the season. The Red Devils had already lost three league matches and been dumped out of the League Cup on penalties at home by Championship outfit Derby County.

If Mourinho was looking for some passion from his under-fire players, he saw nothing in the first 45 minutes as a winless Newcastle side made a mockery of their pretty awful record in their Premier League history at The Theatre of Dreams. Inside of seven minutes, they were 1-0 up. Ayoze Perez’s clever through pass found on-loan midfielder Kenedy who shifted the ball onto his favoured left foot and found the back of David de Gea’s net.

Three minutes later, Newcastle supporters were in dreamland. Yoshinori Muto easily turned Ashley Young and crashed home his first Premier League goal for the club since his summer arrival from Mainz. 2-0 down and the home side looked in disarray. Their attacks were limited in a dismal first half performance, although Marcus Rashford put a header wide of Martin Dubravka’s post after good work on the right-hand side from strike partner Romelu Lukaku.

Mourinho looked a worried man and he was right to be. The second half though was a different story and one-way traffic as the hosts desperately searched for a way back into the match. They found it 20 minutes from time. Mohamed Diame tripped Anthony Martial, conceding a free-kick. From the resultant set-piece, Juan Mata curled a beautifully-placed shot into the net to offer hope to the 50,000+ spectators inside the stadium.

Six minutes later, the scores were level. After Dubravka had made two smart saves to deny Marouane Fellaini and Chris Smalling, Martial found a gap at his near post after a neat interchange of passes with Paul Pogba. Old Trafford was now rocking and Newcastle were creaking. They buckled in stoppage-time. Young’s cross was inch-perfect and substitute Alexis Sanchez was first to it, meeting the ball with his head to score a crucial goal for himself and his under-fire manager.

It gave Mourinho a stay of execution from his employers but ultimately, only for another couple of months. He was sacked before Christmas. Newcastle supporters would have to wait another month for their maiden victory of the campaign but eventually found comfortable safety in 13th place.

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