The hosts were left fuming after referee Craig Pawson ruled out two Cristiano Ronaldo strikes early in the second half. Erik ten Hag’s side also felt they should have been awarded a penalty when Jadon Sancho was brought down inside the area. For their part, the visitors thought they should have been awarded a spot kick of their own after nine minutes.
The result sees Man United remain in fifth in the Premier League table, while Newcastle sit a position behind them in sixth.
1. Man United struggle for goals as they’re held by Newcastle
Manchester United needed 35 attempts to score in Thursday’s 1-0 win over Omonia Nicosia, but afterward Ten Hag insisted it was only a matter of time before the goals would start to flow.
Unfortunately for the Dutchman, he’s still waiting. United rode their luck in the first half and were lucky to be level at the break but should have won the game in the second half. Fred and substitute Marcus Rashford missed two golden chances at the end, and Ten Hag was left holding his head in his hands by the time the final whistle went.
United managed 15 shots against Newcastle, but goalkeeper Nick Pope had to face only two on target. You can understand why, in the Premier League’s current top 10, only Bournemouth have scored fewer goals. It’s not just an issue of being more clinical. Jadon Sancho and Antony started on the wings, but far too often they were content with passing backward or sideways rather than running beyond the Newcastle defence. It’s a crucial period for United with games against Tottenham and Chelsea to come next week, but they haven’t gotten off to a great start. Ten Hag needs to find goals from somewhere soon.
2. Ronaldo issue not going away
The day started so well for Ronaldo, who was picked to start a Premier League game for the first time since August and before kick-off collected an award to mark his 700th club goal, scored at Everton last weekend. But before the game had ended, and with the score still 0-0, he sat on the bench, shaking his head.
Ronaldo got the winner at Goodison Park a week ago and started the victory over Omonia Nicosia, but it is not a great endorsement of Ten Hag’s trust in him that he was the man replaced by Rashford when United were still searching for a goal. It might have been because he had already been booked, but the 37-year-old was clearly not happy with the decision and, after a long conversation with Antony, began shaking his head as he walked off. When the television cameras focused on the bench a few minutes later, he was still at it.
You can understand why Ronaldo might have felt hard done by. If there’s anyone who might get you a goal from a game of few chances, it’s him, and it wasn’t like Jadon Sancho, Antony or Fred were playing particularly well — any of the three could have been sacrificed for Rashford instead.
3. Newcastle show top-six credentials
Eddie Howe’s side arrived at Old Trafford sitting sixth in the table, having lost just one league game, and they showed against United that their start to the season is no fluke.
Newcastle will feel they should have gotten more than a point, especially after Joelinton managed to hit the crossbar and the post with two separate headers in the space of a couple of seconds in the first half. They caused United a lot of problems, particularly in the first 45 minutes, which was even more impressive given they were without two of their main attacking threats in Allan Saint-Maximin and Alexander Isak.
They already showed they can match the big boys in a 3-3 draw against Manchester City, and this was further confirmation.
They’ve spent money — more than £120 million in the summer window alone — but they’ve done it wisely, and if they can continue in the same form, they should be well in the mix for European football by the end of the season. It will be a big ask, but there is even a chance of gate-crashing the top four and earning a place in next season’s Champions League.
Manchester United: De Gea 6, Dalot 6, Shaw 6, Varane 7, Martinez 6, Casemiro 6, Fred 5, Fernandes 7, Sancho 5, Antony 5, Ronaldo 6.
Subs: Rashford 6.
Newcastle United: Pope 6, Trippier 8, Burn 7, Botman 7, Schar 6, Joelinton 7, Longstaff 6, Guimaraes 6, Murphy 6, Almiron 6, Wilson 6.
Subs: Fraser 6, Targett 6, Willock 6, Wood 6, Lascelles 6.
Best and worst performers
Jadon Sancho: He was probably only in the team because Rashford wasn’t feeling well enough to start, and it was another game where he struggled to make an impact.
Highlights and notable moments
Former Man United manager Sir Alex Ferguson made an appearance on the pitch before the game to congratulate David de Gea and Cristiano Ronaldo for their 500th club appearance and 700th career club goal respectively.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) October 16, 2022
But after 72 frustrating minutes in which he was denied club career goal No. 701, Ronaldo was replaced by Rashford. He was, in the words of Sky Sports analyst Jamie O’Hara, “absolutely fuming” at being substituted with the game still in the balance.
“Ronaldo is absolutely FUMING” 😅
Cristiano Ronaldo expressed his angst at being substituted against Newcastle pic.twitter.com/G9SMoALmZh
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) October 16, 2022
After the match: What the managers, players said
Erik ten Hag on his attacking changes: “We have to recover four games in 10 days and especially for the strikers, I want to keep them fresh. I want to keep them all fresh, we have to rotate because of some problems we have. [Anthony] Martial is not available in this moment, then Rashy [Marcus Rashford] was not well, so he did not have energy for the whole game. We had to plan to cover for the four games because we want to win or at least get a result in all four games.”
Ten Hag on his heated discussion with referee Craig Pawson at full-time: “I don’t have a comment, everyone has seen it. Everyone has seen what happened today on the pitch, I don’t have a comment.”
Newcastle manager Eddie Howe: “Especially in the first half I thought we were very good. Joelinton had the two chances when he hit the woodwork, we could potentially have had a penalty for the challenge on Callum Wilson. I thought it was a strong shout for a penalty. Callum looked like he caught the lad’s calf when running. I’ve seen them given another day. We lost our way really in the second half and I’m glad the full time whistle has gone.
Howe on Ronaldo’s disallowed goal: “I could see it at the time, and for me it was clear Fabi wasn’t taking the kick. He was allowing Nick to do it. I don’t know if the ref had blown his whistle, but I don’t think he had to restart play. For me, it was clear that Nick was waiting to actually deliver the free-kick and then, obviously, Ronaldo had taken the ball off him. It would have been a very, very difficult goal to swallow if it had stood. For me it was clear the ball it wasn’t in play.”
Key stats (provided by ESPN Stats & Information)
Cristiano Ronaldo started a Premier League game for the first time since Aug. 13, when Manchester United lost 4-0 to Brentford.
Manchester United have registered 76 goalless draws in the Premier League, 31 of which (41%) have come since Alex Ferguson’s retirement in 2013. No side has had as many 0-0s in the competition since the start of the 2013-14 season.
Manchester United: Things don’t get any easier for Erik ten Hag’s side, with two big clashes against top-four rivals coming over the next week. On Wednesday, third-placed Tottenham Hotspur visit Old Trafford having lost just one league game all season, before a trip to Stamford Bridge on Sunday to face fourth-placed Chelsea.
Newcastle United: Newcastle will travel to Tottenham on Sunday to have another crack at claiming a statement win against one of the “big six” after drawing with Manchester City and Man United already this season, but not before they host Everton on Wednesday.