The international break is almost in the rearview mirror.
Manchester United will now begin a demanding run of fixtures that would decide the fate of their season. It starts tough, then doesn’t get easier.
United’s first game post-international break is against Newcastle United. The Magpies are a transformed team after the takeover and are United’s closest threats in the Premier League points-wise as it stands.
Moreover, revenge will be on the minds of Eddie Howe’s men after United kept the Carabao Cup trophy away from their grasp with a no-fuss 2-0 win in the final. With the revenge backdrop, potential returns on both sides, and the Premier League top four race heating up, the game against Newcastle will be a trial by fire for this side.
Games between these two teams are always spicy affairs.
Here’s a look at the last 5 games between Newcastle and Manchester United. The world of football moves quickly, as this list will show a completely different landscape in a span of just 5 fixtures.
26 Feb 2023, Manchester United 2-0 Newcastle United (Carabao Cup Final)
This one lives in the recent memory. Newcastle were beaten by a professional performance, worthy of a final as United’s trophy drought came to an end.
Casemiro showed his big game credentials with a towering goal in the 33rd minute before Rashford killed Newcastle’s hopes with a second just 6 minutes later. Newcastle huffed and puffed but David de Gea kept his clean sheet secure to hand United the first trophy of Erik ten Hag’s tenure.
Running it back, @ManUtd 🔥
That winning feeling 😮💨
— Wembley Stadium (@wembleystadium) February 28, 2023
If ten Hag’s spell ends up being trophy-laden, this game will be remembered as the win that launched it all. Truly a momentous game.
16 Oct 2022, Manchester United 0-0 Newcastle United (Premier League)
Four months earlier, things looked a lot different for United. The club had started recovering from a nightmare start to the Premier League season and that wretched 6-3 loss to Man City was also overcome. Newcastle, meanwhile, were sturdy at the back but struggling to score.
The result was a fixture that can be politely described as “less-than-exciting”. Cristiano Ronaldo started for The Reds that day but was withdrawn after 72 minutes in what can be described as setting the tone for the season with the benefit of hindsight.
Rashford missed a chance at the death to win the game. However, all this game showed was that United were a team going through a painful process of evolution. Newcastle, meanwhile, had stamped their credentials of being able to go toe-to-toe with a Premier League giant and come away with points.
28 Dec 2021, Newcastle United 1-1 Manchester United (Premier League)
This belongs to a run of fixtures that every United fan would like to wipe out from their minds. Ralf Rangnick’s bright start to his United tenure had lasted just an hour against Crystal Palace in his first game in charge.
Every fixture afterwards was a battle of attrition. While three points are never guaranteed in the Premier League, United looked like losing in every game they played. This was no different.
Allan Saint-Maximin gave Howe’s charges an early lead before sitting back, hoping to hit United on the counter. For all their pressing game, United barely fashioned any decent chance, repeatedly losing the ball in an effort to play it vertically too quickly. Ronaldo cut a frustrated figure up top.
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) December 28, 2021
Routine saviour of the time, Edinson Cavani equalised with a poacher’s strike in the 71st minute before the game sputtered to a draw. Newcastle’s resurgence was going strong as they kept moving away from the relegation zone. Manchester United’s fortunes trended in the opposite direction, never to recover under Rangnick.
11 Sept 2021, Manchester United 4-1 Newcastle United (Premier League)
If the fixture on Dec 28th showed the true trajectories of both sides, this fixture was the false dawn that made the ensuing fall hurt even more for United fans.
A certain beloved No 7 by the name of Cristiano Ronaldo was making his second debut for the club after a sensational arrival in the summer window. Old Trafford was bouncing as Rafa Benitez bought his hapless Magpies to the Theatre of Dreams.
CRISTIANO RONALDO SCORES ON HIS SECOND DEBUT FOR MANCHESTER UNITED 🐐 pic.twitter.com/7GpkCmtDn5
— GOAL (@goal) September 11, 2021
It really was the stuff of dreams as Ronaldo hit a brace on his debut and his countryman Bruno Fernandes scored too. Javier Manquillo’s equaliser at 1-0 was only a consolation. Jesse Lingard added gloss to the scoreline with a late goal as United put the Premier League on notice. Fans were dreaming of a title challenge on the back of their beloved son’s homecoming. All those dreams would soon transform into nightmares but for those 90 glorious minutes, United were back. Not really though.
22 Feb 2021, Manchester United 3-1 Newcastle United (Premier League)
Steve Bruce was managing Newcastle and Ole’s United were blowing teams apart behind closed doors. Almost 2 years to date, the football landscape then was unrecognisable compared to today.
Manchester United outclassed Newcastle in a 3-1 win and Bruno Fernandes, the then-new arrival, was the virtuoso he had quickly become of that United side. Goals from Rashford and Daniel James were enough to overpower Saint-Maximin’s strike as United solidified their UCL qualification credentials with a routine win against the then-perennial strugglers.
After 2 years, the sides are fighting again but this is arguably a matchup between equals now. Newcastle United will be no pushovers and United will need to be on their A-game from the off if they are to take a result away from St James Park. Anything less, and Newcastle will inch closer to United in the Premier League table. Credit to Newcastle’s progress, it won’t be considered an upset either.
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