Manchester United made it four wins from four matches under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as the reds saw off a stubborn Newcastle United 2-0 at St James’ Park. Solskjaer’s side came through a very tough first 45 minutes in which either side could’ve taken a lead into half-time, but goals from substitute Romelu Lukaku and man of the match Marcus Rashford helped Manchester United secure all three points. That’s now 12 points from a possible 12, and 14 goals in four matches under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
In the early knockings of the game, both sides created several openings in front of goal, just four minutes in, Paul Pogba lashed his attempt at goal, but Martin Dubravka was equal to it. The Newcastle United keeper was once again called into action as he pulled off a miraculous save which denied Marcus Rashford from what looked to be a certain goal. Christian Atsu got himslef into a few dangerous positions in the first half, but he was denied by David de Gea and some last-ditch defending from Phil Jones.
With the honours even at the interval, there was no real seperating the two sides. Manchester United dominated the possession with 72% of the ball, but apart from those two chances in the opening ten minutes, that was it for the away side in terms of chances. Five minutes into the second half, Marcus Rashford produced a great run to find space in the box, but he fired his effort wide of the left post.
On 63 minutes, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer decided to make a double substitution as Juan Mata and Anthony Martial made way for Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku. The pair were expected to make an impact on the game, but sensationally just 42 seconds after entering the pitch Romelu Lukaku put the visitors ahead as the Belgian slotted home Dubravka’s spilled save from a Marcus Rashford free-kick.
Jonjo Shelvey looked to force a quick reply, but he lashed his shot high over the crossbar. As Newcastle upped their work-rate, the home side looked dangerous on the counter-attack, as Christian Atsu came close, but his attempt from the edge of the box just sailed narrlowly wide of David de Gea’s left post. Just as the home side were gathering some momentum, Manchester United doubled their lead to seal all three points as Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez provided a great bit of link up play as the Chilean slotted the ball through to an unmarked Marcus Rashford who comfortably slotted the ball home to secure all three points for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.
Following the final whistle, Solskjaer showed his delight at his teams performance as he entered the pitch, and emphatically applauded the away supporters. In his post-match interview, Solskjaer expressed his delight in his players in what was another consistent and solid display:
“Finally we kept a clean sheet from set pieces! Very professional performance. We were in control, kept plugging away, great strike again from Marcus, good reaction from Rom. When you see Big Rom running towards you I think you’ll stick your hands away.”
“The big plus was the clean sheet. You can play with two of them (Rashford & Lukaku), no problem. It gives me options. We go to Dubai and work on a bit of fitness, it’s a good time now. You need that fitness work. Towards March and April we’ll need legs.”
Gary Neville also expressed his views on this evening’s man-of-the-match, Marcus Rashford: “Marcus has been accused of not being the best finisher, clinical in front of goal, but there was a real ice cold feeling about that and that’s a great sign. If he can start doing that week in week out, Manchester United have one of the top strikers.”
Start as we mean to go on, support has been unreal ☝🏾⚽ pic.twitter.com/cvcamkJEje— Marcus Rashford (@MarcusRashford) January 2, 2019