Manchester United vs. Newcastle United
Venue: Old Trafford
Date: Saturday, 18 November 2017
Kick-off: 17:30 GMT
Manchester United maintained their 100% home record this season with a 4-1 rout over Newcastle United.
Despite Dwight Gayle giving the Magpies an early lead, Anthony Martial and Chris Smalling netted two crucial goals before the interval to turn the game on its head.
An equally important goal by Paul Pogba not long after the break gave the hosts some comfort at Old Trafford, before Romelu Lukaku sealed the points to end his seven matches without scoring for United.
Early on, Lukaku flicked a first time effort over the bar from Antonio Valencia’s low cross from the right.
The Belgian then saw a tame header held before the visitors took the lead with less than a quarter of an hour gone.
Right-back DeAndre Yedlin raced down the touchline before his low cross was turned home with a first time strike by Gayle via the inside of the post.
In response, Marcus Rashford scuffed a shot wide as Jacob Murphy curled a shot straight at David De Gea at the other end.
The winger then fired a shot just wide of the far post after latching onto Jonjo Shelvey’s through ball in a promising opening for Rafa Benitez’s team.
Going alone, Rashford drove a powerful whipped effort wide of the far corner, as Lukaku couldn’t divert his header towards goal from Victor Lindelof’s chipped pass.
The equaliser then arrived with two Frenchmen combining as Pogba took his time before floating high a delightful cross to which Martial duly obliged to head home.
The lively Murphy dragged an attempt wide before Joselu headed just over his own bar from Ashley Young’s cross.
De Gea did well to hold Shelvey’s venomous drive on his weaker left foot as Lukaku was wrestled to the ground by Ciaran Clark but referee Craig Pawson ignored the claims for a penalty.
Traditionally a side who would cross for fun, United took the lead via another cross as Smalling headed home at the back post from Young’s delivery on the stroke of half-time.
The reliable De Gea then denied Isaac Hayden one-on-one before the break arrived after a frantic first half.
It was another cross that led to Pogba’s returning goal as Lukaku’s cross was cutely nodded back across the area by Rashford to allow the number six to tap home.
A flying save from De Gea then denied Murphy’s curler from distance, Pogba was withdrawn to a standing ovation before Lukaku ended his United goal drought stretching back almost two months.
With the persistency to chase down the ball, the luck of the ricochet dropped kindly for Lukaku, and he smashed home a finish into the roof of the net.
Bending a smart effort just wide was Shelvey as Young searched for Lukaku but the ball dropped behind at the far post.
On his return from a lengthy lay-off, Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s acrobatic attempt was turned behind by Rob Elliot and the goalkeeper then held Marouane Fellaini’s header.
Substitute Rolando Aarons had time to drive a shot wide before full-time closed proceedings at Old Trafford.
Four goals scored in a game for the seventh time in all competitions, a comeback victory to evidence the character on show and the return of Pogba and Ibrahimovic made it a good evening’s work for Jose Mourinho’s side.
Mourinho himself was pleased with the response to falling behind and what turned out to be an emphatic victory and tremendous performance.
“The result, the three points, the performance after the Newcastle goal, that mentality to react without panic in a positive way.
“The team reacted very well and very strong. The goal in the first half was very important because it took away from us the pressure of being behind and playing at home.
“The second half was ours: we had control, we had goals, we had beautiful actions. The team was flying, the team was free and confident. We had lots of bodies in attacking areas, we were dominating the game and the players from the midfield were not afraid to arrive in the finishing positions because the game was under control,” added Jose.
Not only did United respond this evening, they responded to the Chelsea defeat prior to the international break, with earlier results also adding to the pressure of the occasion, in a test which was passed come full-time.
Wednesday night sees United take on FC Basel in Switzerland, where a point would seal top spot in Group A and passage through to the Champions League knockout phase.
Manchester United: De Gea; Valencia, Lindelof, Smalling, Young; Matic, Pogba (Fellaini 70); Rashford, Mata (Herrera 83), Martial (Ibrahimovic 77); Lukaku.
Subs not used: Romero, Rojo, Shaw, Lingard.
Manager: Jose Mourinho
Newcastle United: Elliot; Yedlin, Lejeune, Clark, Manquillo; Ritchie (Aarons 66), Hayden, Shelvey, Murphy; Gayle (Diame 77), Joselu (Mitrovic 72).
Subs not used: Darlow, Mbemba, Gamez, Perez.
Manager: Rafa Benitez