United fire blanks
Home side unlucky to share the spoils with Newcastle despite dominating play at Old Trafford MATCH STATS
Manchester United saw their winning start to the Premier League season come to an end as they were held to a goalless draw against Newcastle United at Old Trafford yesterday afternoon. The Red Devils entered this weekend’s clash on the back of successive 1-0 league wins over Tottenham and Aston Villa, but were unable to make it three from three and had to settle for a share of the spoils against the Magpies.
Wayne Rooney looked to have put the Red Devils in front just four minutes in after slotting home from Adnan Januzaj’s defence-splitting pass, but the linesman’s flag cut short any celebrations, although replays suggested the forward had been level when the ball was played.
Louis van Gaal’s men continued asking most of the questions and Memphis Depay won his side a free kick in a really dangerous position after 11 minutes, but Juan Mata’s curling effort was lacking the requisite power and Tim Krul made an easy save.
The Spaniard managed to at least test the goalkeeper a few moments later with a low drive that brought a fine reflex save from the Dutchman, who was again well positioned to deal with Rooney’s stinging effort soon after as United continued to turn the screws.
Newcastle finally created their first chance midway through the half as Vurnon Anita won a free kick on the left wing that Georginio Wijnaldum whipped into the area with real purpose, but he was unable to find a team-mate’s head as the United defence was able to clear.
That moment seemed to breathe confidence into Steve McClaren’s men, and they soon created the best chance of the first half as Aleksandar Mitrović got goal side of his marker to get on to the end of Chancel Mbemba’s delivery, but the off-season signing was desperately unlucky to see his placed header cannon off Sergio Romero’s crossbar and out behind for a goal kick.
Both sides struggled to get going after the restart, but Newcastle at least looked more assured on the ball than they had in the first 45 minutes, although they were unable to do much with it, as play was restricted mostly to the middle of the park.
The hosts finally sprung into life after 73 minutes as Morgan Schneiderlin’s wonderful ball out wide found Rooney, who had plenty of space to exploit before clipping the ball over to the far post to pick out the run of Mata, but the midfielder got his first-time volley all wrong and blazed well over the crossbar.
The Toon Army had Krul to thank for keeping the scores level in the closing moments, as Hernández was the beneficiary of a loose ball in the area, taking possession and firing at goal from close range – but Krul did brilliantly to make himself big and get in a block to send the ball out behind.
McClaren’s side could have snatched the points in injury time after breaking on the counterattack, with three on two, but Papiss Cissé seemed to get the ball stuck under his feet and eventually saw his rushed shot easily blocked by the back-tracking defence. –