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Season 2021-22
Manchester United (a) Premier League


Saturday 11th September 2021, 3pm

 Old Trafford

Conditions: Scripted

Programme: 3.50

Manchester United



4 - 1





45+2 mins Messrs Willock, Almiron and Longstaff all passed up chances to clear the ball outside the Newcastle box - and when Paul Pogba found Mason Greenwood wide right, his shot was spilled by Freddie Woodman - leaving Ronaldo with a tap-in.

What appeared a terrible error from Freddie in real time revealed a deflection on the original shot off Ciaran Clark when viewed again, but remained a costly blunder.

Half time:
Red Devils 1 Magpies 0

56 mins Miguel Almiron scampered forward over halfway and carried the ball until finding Allan Saint-Maximin to his right. ASM's unselfish ball cut out Raphael Varane and played in the unlikely figure of Javier Manquillo, who sprinted the length of the to tuck the ball home in front of the jubilant travelling support for a first Magpies goal - and a superb one. 1-1

moments of pleasure

62 mins Luke Shaw had acres of space to carry the ball forward through centre field and played the ball to Ronaldo, who dashed between Manquillo and Hayden into the box before ramming a low shot into the Stretford End net.

A terrible goal to concede in every respect with Woodman again easily beaten, the ball going through his legs.

80 mins The precise distribution of David de Gea found Greenwood, who made it into the area before playing a pass back to Pogba. His simple ball infield found Bruno Fernandes who supplied a superb finish - given all the time in the world to take a touch, steady himself and aim precisely as the visiting defence fatally hesitated 1-3

 mins Anthony Martial's dummy allowed Paul Pogba's low pass to reach Jesse Lingard inside the box. He took a touch and spun before stepping inside Jamal Lewis and firing a low shot beyond Woodman. 1-4

Full time: Red Devils 4 Magpies 1

We Said

Steve Bruce - once again speaking via Zoom rather than face to face (a PL stipulation apparently, rather than Newcastle's choice):

"I was very pleased with a lot of it: we were a constant threat on the counter-attack. We had some really good opportunities. I cant remember coming here with so many opportunities. The difficulty is giving poor goals away."

Asked about his own holiday by the Chronicle:

"Do you think I really have to answer that to you? That's what the fans are asking, are they? We have trained all week, and we were in every day. The preparation was meticulous, let me tell you.
There is nothing more in preparation (that could have been done).

"What was I supposed to do
(last week)? We had six of them away (on international duty). The preparation was fine, absolutely fine, and weve been in all week. You could see the game plan was, what we worked to.

"To have to answer questions like that ... is typical to the question I would get off you and your newspaper, if Im being brutally honest.

"That's why they are the way they are, the way you are and your negativity, constantly, and your newspaper."

On Ronaldo:

"If there is a genuine superstar among everyone, then this kid is with what he has achieved. We have witnessed it again today. He is something else."

Interviewed by the BBC on the pitch:

"We had more than one or two opportunities to do that (build on the equaliser) - unfortunately we give bad goals away, especially the second one and unfortunately that's haunted us at the moment because up until then we've had some chances...created a few opportunities.

(I'm) disappointed that we've give away some poor goals - that's cost us at the finish. The first goal is the big one: 0-0 at half time I think we deserve to be - if anything we had the better opportunities.

"But an instinct, he
(Cristiano Ronaldo) follows it in - my two defenders don't - that instinct has got him the first, he'll not score an easier one but that instinct takes him in there.

"We've had some decent performances (so far this season), but we must, must defend better we have to have our base better because we are a threat on the counter attack as we've seen but we have to make sure we're better defensively."

They Said

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said:

"I didnt want to take him (Ronaldo) off unless he wanted to come off. He needs minutes, hes had a little pre-season, hes lost a few games for Juventus and Portugal, so we just needed to get 90 minutes into him.

"He does what he does. Cristiano lifts everyone, gets everyone so focused when hes around the place, he puts demands on himself which puts demands on his teammates and demands on us, and thats why hes done so much in his career, hes been so disciplined.

"Hes evolved, hes a developed as a player, hes a different type of player to when he left but hes still a ruthless and clinical goalscorer, and he smells the big moments. He scents when theres a goal.

"This is what Man United is about, this is what Cristiano is about and this was a day for everyone to enjoy.

Edinson and Cristiano are notorious goalscorers and they have that sense and feeling of when to arrive in the box and what can happen. Theyve played every single situation before, theyve got that little knack as a striker where they know Ive got to arrive here.

"People will say its a tap-in
(for the first goal) but there's more to it than that. Youve got defenders watching, but hes anticipating that rebound so, a great goal.

"I think the last goal was a brilliant example of Cristiano going to the back stick and opening up that space for Anthony (Martial) and Jesse (Lingard) to combine in the middle.

"They came on and did really well in the build-up:
I'm really pleased for everyone who came on. Donny (van de Beek) had his first taste of minutes with a crowd what Man United feels like.

"He keeps working hard, hes such a professional and top lad and hell get his minutes."

Two-goal Ronaldo said:

As I told you before, we have huge potential. We have fantastic players, a good coach, a good team. We need to build up the mentality to win the Premier League and even the Champions League.

"So I am here to help the team. I think we have the 11 that are playing and those on the bench that can help as well. We have a good team, as I told you, and the spirit is there.

"It was an unbelievable moment (to score the first goal). I was nervous and I was thinking last night what I wanted - to play well, to show that I'm still capable to help the team. But it's unbelievable, I feel so proud and I'm going to give everything to make them proud of me."


Steve Bruce is the first Magpies boss to begin a season with defeats in both of his first two away league games since Graeme Souness (0-2 at Arsenal and 0-2 at Bolton Wanderers in 2005/06).

Conceding 12 league goals during the opening 360 minutes of a season is our leakiest-ever start in the Premier League, exceeding the 11 we shipped under Ruud Gullit in the opening weeks of 1999/00. The last time we let in a dozen goals over the opening four games was the 1959/60 season.

Newcastle incurred their fifth successive defeat here for the first time in the Premier League era. That's their worst run at Old Trafford since they lost nine in a row between 1973 and 1987 (eight in D1 plus one League Cup tie).

Magpies v MUFC @ Old Trafford - PL era:

2021/22 lost 1-4 Manquillo
lost 1-3 Saint-Maximin
2019/20 lost 1-4 M.Longstaff
2018/19 lost 2-3 Kenedy, Muto
2017/18 lost 1-4 Gayle
2015/16 drew 0-0
2014/15 lost 1-3 Cisse(pen)
2013/14 won 1-0 Cabaye
2012/13 lost 3-4 Perch, og(Evans), Cisse
2012/13 lost 1-2 Cisse (LC)
2011/12 drew 1-1 Ba(pen)
2010/11 lost 0-3
2008/09 drew 1-1 Martins
2007/08 lost 0-6
2006/07 lost 0-2
2005/06 lost 0-2
2004/05 lost 1-2 Ambrose
2003/04 drew 0-0
2002/03 lost 3-5 Bernard, Shearer, Bellamy
2001/02 lost 1-3 Shearer
2000/01 lost 0-2
1999/00 lost 1-5 og(Berg)
1998/99 drew 0-0
1997/98 drew 1-1 Andersson
1996/97 drew 0-0
1995/96 lost 0-2
1994/95 lost 0-2
1993/94 drew 1-1 Cole

Javier Manquillo chose his 85th competitive game in all competitions and his 74th PL appearance to get off the mark for the club. He's the 156th player to do so for Newcastle in the PL.

He's the fifth Spanish-born player to do so after Albert Luque, Xisco, Ayoze Perez and Mikel Merino. Joselu also found the net for us, but although representing Spain internationally was born in Germany.

(Manquillo had scored only once previously in 126 senior outings for his clubs in England - Liverpool, the mackems and ourselves. That other goal came for the mackems in a 1-5 loss at Chelsea in May 2017. Nemanja Matic was on the bench for the home side that day and in the home line-up today).

Newcastle United became the eighth club to reach the landmark of 1,000 Premier League games, following on from Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Spurs, Everton and Aston Villa.

Bringing up the 500 mark at SJP with a 2-2 draw against Southampton last time out, The Magpies reached the same figure at Old Trafford but suffered their 244th away defeat. We remain marooned on 124 away day triumphs and 132 away draws while Manquillo's goal was the 529th in our favour.

63 of the 797 goals conceded during those 500 road trips have come at Old Trafford, which becomes our leakiest away day, one more than the 62 we've let in at Anfield - although we're yet to make what will be a 27th visit there this season.

Andy Cole remains the most deadly of the 32 Red Devils scorers responsible for those 63 goals at Old Trafford, registering six against us. Ronaldo now has five, level with Wayne Rooney.

Abandon hope all ye who enter here - as usual...

Our 27th PL visit here brought our 18th defeat, adding to eight draws and a solitary success in 2013. That's 11 points from a possible 81 - bleak, but an improvement on eight from 78 at Liverpool or nine from 78 at Chelsea.

There have been 21 NUFC goals scored here in the PL, Manquillo netting our ninth at the Scoreboard End today compared to 12 at the Stretford End.

Scoreboard End: Manquillo, Saint-Maximin, Cisse(pen), Cabaye, Perch, OG(Evans), Shearer, Bellamy, Shearer.
Stretford End: M.Longstaff, Kenedy, Muto, Gayle,
Cisse, Ba(pen), Martins, Ambrose, Bernard, OG(Berg), Andersson, Cole.

If you're looking for crumbs of comfort, we've never been relegated from the PL in a season when losing at Old Trafford, drawing 1-1 there in 2008/09 and 0-0 in 2015/16. That doesn't apply to previous top flight demotions though; beaten 2-3 here in both 1960/61 and 1977/78 and 0-2 in 1988/89. We didn't play them in our first relegation season of 1933/34.

There was a first selection on the bench for Joe White, who trained with the first team following an U23 outing on Monday. The Carlisle-born 18 year-old made three senior appearances totalling 93 minutes in pre-season.

Karl Darlow meanwhile made a first return to a senior squad since being on the bench at Burnley in April. Since then he's been absent after undergoing surgery on a foot injury before contracting COVID.

Let the record show that we wore white socks with our home kit, never a good thing frankly (although we did end our winless ten game start in 2018/19 by beating Watford at SJP in white socks).



Having bemoaned the ill-fortune of VAR in general and penalties in particular so far this season, Steve Bruce at least changed the record in his post-match lament at Old Trafford on Saturday.

Rather than pinpointing the much-hyped return of Cristiano Ronaldo as the reason for this latest demise, the Newcastle boss chose to blame the media for the abuse he received from away fans after his side fell 1-3 behind.

In the words of Bob Dylan though, "you don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows" and old Ronnie Gill is hardly setting the agenda when calling out the manager. It's fair to say that many of Bruce's sternest critics have no knowledge of or interest in the output of that newspaper....

Even if the focus of their attack (Bruce's sunshine break to Portugal last week) was inconsequential, the reaction was pathetic and from the same book of blunders that brought us "keyboard warriors". 

As an aside; if Graeme Jones is doing the real work as is been claimed by some, then what difference does an absentee manager leaving the country make? It's the fact he came back that's the problem....

To the game then and for 45 minutes, the major contribution of you-know-who had been to miscue an attempted volley early on amid general hilarity.

Retaining the back five Newcastle welcomed back fit-again Isaac Hayden - but as a central defender; an attempt to address the problem of players in that position sitting deep and failing to advance in possession and also a further vote of no confidence in a certain Swiss international.

Also recalled was Javier Manquillo for a first PL start since the Brighton debacle in March. Although he'd make a notable contribution after the break, the Spaniard was in the firing line during the first half as the hosts flooded down their left and our right back continually drifted infield. 

Chances for a Magpies side lacking a conventional centre forward were thin on the ground; the main moment of hope when Joe Willock seized on a mis-kick in the 28th minute but could only hammer his shot into the Stretford End from a narrowing angle with Joelinton and Almiron available.

The policy of containment worked for 45 minutes, but sadly Woodman's earlier time-wasting resulted in an additional five minutes, during which his fatal error gave you-know-who his golden moment.

Despite the cancellation of the England versus India test match across the road, we still half-expected this to end up in a cricket score; the return of Ronaldo conjuring up memories of his hat-trick here in 2008 when we contrived to turn a 0-0 at half time into a 0-6 45 minutes later.

Having made a habit of netting here before being pegged back then finally overhauled, Newcastle found an unforeseen equaliser 11 minutes after the restart, a fine move finished crisply by Manquillo - an even more unexpected name on our scoresheet here than Yoshinori Muto or James Perch. 

And in the aftermath of that leveller there were even two half-chances to go ahead - Joelinton stumbling forward to get a shot on goal before Almiron's dangerous ball across the box was sadly nowhere near to Saint-Maximin. Reality rapidly intruded though; parity restored for just six minutes before Ronaldo dashed into the box and rammed a low shot home.

A superb finish from Bruno Fernandes then ended the game as a contest with 10 minutes remaining and prompted "Brucie out" chants before Jesse Lingard added gloss to the final score in added time.

A familiar enough story for those seasoned away travellers in one corner then, on the occasion of our 500th Premier League game on the road. We've seen it all before, endless reruns of that Likely Lads sketch: Newcastle F.....Newcastle fight back? Newcastle forge ahead?....Newcastle fail.

In our own patented style we raised hopes and prompted delusions of competence before imploding amidst a welter of recriminations and general badness. The home side weren't great, but didn't need to be while we weren't as poor as feared. Hardly a reason for optimism.

Attention now switches to SJP on Friday night, when we attempt to kick-start our season against a Leeds side who have their own struggles. Despite the absence of Callum Wilson, it's a plausible opportunity for three points - although it's to be hoped that Karl Darlow is ready to resume.

The mood in the dressing room is unclear, but our view remains that Bruce hasn't "lost" the crowd yet, at least to the extent that many of his predecessors did. His petty comments are hardly endearing though.  

It's one thing for a contingent of fans on an away day to give the boss grief when things go awry on the field - but quite another when those who go to home games join in the chorus of disapproval.

Fans of course can be bought off - look no further than 70,000 true believers present here today, barely four months after a section of the same support caused a Premier League game to be called off because of their protests.

The difference of course is that our custodians have no reason to actually try and move the club forward or devise anything approaching a coherent recruitment and retention strategy.

Yes there's a 25 man squad, but it's an effort to try and make head nor tail of what's in it and what they are for. Bruce has now been in charge for 93 games in all competitions, not that you'd know from this interminable muddle. We remain the equivalent of a jigsaw without a picture on the lid. 

Sniping at journalists - or banning them - wilfully avoids the fact that we are regressing on and off the field under the guidance of Bruce and his employer, neither of whom actually seem bothered.

His sound bites were as embarrassing and irrelevant as the un-credited statement that emerged from Barrack Road or Shirebrook a week earlier - another laughable attempt at "communication" that strengthens the case for reverting to the previous policy of radio silence.


This report is dedicated to life-long
supporter Bob Ward, who passed
away last week at the age of 86.


Page last updated 21 June, 2022