Manchester United were unable to make the most of their dominance against Newcastle as the two teams shared a point at Old Trafford. Express Sport picks out four things learned from the goalless draw.
Scott McTominay’s suspension certainly didn’t help but it was clear from the teamsheet that Erik ten Hag was lacking midfield options. Kobbie Mainoo, 17, and Zidane Iqbal, 19, were named as the substitute midfield options as Casemiro, Fred and Bruno Fernandes started as the trio.
Christian Eriksen and Donny van de Beek were not involved in the squad for different reasons. But Ten Hag will likely want to push for deeper options in midfield to help change things up in games such as this one.
Newcastle European goals
Newcastle have proven their credibility this season so far and this was the latest showing that they’re going to cause many teams problems. They were unfortunate not to steal a point from Liverpool at the end of August but they did share the spoils with Manchester City earlier in the campaign.
Back-to-back wins over Fulham and Brentford – with nine goals scored in the process – saw them fly up the table. And they’re just one point behind United in the table with 10 games played with strong hopes of qualifying for Europe.
Cristiano Ronaldo finally got off the mark in the Premier League last week in the 2-1 win over Everton. But he’s still clearly lacking in confidence or just not fitting into Ten Hag’s system at the moment.
Anthony Martial appears to be the preferred option when both are fit and Ronaldo was brought off with 18 minutes remaining for Marcus Rashford. Ronaldo of last year would have likely saved United’s skin, but for some reason, it just isn’t working for the Portuguese superstar at the moment.
De Gea 500th game
It was a successful milestone game for David de Gea in goal for United though as he made his 500th appearance for the club he joined 11 years ago. He’s just the 11th player in United’s illustrious history to reach the landmark and the draw against Newcastle was his 170th clean sheet.
The Spaniard now just 10 behind Peter Schmeichel’s club record, which he could easily take this year if his form continues. De Gea is out of contract at the end of the season, although United have the option to extend his current deal by another year.