Manchester United 0-0 Newcastle United: Uninspiring Red Devils held in dent to top-four hopes
Newcastle United had the better chances as their excellent start to the season continued with a goalless draw at Old Trafford.FotMob - 7 months ago
Manchester United's top-four hopes suffered another setback as they were held to a 0-0 draw by Newcastle United at Old Trafford.
United are now three points adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea after an uninspiring performance in which they rarely looked like breaking Newcastle down prior to a flurry in the closing minutes.
Eddie Howe's visitors earlier had the better chances, with Joelinton twice frustrated by the frame of the goal, and have still only suffered one defeat this season after surviving a late scare.
Newcastle remain a point behind the Red Devils in sixth, with Sunday's showing the latest sign they will be persistent challengers to the 'big six' in the years to come.
The Magpies were in the ascendancy from the early stages, with the best United could muster in the opening exchanges a speculative effort from Jadon Sancho that sailed over the crossbar.
Newcastle would have taken the lead in the 24th minute if not for the woodwork, which denied Joelinton twice in quick succession after Kieran Tripper’s blocked free-kick broke to him in the box. His first header was repelled by the bar and his second the post.
United did create a clear-cut opening seven minutes before half-time, but Antony’s near-post effort was easily kept out by Nick Pope.
Erik ten Hag's team were more dangerous after the break. Cristiano Ronaldo had the ball in the net but was correctly flagged for offside, and he and Sancho had penalty appeals waved away.
There were few moments of concern for Newcastle thereafter until Marcus Rashford sprung the offside trap, rounded an advancing Pope and squared only for Fred to incredibly skew wide of an open goal.
Rashford could have settled it himself in the final minute of injury time but sent his close-range header the wrong side of Pope's right-hand post.
What does it mean? United look nothing like top-four contenders
Though United are only one win behind Chelsea, they look a world away from seriously challenging for the top four.
Newcastle were comfortable until the final minutes, when United's profligacy denied them a victory that would have been harsh on their visitors. Ten Hag still has a lot of work to do.
Newcastle's solid foundation
Newcastle may have been fortunate to preserve parity at the end, but they have kept a clean sheet in four of their 10 games; only Manchester City (five) have done so more often in the Premier League this season.
United finished the game with 15 shots with just two hitting the target, rarely testing Pope despite entering the final third 61 times to Newcastle's 38. Their lack of incisiveness in the most important area of the pitch will be a worry to Ten Hag.
Key Opta Facts
– Newcastle have won just one of their 28 Premier League games at Old Trafford (D9 L18), with their 3.6 per cent win ratio their joint-lowest at any ground they have played 10 or more times at in the competition (also one of 28 at Anfield).
– This was Manchester United's 76th Premier League goalless draw, 31 of which have come since Alex Ferguson's retirement in 2013 (41 per cent) – the most of any side in the competition since the start of 2013-14.
– Newcastle have drawn more Premier League games this season than any other side (six). In fact, it is only the second time they have drawn as many as six of their opening 10 games of a league season, also drawing six in 1924-25.
– David De Gea made his 500th appearance for United in all competitions, the most of any player for a Premier League club since he joined in 2011.
– Pope kept his 50th clean sheet in the Premier League; no English goalkeeper has kept more shutouts in the competition since his debut in September 2017 (level with Jordan Pickford).
Ten Hag's men welcome Tottenham to Old Trafford on Wednesday, when Newcastle host Everton.