NEWCASTLE 1- MAN UTD 0 RED DEVILS TAKEN TO THE CLEANERS
This was probably the game that put the last nail in Man Utd’s title chasing coffin for this season. Newcastle pre-game would probably not have been anybody’s choice to get anything from this game, but as the popular saying goes “Football is not mathematics”.
Defeat for Mourinho’s men means they are now 16 points behind runaway league leaders Manchester City with just 11 games to go.
And the best Manchester United can now surely hope for is the runners-up spot. How sad considering at some point the two were running neck and neck.
Newcastle boss Benitez would have thoroughly enjoyed getting one over Mourinho, who he has fought with for more than a decade. The two Managers don’t like each other and its not a hidden secret.
This was Newcastle’s first win at St James’ in nine attempts – and believe me they needed it. They were in the relegation zone before the game.
The hosts,started strongly – Jonjo Shelvey forcing David De Gea into a diving stop with a powerful drive after Dwight Gayle’s free-kick hit the wall.
Jose was pissed off at full time
Then Ayoze Perez dragged a shot wide from just outside the box, while Kenedy also let one fly at De Gea from 25 yards, which the Spaniard comfortably caught.
The visitors, though, grew into the game and would have had the lead were it not for Newcastle keeper Martin Dubravka, who had a debut to remember.. From a Manchester United perspective he was annoyingly good..
Dubravka, a deadline day signing on loan from Sparta Prague, first got down well at his near post to keep out a strike from Jess Lingard.
Then, after Nemanja Matic played in Anthony Martial one-on-one with a stunning ball from the halfway line, the Slovakian stopper stood tall and kept out the United winger with a big left boot.
Having survived a couple of times Newcastle were denied the chance of an opener of their own – much to the fury of Benitez.
Gayle beat the embattled Chris Smalling to a loose ball and was tripped by the defender just inside the box – but referee Craig Pawson wrongly chose not to award a penalty.
And from Shelvey’s free-kick, Lejeune nodded into the centre of the box after pulling away from the sleeping Paul Pogba, with Gayle flicking into the path of Ritchie, who passed the ball in past De Gea.
It was the winger’s first of the season – and what a time to get it.
Newcastle endured a nervy end to the match, with Gayle twice clearing shots from Martial off the line.
But the Toon, for once, held on as United slumped to a shock defeat.