Newcastle United and Manchester United shared the spoils at St James’ Park as the Red Devils overcame a 1-0 half-time deficit to eke out a 1-1 draw.
Despite extending their unbeaten Premier League run in the post-Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s era to five matches (W3, D2), it wasn’t a pleasant evening for the Old Trafford faithful by any stretch of the imagination.
Ralf Rangnick has missed the opportunity to become the first-ever Man United manager to keep a clean sheet in his first three league matches in charge following a brace of 1-0 wins in his opening two Premier League games.
But more importantly, he failed to beat warm relegation candidates Newcastle, as his side put on another uneventful display in Tyneside.
The Red Devils were lucky to walk away with a point, considering the Magpies had more clear-cut chances to prevail in an evenly-contested fixture at St James’ Park.
Rangnick’s decision to throw all of his hard-hitters into the mix didn’t come to fruition as United looked toothless in front of Martin Dubravka’s goal.
It’s enough to say Cristiano Ronaldo failed to put the Magpies’ goalkeeper to the test, while Mason Greenwood’s lacklustre first-half showing saw him remain in the locker room at half-time.
Eddie Howe’s team took the lead only seven minutes into the game through lightning-fast Allan Saint-Maximin, who dazzled past a couple of Man Utd defenders before smashing the ball just under the crossbar.
Newcastle briefly thought they doubled the lead through Callum Wilson in the 38th minute, but the ex-Bournemouth striker’s goal was disallowed for offside.
Meanwhile, it was an evening to remember for the tricky Saint-Maximin, who was showboating down the left flank on several occasions throughout the night.
While his opening goal was a piece of art, the Frenchman’s inexplicable miss from point-blank range early in the second half eventually came back to haunt Newcastle.
He came close to scoring his second of the night midway through the second half, but David de Gea pulled off a stunning save to deny his well-driven effort from the edge of the box.
After the Magpies failed to capitalise on their chances to put the match to bed, second-half substitute Edinson Cavani drew Man United level in the 71st minute.
However, the Uruguayan’s equaliser struggled to inspire the Red Devils’ comeback when it looked like they could be staging another second-half turnaround.
Rangnick’s side ran out of steam, allowing Newcastle plenty of space in the attacking third, though a lack of finishing touch let Howe’s men down.
The Magpies were inches away from grabbing a late goal that would probably ensure all three points as Jacob Murphy’s terrific low-driven attempt rattled off the left post.
United needed de Gea’s heroic save to avert the danger when Miguel Almiron picked up the rebound and unleashed a devastating shot from just outside the box.
The Spaniard came up huge to thwart the Paraguay international’s effort with the save of the night in the 88th minute to secure a point for the visitors.
It wasn’t the end of Man United’s suffering at St James’ Park.
Joelinton’s mid-range shot connected with Raphael Varane’s stretched arm deep into the stoppage time.
But the ex-Real Madrid defender was lucky to see the incident take place a few inches outside the penalty area.
A victory against underperforming Newcastle would’ve been a massive boost to the Red Devils’ hopes of clawing their way back into the Premier League top-four.
Unfortunately, another disappointing performance leaves Man United seven points adrift of fourth-placed Arsenal in the Premier League table.
Rangnick’s side won’t have to wait long for another opportunity to pick up a much-needed three points as they welcome 18th-placed Burnley to Old Trafford on Thursday in their next Premier League fixture.
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