The New Year was celebrated well by the Red Devils at the St. James’s Park as they continue their rich vein of form in the Premier League during the Newcastle Vs United game ever since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took over as interim manager. Along with that, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reserved a page for himself in history by becoming only the second United manager to win his first four league games in charge.
United started on a usual note, keeping possession and constantly trying to play with the nerves of the opposition. The first 20 minutes of the Newcastle Vs United game witnessed United keeping as much as 72% of the possession which also saw Newcastle create 3 potential chances to take an early lead.
The first half saw both teams stay even on the scoreline but United were indeed the happier of the lot as they sniffed an opening every now and then. A lead seemed to be just around the corner.
1⃣ clean sheet
4⃣ wins in a row
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) January 2, 2019
Just a few minutes into the second half, Rashford ran in creating a healthy opportunity only to send it flaming into the keeper’s gloves when he could have found Lindelof on the inside to find the net.
Amidst all this, Newcastle were quietly building on a momentum which seemed to frustrate the Devils but not their manager. Solskjaer stamped his authority further as he made 2 crucial changes bringing in the injury-laden Alexis Sanchez and Lukaku in the 63rd minute.
The 25-year old Belgian national proved to be the trump card for the Devils in the Newcastle Vs United match as they notched up their 13th goal in the last 4 games. Just 38 seconds after his introduction, Lukaku made the Newcastle goalkeeper pay for his fumble on a Rashford freekick.
➡️ @RomeluLukaku9 comes off the bench
⏩ 38 seconds ⏩
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) January 2, 2019
Scoring on your first touch after a long “compassionate leave”. Not a bad world to live in, is it?
The goal-scoring spree didn’t end in the Newcastle Vs United game with this goal as the Belgian combined with Rashford to thrash open the defense with some pinpoint counter-attack. Rashford was found one-on-one with the keeper and he doesn’t miss any from those positions.
This game, much like the last three saw some precise passing inside the box.
The crowd sensed a déjà vu when Paul Pogba chose to fire it in himself rather passing to Lukaku, eventually fumbling in front of an open post three minutes after the regulation 90 minutes.
Not the most convincing of all the wins, but Solskjaer will be proud of his boys who showed great composure and temperament to finally crack the Newcastle defense which showed little signs of being naïve. This was evident from the manager’s reactions post the match where he was seen acknowledging all his players and even the fans who were ecstatic throughout the Nescatle Vs United game.
Here’s a guy who has taken the role with open hands and respects the job more than anyone else in the world. The word “Interim” against his name haunts him a bit though.
The Norwegian seems pretty reluctant to leave the role. When he was asked whether he will leave for Molde in may, Solskjaer replied:
“I don’t want to.”
When asked about his thoughts on the record he created by winning his first four league games, Solskjaer said:
“That will be in the books but it’s nothing I’m thinking of.”
“I’m just thinking about the next game because if you win four you can win another four with this club. That’s the challenge, that’s the standard we’re used to.”
The fans seem pretty assured about the club in the hands of the former legend and rightly so, he doesn’t seem to make many errors in his judgment.
The quality of being calm and composed, keeping the head down even after a win, United were dying to find some of these in a manager. These facets are certainly rubbing off on the Devils who remain far from making too many unforced errors at crucial moments.
It remains to be seen if they’re up for a long run. Opponents will be tough from now on. In two weeks’ time, the Tottenham challenge awaits and then the two Champions League games against Paris-saint Germain along with league clashes against Arsenal, Liverpool, and Manchester City. But for now, fans can take a breather and cherish the last 2 weeks which have proved no less than merry holidays.
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