Five things we learned as Manchester United beat Newcastle 4-1

Three late goals secured an important win for out-of-form Manchester United. The Reds went behind early on after a Luke Shaw own goal but gradually earned a well-deserved win at St. James’ Park to move onto six points for the season.

Here are the lessons learned from United’s 3-1 win:

Fernandes contributes without shining once again

He may have missed a penalty, although you’d be a hard-nosed critic to blame him after the number he’s scored, but Bruno Fernandes came up big when United needed him once again.

It’s been a long time since Fernandes impressed over the course of a full 90 minute. Again he managed to contribute to a goal without playing brilliantly throughout. It’s one of the many attributes that has made Fernandes so valuable to United since he signed in January.

Few of United’s players have managed to score while playing badly in the past. Rashford and Martial attest to that. But Fernandes can, and it’s helped United on so many occasions – this was one of them.


Photo by Owen Humphreys – Pool/Getty Images

Maguire gets confidence boost with headed goal

It has been a terrible start to the season for Harry Maguire. His performances have been poor for United and his mid-week sending off for England saw him humiliated on a national scale.

This headed goal, which levelled things up for United, is a much-needed confidence boost for United’s captain who is, although he might not have shown it this season, United’s best defender.

Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images

Wan-Bissaka needs help on placid right-wing – but scores

United relied heavily on Aaron Wan-Bissaka to produce quality crosses in the first half. He did okay. In the second, he scored. It was a fantastic moment.

Rather than demonstrating Wan-Bissaka’s lack of quality, the first half in particular instead showed how weak United are in general on the right-wing.

Bruno Fernandes comes out from the central areas to help create chances on the right but it’s not enough. Wan-Bissaka is hardly an attacking influencer and too much is asked of him.

United failed to sign a first-team player for the right-wing in the transfer market. He is one of many players in this United team who are asked to do too much. Much like Paul Pogba, Wan-Bissaka is asked to do more than he’s capable of. The same has been true with Harry Maguire, Fred, Scott McTominay, Dan James and others.

It was clear that United needed more on that right-wing but the club’s endless pursuit of Jadon Sancho ended in failure. This game is not the first to show that that will have a big impact on the side’s quality.

Photo by Mark Leech/Offside/Offside via Getty Images

James sharp on surprise return to starting line-up

Dan James’ involvement in the starting line-up hardly inspired confidence but the Welsh winger reminded fans of his qualities.

When he drives through central areas with good footwork, James adds a lot to United’s game. We’ve not seen it enough. Not at all. But his first half display was reassuring. James isn’t good enough to start for United but he is a good squad option and more displays like that will show exactly why.

James took five shots and lost possession only once before being substituted for Donny van de Beek in the second half.

United and Newcastle fans unite to raise money for foodbanks

With £14.95 charged to watch this game on Pay-Per-View, Newcastle United fans began a campaign to send that money to a good cause instead. Like Man United, the Geordies have a good bank linked to the club’s support.

Newcastle’s supporters’ food bank raised more than £5000 with their campaign.

That’s a far better use of fans’ money than paying £15 to watch Newcastle vs United streamed from an empty stadium.

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Life-long Manchester United fan with a strong interest in the club's academy. Host of the Manchester United Weekly Podcast and United Through Time. First game at Old Trafford was the 7-1 rout of AS Roma in 2007.