Saturday’s game was a first this season for Mason Greenwood, he failed to score.
After netting three in three to start the season and win the club’s player of the month award, Greenwood was always going to come back to earth at some stage.
Yet even on a quiet day in which Greenwood was overshadowed by the returning Cristiano Ronaldo, the teenager still played a key role.
Greenwood was the key to Manchester United’s first goal and Ronaldo’s opener.
Receiving the ball wide on the right, Greenwood cut inside and unleashed a fierce effort with his left foot.
The shot took a slight deflection and goalkeeper Freddie Woodman could not control the shot and it rebounded into the path of a grateful Ronaldo who scored a simple chance.
Greenwood deserves credit for his positive intent, realising the minutes at the end of the half were ticking down and he had to take a chance. The ferocity and accuracy of his shot to land on target led to the goal.
Just one moment
Up until that stage, Greenwood had played a pretty quiet first half. United had struggled to get him into the game, with Newcastle sitting deep to try and frustrate United.
Once again the talented teenager showed that he only needed a singular moment to change the game, even if he did not score or get credited with an assist.
Greenwood had popped up with a similar decisive moment a fortnight earlier against Wolves in the previous game.
With the game goalless, Greenwood received the ball out wide and fired a powerful effort towards goal which ended up in the back of the net.
Greenwood played 84 minutes against Newcastle and managed 48 touches, which was the fewest of any outfield starting player on United’s team, including Jadon Sancho (52) was was substituted on 65 minutes.
But Greenwood is so lethal that he only needs a moment. Without him, United would have gone into half-time scoreless, and Ronaldo would be celebrating just one goal instead of two.
This is the sign of a top quality forward, who can change games when not at his best, and take responsibility on behalf of his team. Manchester United have an immense talent on the books.
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