Six things we learned as Manchester United beat Newcastle

He’s back.

Manchester United have beaten Newcastle 4-1 at Old Trafford. Cristiano Ronaldo scored a brace on his second United debut either side of Javier Manquillo’s goal.

Bruno Fernandes and Jesse Lingard completed the scoring as United made it nine goals from two home games this season.

Here is a look at six things we learned from the game…

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Ronaldo is back

Looking at the situation through the week, there was no reason to suspect Ronaldo wouldn’t start this game.

But until it was confirmed, there was an element of doubt.

He started the game and had Old Trafford singing his name when he walked out of the tunnel.

The Portuguese superstar took just over 45 minutes to make his mark, scoring with his first clear chance of the game. It was the perfect way to kickstart his second United spell and he is already making a difference.

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4-3-3 could be here to stay

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer again went in with the 4-3-3 system he tried at Wolves last time out.

United dominated possession throughout and the formation helped keep the pressure on a Newcastle side who were determined to timewaste from the outset.

The next step for this setup will come when Scott McTominay is fully fit.

The Scotland international’s energy could really bring another dimension to the new plan, which allows Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes to influence matters from central areas.

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Cavani has suffered a setback

Edinson Cavani made his first appearance of the season at Wolves, but he was not in the squad here.

Solskjaer confirmed pre-match that Cavani has suffered a little knock, which has set his recovery back.

It would have been great for a full Old Trafford to have had the chance to show their appreciation for Cavani, not least for giving up his number seven shirt for Ronaldo.

As it is, he has to wait longer for his first start of the campaign.

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Concentration wavers again

There was almost a carbon copy of United’s first home game of the season against Leeds here.

United were in complete control, with the crowd bouncing but then concentration wavered and Newcastle got back into the game.

That’s something of a concern going forward and Solskjaer will want his side to learn how to keep their foot down when the game is going all their way.

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Character shown

That said, just as United did against Leeds, they swiftly responded to the wake-up call and got straight back onto the attack.

Ronaldo strode into space and smashed the ball between the legs of Freddie Woodman to send Old Trafford into raptures.

United were masters at coming from behind in empty stadiums last season.

This year, in front of their own fans, they’re getting second winds in home matches.

It would be better not to let opponents back into the game at all, but once that happened, United responded in perfect fashion.

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Old Trafford is rocking again

A combination of Ronaldo being back and a season without fans has sent the atmosphere at Old Trafford to a different level.

The noise was amazing against Leeds but it was even louder here. It’s clear to see the impact it has on the players.

United simply cannot play at a slow tempo with the crowd urging them forward like this.

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Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.