Victor Lindelof produced a masterclass at St James’ Park as Manchester United kept the first clean sheet of the Ole Gunnar Solkjaer era.
United earned a 2-0 win thanks to goals from Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford.
It was Lindelof’s performance at the other end which was most impressive, with the Swede in complete control up against Salomon Rondon.
His display was at odds with Phil Jones’ nervous and careless performance.
Lindelof has been United’s most consistent player since September, with former boss Jose Mourinho managing to get him back on track.
The Swede’s rise has been reminiscent of United great Nemanja Vidic.
Vidic struggled at United at first, but he had two key advantages over Lindelof.
The Serbian was able to play alongside Rio Ferdinand, and under the management of Sir Alex Ferguson.
So it has taken Lindelof a little longer to get up to speed, but he is on the right track and looks like a cornerstone of United’s future.
Like Vidic, Lindelof loves defending, he is strong in the air, and he reads the game superbly.
The wider footballing public has not woken up yet to how well Lindelof is playing.
When he gets his own Rio Ferdinand to play alongside, perhaps a January transfer addition, the clean sheets will become more consistent and Lindelof will start being appreciated a whole lot more.
A partnership of Lindelof and Kalidou Koulibaly? Yes please.