For 14 minutes at St James’ Park Ole Gunnar Solskjaer unleashed the midfield that many Manchester United followers had been ready for.
When Donny van de Beek got here off the bench to interchange Daniel James with United drawing 1-1 with Newcastle it was the primary time in six video games this season that the Dutchman had been on the identical pitch as Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes. A bit of over 1 / 4 of an hour later United had scored 3 times and a tense stalemate had became a rampant away win.
It was nothing lower than United deserved, enjoying with nice character and confidence to scrub away the ache of the 6-1 drubbing dished out by Tottenham two weeks in the past, however for a very long time it regarded like it might be one other day of frustration.
As an alternative, a late salvo ensured Solsjkaer obtained the response he needed to the humiliation in opposition to Spurs, when it comes to efficiency and factors.
It was a blitz impressed by Fernandes and Van de Beek, particularly, and maybe it was no coincidence that United started to look a extra threatening aspect when their three greatest midfielders had been on the pitch.
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However this may not have been a lightbulb second for Solskjaer. If something it is solely added to the issues he is going through in midfield. To begin with, this wasn’t a pure midfield three. Scott McTominay was nonetheless offering safety and Van de Beek and Fernandes had been taking it in turns to occupy a left-sided position. That might change into a ploy long-term however would go away Marcus Rashford or Anthony Martial with nowhere to go.
Becoming Van de Beek, Pogba and Fernandes into the identical beginning line-up proper now nonetheless appears to be like tough and their affect in opposition to Newcastle got here due to the platform laid by McTominay and Fred.
Solskjaer had made it clear he needed vitality from his aspect after the pitiful nature of the collapse in opposition to Tottenham, which made the inclusion of Fred and McTominay pretty easy selections.
The Brazilian and the Scot shaped an unlikely partnership final season however they do are inclined to deliver one of the best out of one another and so they definitely set the tone for a extra aggressive midfield show on Saturday.
United’s urgent was evidently extra intense in opposition to the Magpies and Fred is usually a key determine on this regard. Whereas Nemanja Matic doesn’t have the power to press excessive and nonetheless retreat to cowl in midfield now, and Pogba isn’t an aggressive presser when fielded deeper, Fred does make it his job to press his counterparts in midfield and gave Newcastle no straightforward route out.
With McTominay’s vitality and drive alongside him they’ve all bases lined in midfield in relation to work fee.
They won’t have the category of Matic and Pogba, however up to now this season that high quality has been overshadowed in all three Premier League fixtures. United’s midfield, which appeared to be a robust level within the preliminary weeks after the season restarted, has been unbalanced up to now this time period and it’s been too straightforward for the opposition midfield to discover a manner by and get a run out on the defence.
Fred and McTominay principally put a cease to that and so they gave United a platform. Now Solskjaer has to steadiness how priceless that platform is with the standard he will get from Van de Beek and Pogba, who each started on the bench.
That was significantly merciless on the Dutchman and the £35million summer season signing needs to be near a begin now. The query is the place he suits in.
He was concerned in Fernandes’ purpose, the strike which broke the Newcastle rearguard, doing nicely in possession in a deep place on the left earlier than firing a low ball into Juan Mata’s toes which opened up the assault.
However given Fernandes is a certainty to begin in essentially the most superior midfield place, Van de Beek would seem like preventing for one of many deeper roles. To this point this season Matic, Pogba, Fred and McTominay have been chosen forward of him in these roles and it might be a shock if Solskjaer went with a extra offensive choice in opposition to Chelsea or Arsenal within the subsequent couple of weeks.
The previous Ajax midfielder can play from an attacking position on the left, however that might contain breaking apart the entrance three. There is no straightforward answer to becoming Van de Beek into the beginning line-up for Solskjaer, particularly as Fred and McTominay gave him precisely what he needed at Newcastle.
For 14 wonderful minutes, United’s dream midfield ripped Newcastle to shreds. However not less than two of them is likely to be again on the bench on Tuesday night time and once more on Saturday.