Martial 9/10, Rashford 8/10 as Man United rally to thrash Newcastle

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Manchester United returned to winning ways in style as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side came from behind to record a 4-1 demolition of Newcastle United at Old Trafford.

Matty Longstaff's 17th-minute strike threatened to inflict more misery on Solskjaer's men, but the hosts hit back through Anthony Martial's strike before Mason Greenwood's Christmas cracker turned the game on its head and Marcus Rashford's powerful header made it 3-1. From then on it was all United, and Martial wrapped up a Boxing Day gift for the Old Trafford faithful with an ice-cool chip from close range.


The festivities are all about indulgence, and there was no questioning the hunger of the United front three. It was the perfect response to last weekend's defeat against Watford but also made it five games unbeaten against Newcastle at Old Trafford, avenging October's narrow defeat at St James' Park. The result saw United move three points clear of their opponents and close the gap on the top four to four points.


United's defending in the early stages was woeful at best. Harry Maguire in particular looked a weak link, twice troubled by bursts of pace from Joelinton and Dwight Gayle, who found it too easy to get in behind and cause problems as United fell behind early on. Solskjaer will also be sweating on the fitness level of Scott McTominay, who was withdrawn at half-time.

Manager rating (out of 10)

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, 7 -- The Norwegian made two changes to the side that lost to Watford, including the return of Mason Greenwood, who repaid his manager with a fine strike to put the Red Devils in front. The United boss will have been delighted to see all of his attacking trio strike gold and will also be pleased with the character his side showed to come from behind.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best, players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK David de Gea, 6 -- It threatened to be another long afternoon for de Gea when he had to pick Longstaff's 17th minute strike out of the net, but the Spanish goalkeeper was otherwise untested with Gayle blasting wildly over in Newcastle's only other chance of note.

DF Aaron Wan-Bissaka, 7 -- The full-back sensed the opportunity to enjoy himself against a Newcastle side that sat deep, and the 22-year-old produced a tantalising delivery for Rashford to make it 3-1. However, prior to that he found himself caught far too high up the pitch as Newcastle threatened with a quick breakaway before Miguel Almiron eventually fired over. He was untested in a comfortable second half.

DF Harry Maguire, 6 -- The England man wasted a good early opportunity to head home from Fred's corner and was all over the place at the other end in a frantic 10-minute spell. He found himself twice caught out by runs behind from Joelinton in quick succession, the second of which led to Longstaff bundling the opener into the bottom-left corner.

DF Victor Lindelof, 6 -- Like Maguire, Lindelof struggled against the pace and directness of Joelinton, and he will be relieved that his afternoon wasn't as busy as it might have been. The defender made it far too easy for the Newcastle man to craft an opportunity from nothing, but he was let off the hook by the forward's poor decision making.

DF Luke Shaw, 6 -- The left-back's contribution was an important one as United started to take control, and he made inroads down the left. He played a hand in the United equaliser too, picking out Andreas Pereira, who set up Martial to make it 1-1. It was a quiet afternoon for the 24-year-old on the defensive end.

MF Scott McTominay, 6 -- It was a typically aggressive display from the midfielder who was in the wars again throughout. The bullish Scot went into the book and was replaced at the break after feeling the effects of a crunching tackle from Sean Longstaff.

MF Andres Pereira, 7 -- Caused the Newcastle backline early problems, getting bundled over by Federico Fernandez and allowing Marcus Rashford an early strike at goal for his efforts. The midfielder teed up Martial nicely to power home the equaliser and drew a smart save from Martin Dubravka with a whipped free-kick from a tight angle.

MF Fred, 6 -- The Brazilian's weak challenge on Matty Longstaff was far too timid and never looked like stopping the Newcastle man from getting his shot away for the opening goal, while the midfielder's shot from distance lacked any real conviction as he looked to redeem himself. His performance improved from then on as United took the game by the scruff of the neck.

FW Mason Greenwood, 8 -- The youngster endured a quiet opening half-hour but sprung to life in the 35th minute, switching the ball onto his left foot before unleashing a spectacular strike that rattled in off the underside bar to give his side the lead. He could have had another goal after the break but was caught in two minds and sliced Juan Mata's pass wide of goal.

FW Marcus Rashford, 8 -- It's been raining goals for Rashford of late and the striker rose highest to convert Wan-Bissaka's cross from the right with real conviction and make it 3-1. Prior to that the England man was unfortunate to see his deflected free-kick flashed past Dubravka's right-hand post, but wasted a good opportunity on the half-hour mark when he bent his effort wide of goal.

FW Anthony Martial, 9 -- Magnificent Martial was so often the man leading by example in United's attack and he capped a fine display with a goal either side of half-time. He dragged his side back on terms with a vital equaliser that somehow wriggled past Dubravka before making the points safe with a deft chip over the Newcastle goalkeeper. Only the post denied the Frenchman what would have been a deserved hat-trick.


MF Paul Pogba, 6 -- Replaced Scott McTominay at the interval. It took just a couple of minutes for him to conjure a site of goal, but his curling effort from outside the area was always bending just side of goal, before Mata's deep cross just evaded the rising France midfielder at the front post.

MF Jesse Lingard, 6 -- Replaced Rashford in the 64th minute with the points in the bag. The 27-year-old's contribution was minimal, but the game was pretty much dead by the time he was introduced.

MF, Juan Mata, 7 -- Replaced the impressive Martial in the 68th minute and nearly helped himself to a Christmas gift when Dubravka almost fumbled the ball straight into the Spaniard's path, but he just about managed to gather at the second attempt. Threatened to dissect the Newcastle backline with his passing in a decent display.