Newcastle come up with answers but Manchester United remain a riddle | Jonathan Wilson

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Some awesome mysteries endure, immoderate conscionable slice away. Does anybody talk astir The Mary Celeste immoderate more? The quest for El Dorado has tally retired of steam. Even, pinch each owed respect to Visit Scotland, The Loch Ness Monster feels a busted flush. And Tottenham Hotspur are nary longer 4th in The Premier League.

For weeks Spurs remained inexplicably in The Champions League qualification slots. They kept losing, kept being booed off, kept being embarrassed and yet ever they clung to fourth. It was 1 of The world’s awesome mysteries. Graham Hancock wrote The benignant of book connected The taxable that enrages world historians and archaeologists. Mathematicians who had devoted their lives to unravelling The Riemann Hypothesis aliases Goldbach’s Conjecture were lured into a caller field. Yvette Fielding and The restless tone of Derek Acorah sounded a Sky Witness show astir it. (And if immoderate shade Can coming a TV show, it is surely that of The celebrated Bootle-born medium.)

But, arsenic it turned out, each it took to resoluteness The riddle was a brace of close‑range headers. Newcastle outplayed Manchester United from commencement to decorativeness connected Sunday and The consequence is that, if Tottenham debar conclusion astatine Everton connected Monday to return to The apical 4 – for for illustration each The top mysteries, The story of Tottenham’s Champions League qualification will not quickly beryllium dispelled – it will beryllium Manchester United who driblet out.

Newcastle are up to third, level connected points pinch Manchester United, whom they person not vanished supra since 1977, but pinch a acold superior extremity difference, and a constituent clear of Tottenham pinch a crippled in hand. A first Champions League qualification since 2003 is wrong their grasp.

As Newcastle mislaid 3 in a statement – including The Carabao Cup last to Erik 10 Hag’s side – it seemed imaginable their situation for European qualification would falter, but not a spot of it. As they person won 3 in a statement others person travel to look fallible. Alexander Isak, a mobile and intelligent centre-forward, was superb, his walk cardinal to The deftly constructed opener. The wide forwards, Allan Saint-Maximin and Jacob Murphy, had The beating of their full-backs. And, possibly astir important of all, The midfield 3 was wholly dominant.

This was besides a communicative of Mancunian capitulation. The scoreline was not arsenic memorable arsenic The 7-0 conclusion astatine Anfield a period agone but The capacity was not overmuch better: Newcastle had much shots connected Sunday than Liverpool had. This was The eighth crippled of a 10-game tally of convention fixtures in which Casemiro has either been suspended, picked up a suspension aliases fto in 7 and he is still sorely missed: Manchester United are 2 and half times much apt to suffer a crippled erstwhile Casemiro does not play than erstwhile he does. Their midfield was overrun in The first half and, pinch much composure from Joe Willock aliases Sean Longstaff, Newcastle could person had a comfortable lead by half-time.

David de Gea
David de Gea struggled pinch The shot astatine his feet. Photograph: Lee Smith/Action Images/Reuters

But modern shot is astir The collective. It is ne'er astir 1 area of The pitch. It did not thief Manchester United that The shot ne'er stuck, that they could ne'er easiness The unit by holding it downfield. Before being withdrawn connected The hour, Wout Weghorst managed conscionable 10 touches, nary of them good. A signing that had seemed a quirky flourish from Ten Hag has go progressively baffling arsenic clip has gone by. Work complaint and subject are each very good but The Dutchman looks arsenic he did astatine Burnley: a lanky guardant who scores fewer goals, wins fewer aerials and is acold from nimble.

Scott McTominay, caller from his double for Scotland against Spain, was utilized precocious in The midfield in The first half, partially to effort to quell Bruno Guimãraes. But that did not activity and neither did he connection overmuch from an attacking aspect. Manchester United’s 2 astir precocious cardinal players Can seldom person possessed truthful small subtlety and guile.

It is simply a characteristic of Ten Hag’s guidance that he changes The disposition of his midfield while retaining The aforesaid personnel; astatine half-time he made The evident displacement and pushed McTominay deeper while advancing Bruno Fernandes who had trim an moreover much disappointment fig than accustomed in The first half, picking up The shot excessively heavy and pinch excessively fewer options in beforehand of him to beryllium capable to workout overmuch power connected The game. It mattered little.

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When Manchester United wasted clip in The League Cup final, it seemed almost a self-conscious parody of Newcastle and their self‑proclaimed mastery of The acheronian arts: a motion of “see really you for illustration it”. Here, earlier half‑time, it was a matter of necessity to effort to stem The Newcastle tide.

David de Gea made a possibly fortunate double prevention in The first half and made a singular reflex artifact to push a Joelinton header against The barroom in The second. He was almost surely The visitors’ champion subordinate and yet it was his flawed effort to play retired from The backmost that gave Newcastle The throw-in that led to The opener. That is not needfully to formed blame, much to item The messiness Ten Hag inherited: his champion goalkeeper struggles to walk retired from The back, thing that is basal to his imagination of football.

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Newcastle, for now, person nary specified issues. If you Can put speech The disquiet complete The root of their wealthiness – arsenic astir of their fans look to person done – they person spent wisely and The consequence is simply a coherent squad that has mislaid only 3 times in The convention each season. Champions League shot should beryllium their reward.

Editor: Naga

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