Manchester United’s woeful 2019/20 season reached a fresh nadir after Newcastle United ground out a fully deserved 1-0 victory at St James’ Park.
This Red Devils team lacks the energy and verge that was promised – and hinted at on the pitch – during pre-season, as they barely mustered a chance against a side that had previously shipped 13 goals through seven Premier League games with one win to show for it.
It was Matty Longstaff’s superb long-range strike that provided the only moment of true class in the game, leaving United to head into the international break 12th in the table with eight points from a possible 24.
Here are our United ratings – and they make for grim reading.
MAN UNITED (4-2-3-1)
David De Gea – Must be questioning his decision to sign a fresh long-term contract, no matter how much money was thrown at him. All he had to do was pick the ball up out of the back of the net. 5
Diogo Dalot – Diligent and tried to push high to create width, but could not get past Jetro Willems on the left and give United the attacking outlet that they so desperately needed. 5
Axel Tuanzebe – If gloom wasn’t enveloping the club right now, Tuanzebe would rightly be lauded as one of the few players who deserves to be part of United’s long-term future. Outmuscled by Joelinton at times, but there was little penetration within the away side’s area. 7
Harry Maguire – Perhaps the most composed man on the field for United, but missed nearly hit the corner flag with a point-blank header in the first half. 6
Ashley Young – Come what may, the post-Fergie tactic of letting Young swinging in quixotic crosses into the box never seems to get old. Not good enough – but that’s not really his fault anymore. 4
Fred – Has the touch of a ping-pong table. Every time he receives the ball it seems to rebound off a tangle of legs, or metres away from his intended target. 3
Scott McTominay – United’s best midfielder certainly wasn’t at his best today. Struggled to retain possession and was outplayed by the Longstaff brothers. No wonder the Red Devils has a strong interest in bringing big brother Sean to the club 4
Juan Mata – Not just a step – a long, loping stride too slow. These are games in which the Spaniard should still be useful, prying open space between the two banks of four. All of that ingenuity seems to have disappeared with the little pace he once had 3
Daniel James – The brightest – or least dim – spark up top for United, winning a couple of free-kicks and flinging in some dangerous crosses from the left and right. No one was home 6
Andreas Pereira – Playing out of position or not, Pereira makes almost as little impact as a physically inferior Mata. A playmaker who struggles to make plays 4
Marcus Rashford – Can hardly be blamed for the pitiful slops he was being served, but where is the instinctive striker United had hoped to develop? Schar nipped one ball of his toes, but there’s no urgency or guile to his runs forward. 4
Marcos Rojo – Threw himself about for half an hour with Dalot off injured and was risibly handed the armband with Young off the field of the last few minutes. 5
Mason Greenwood – 1-0 down at a bouncing Newcastle, it was unfair to expect the freshly minted 18-year-old to be able to eke life out of a listless team performance. 5
Tahith Chong – N/A