By Andrew Embling
- United unable to find the killer touch
- Schweinsteiger made first start for United
Venue: Old Trafford Attendance: 75,354
Manchester United’s perfect start to the Premier League ended as they were held to a frustrating 0-0 draw at Old Trafford.
United boss Louis van Gaal made one change to his line up, Bastian Schweinsteiger starting for the first time for his new side in place of Michael Carrick. United made a bright start and there may have been a much different outcome if Wayne Rooney’s fourth minute effort had not been ruled out in what was a very marginal offside. But the flag went up and United never really found a cutting edge, despite a bright opening 15 minutes.
In that opening period Newcastle were hardly able to get a touch, but when they did United were harrying them in possession, pressing their opponents high up the pitch. United were playing some flowing attacking football, Mata coming close with a free kick after Darmian was stopped in his tracks by Perez on the edge of the area.
The home side were cutting in behind Newcastle’s back four almost at will, but the final ball wasn’t good enough as the Magpies blocked at the near post time and again. Mata forced Krul into a good save low down at his near post before Rooney tested Krul from the edge of the area as United looked almost certain to turn their possession into an advantage on the scoresheet. United’s passing was crisp and snappy as the controlled the midfield.
Memphis made mincemeat out of Mbemba on the left but could only shoot at Krul when he had teammates in better areas, but out of nowhere Newcastle almost grabbed an undeserved opener with a rare attack as Mitrovic’s headed smashed against the bar.
United continued to press, Januzaj setting Memphis away, only for his cut back to be intercepted after he rounded Krul. All the initial impetus of the first 15 minutes slowly petered out as Newcastle grew in confidence, keeping possession better and forcing United to slow their build up. Perez shot wide late on in the half as the away side finished the half strongly.
Newcastle came out after the break with more confidence, showing more willing to come forward in a low key start to the half. United needed to find some impetus with Newcastle happy to contain the home side, Memphis forcing a corner from his deflected effort in a rare moment of excitement mid-way through the half.
Rooney had an effort blocked before Mata fired over at the far post as United finally showed some attacking thrust with 18 minutes to go. United were upping the tempo, Luke Shaw combining well with Schneiderlin before striking straight at Krul from the edge of the area.
Substitute Hernandez had a great chance to give United the lead, only to see Krul come out quickly to save his effort. Van Gaal’s men were throwing everything forward, Smalling hitting the post in injury time, but Newcastle broke away and Thauvin almost got on the end of good work by Cisse.
Still there was time for Carrick’s effort from range to be deflected just wide as United dropped points for the first time this season. A frustrating day for the Red Devils, once again highlighting the need for another striker at Old Trafford with the lack of goals a real concern for Louis Van Gaal.
Manchester United: Romero, Darmian (Valencia 77), Smalling, Shaw, Schweinsteiger (Carrick 59), Schneiderlin, Mata, Januzaj (Hernandez 67), Memphis, Rooney
Our Man Of The Match: Shaw