Slow and ponderous Manchester United lost to a goalless draw at Old Trafford on Sunday thanks to the steadfast Newcastle United.
Both teams had chances to win, Joelinton was the closest to the visitors in the first half when two of his head shots hit the post.
For United, both chances to win the match came at the end of the game when substitute Marcus Rashford created the first chance for Fred, who could not direct the ball into the goal with an empty net in front of him.
Everyone when they saw Rashford get past Pope only for Fred to miss. pic.twitter.com/jyGCYNbzWu
— The United Stand (@UnitedStandMUFC) October 16, 2022
Then the Mancunian was guilty of missing the most brilliant chance in the last seconds of the game, as he could not direct a free header at the goal, and Nick Pope was rooted to his place.
This point means that United remain fifth in the table, one point above their rivals.
The selection of the team by Eric ten Hag indicates that United will play with two members of the top 4 – Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea within a few days.
The Dutch boss decided to use Fred instead of Christian Eriksen, and the Brazilian showed why he lost his place in the team. His passes, as usual, were unstable, and he approached the ball slowly many times.
Fred that’s not the answer
Ten Hag admitted that the Brazilian is great when it comes to pressing, but as the match went on, the Magpies were sitting deep, United needed someone who could break their transmission line.
The depth of United’s squad was revealed as the only real midfield options at the Dutchman’s disposal were academy graduates Zidane Iqbal and Cobby Mainu.
Scott McTominay’s injury and Eriksen’s illness meant that the Red Devils had to do without substitutions during the match.
Eriksen’s pass would be the perfect antidote to break down Newcastle’s tenacious defence, but unfortunately United should be happy with their first draw of the season.
Rashford could still count on it, but the result was a clear indication that the club still needs to strengthen the squad in key areas, as one injury or suspension can create a lot of problems.