Newcastle United came from behind twice to earn a well-deserved 3-3 draw with Louis van Gaal’s men and produce an exciting game of football that consisted of everything – good goals, full-throttle tackles and poor refereeing decisions. The Magpies got a crucial point but Manchester United disappointed as they squandered a two goal lead.
Jesse Lingard – a bright spot for the Red Devils
Lingard was given his first start of the new year, and he delivered. He caught on Wayne Rooney’s pass and finished through the keeper’s legs in an expertly fashion. More importantly, his contribution in the game wasn’t restricted to the goal. His work in the defence was also worth noting as he ensured the side had extra men at the back. His work rate and pressing were also impressive. Lingard did miss a glorious chance to get his team another goal, but that could be excused given the rest of his performance.
Manchester United must be encouraged by the performance of the England U-21. He’s definitely got a bright future.
Wayne Rooney’s recent performances are encouraging
One of the stories of the season has been Wayne Rooney’s incredible loss of form. A few weeks ago, the England captain appeared to be losing form at an incredible rate. In 14 appearances, he only managed to find the back of the net once.
However, the Manchester United skipper seems to have turned a corner recently. He scored a brace against the Magpies that included a cool penalty and a superb strike to find the top corner, and assisted Lingard’s goal. It was his strongest performance this season.
Including his cheeky backheel finish against Swansea City and the decisive penalty against Sheffield United, the forward now boasts four goals in his last three appearances and seems to be getting back to his best. With Manchester United stuttering heavily recently, it’s extremely encouraging for them that their star striker appears to be getting back to his best.
How long can van Gaal survive?
Despite the United faithful getting their dose of entertaining football, it’s only a point they got from a fixture where they would have aimed for more. More importantly, they had a lead two times and managed to squander it. Granted, it was more Newcastle United’s wonderful spirit and a performance worthy of a win in the second half that took the game away from the Red Devils, but the result still leaves them outside the top 4. A narrow win over Swansea City, a last minute win courtesy of a penalty against a third tier side and a draw against a team in the relegation zone doesn’t make for a very pretty reading.
They face fellow top 4 challengers Liverpool this weekend and considering their rival’s depleted squad, it’s a game they should be winning. At the same time, seeing the recent results, it might be another underwhelming performance from the Red Devils. Either way, the weekend clash might be the last opportunity for Louis van Gaal to escape the sack, at least momentarily.