Erik ten Hag’s men started off brightly enough, with Fred missing the target early on, but Newcastle were always ready to counterpunch during the contest.
The teams went in at the interval level, with Joelinton unlucky with a header that struck the bar before he then hit the post in the same sequence of play. The second half saw two Cristiano Ronaldo goals disallowed and the forward looked a shadow of his former self, being substituted for Marcus Rashford with under 20 minutes remaining.
The home side had the majority of the possession around the hour mark, 61.6%, but their lack of ruthlessness meant the match finished all square and this was probably the fairest outcome.
It was yet another poor match for Ronaldo, following on from Thursday, where he made just 18 passes and took 31 touches and it’s clear his influence is waning with each passing game under Ten Hag.
Yesterday, the Portuguese forward was even worse, receiving a SofaScore rating of just 6.6/10, the second lowest in the United starting XI (Fred 6.4) and he took just 22 touches during the whole match, 16 fewer than David De Gea (38).
The mercurial 37-year-old, despite having two goals chalked off, barely made a pass in his 72 minutes on the pitch, providing just 11 in all, with none of them key passes, with the player beginning to have less and less of an impact in this side.
Indeed, MEN’s Samuel Luckhurst gave him a dismal player rating of 4 at full-time, suggesting that he had spent the game coming too deep in order to influence proceedings. Meanwhile, the Athletic described him as “profligate” yesterday, not a word you’d usually associate with such a decorated and accomplished individual.
That influence was slight, however, as the forward won just one duel and lost possession eight times with his usual excellent timing uncharacteristically off. As a result, Ten Hag might think need to think twice about having the player in from the start against Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday evening.
It looks increasingly likely that this will be his final season in the Premier League, but with performances like these, the Dutchman will rue not bringing in an out-and-out goal scorer during the summer transfer window.