The Magpies could have been given a penalty early on in the match as Raphael Varane appeared to catch Callum Wilson after the ball had gone, but VAR opted against intervening to reverse the no-call from the referee.
They did have an opportunity to take the lead, however, as Joelinton missed a glorious chance to score. Only the Brazilian will be able to tell you how he did not find the back of the net in the first half as he managed to hit the crossbar and then the post in quick succession from a Kieran Trippier cross.
Whilst supporters may point to a lack of action from VAR on the Wilson and Varane incident as costing them the three points, the real villain for the Magpies was winger Jacob Murphy.
The former Norwich man put in a disappointing display as he struggled out wide, failing to make a positive impact in or out of possession.
He had an opportunity to open the scoring for Newcastle in the first half as he dribbled through under pressure but struck a shot straight at David De Gea. The Chronicle’s Lee Ryder described his attempt as “tame” and that could be used to sum up the rest of his performance.
In possession, he was loose and ineffective with the chances he did get. As per SofaScore, he had 20 touches (fewer than Pope’s 37) and only completed seven of his 12 attempted passes (58%), whilst failing in 100% (1/1) of his attempted dribbles.
These statistics show that he was unreliable when he had the ball at his feet as he gave it away almost every other pass, along with missing a good chance in front of goal, and struggled to get into the game as his goalkeeper had more touches than him.
Off the ball, Murphy was a liability for the team as he was bullied out of the game by the Red Devils’ defenders. He lost four of his five (80%) individual duels and only made one tackle in the match, whilst failing to make a single clearance, interception, or block for his side.
He was too weak out on the right wing and Howe will surely be disappointed with the forward’s displays, particularly after he scored in the 5-1 win over Brentford last week.
Murphy was the real villain for Newcastle, not VAR, as he failed to offer enough to be a match-winner for Newcastle in the absence of Allan Saint-Maximin.