An amazing fact regarding the Premier League title race has come to the fore following Manchester United’s loss to Newcastle this afternoon.
The two sides went head to head at St. James’ Park, with Jose Mourinho’s visitors having put their disappointing loss to Tottenham last week behind them with a 2-0 win over Huddersfield last time out.
Newcastle, meanwhile, had slipped into the Premier League relegation zone ahead of today’s kick-off, with the Magpies having picked up draws in their last two outings with Burnley and Crystal Palace respectively.
The visiting Red Devils understandably headed into this afternoon’s clash as heavy favourites, and took control of the majority of possession from the off.
However, Newcastle made it clear from early on that they would not allow the aura of their opponents to intimidate them, with Rafael Benitez’s men working like dogs when out of possession and making every tackle count.
And, after holding United at bay for the opening 45 minutes, Newcastle were rewarded for their valiant efforts shortly after the hour mark, when Chris Smalling’s ridiculous dive near the halfway-line saw the hosts awarded a free-kick.
The ball was subsequently lofted in towards the edge of Man United’s area, before a flicked header landed at the feet of Dwight Gayle.
From here, Gayle proceeded to expertly lay the ball off into the space behind him, where Matt Ritchie arrived in perfect time to slam home a quality finish into the bottom-left corner of David De Gea’s goal.
Alexis Sanchez and Anthony Martial were both guilty of fluffing guilt-edged chances for the visitors on ‘one of those days’ for United, with Newcastle in the end holding on for a potentially-crucial 3 points.
Derby day decider?
The result leaves Manchester United a massive 16 points adrift of fierce rivals and runaway Premier League leaders Manchester City, meaning, if results play out in a particular way over the coming weeks, that the Citizens could clinch the English top-flight title on a rather special occasion:
Man City can now win the Premier League by beating Man United on April 7 weekend.
With 11 games to go, City are 16 points ahead of United.
City can win the title with 6 wins. And the 6th league game coming up is the derby
— Rob Harris (@RobHarris) February 11, 2018