The postman delivers and 3 things we learned as Manchester United snatch draw against Newcastle United

Manchester United stutter to a draw

Manchester United, having not played in 16 days, were expected to make light work of Newcastle United, who have only one win to their name all season.

However, this was far from the case. The Red Devils fell behind early thanks to a moment of brilliance from the mercurial Allan Saint-Maximin, while the visiting side looked horribly disjointed, prompting two half time changes from Ralf Rangnick.

However, the second half was little better. Newcastle could and should have doubled their advantage, but found themselves on level terms with 20 minutes to go after Edinson Cavani bundled home the ball following a blocked cross from Diogo Dalot.

And, with injuries to both Saint-Maximin and Callum Wilson forcing Newcastle into changes, they were ultimately happy to settle for a point in the grand scheme of things.

For Manchester United, however, it was a night to forget.

Here are 3 things 101 picked out from the game

1. Manchester United cannot afford to let Cavani leave

There has been plenty of speculation about Edinson Cavani departing the club in January, with Barcelona thought to be interested.

Letting him go, however, would be suicidal from Manchester United.

Although he only played 45 minutes for the Red Devils, he was comfortably their best player on the pitch, missing one good chance before getting the goal to drag his side back into the game.

A very effective presser, something that his teammates in the forward line are not, he embodies what Rangnick is looking to demand from his forwards, and consistently finds the right position to be in even if he is less clinical than others at the club.

But on what he brings to the side, he cannot be let go before his contract runs out in the summer.

2. Work needs to be done at Carrington

Manchester United had not played a game of football in 16 days. Judging by the first half, however, it looked as if the players in the starting XI had not known each other more than 16 days.

Deployed in the 4-2-2-2 Rangnick prefers, there was no cohesion whatsoever, and the senior players let the side down. Cristiano Ronaldo cut a folorn figure, Raphael Varane produced a performance littered with errors, while Marcus Rashford had one of his worst outings in a Manchester United shirt.

And while there will almost certainly be additions come the January transfer window, the squad that they have should be more than good enough to challenge for the Champions league places, and even the title, rather than scraping results against bottom sides Newcastle United and Norwich, as they have in the last two games.

It is very much back to the drawing board, and the training pitch, for the Red Devils.

3. Midfield reinforcements are desperately needed

Even before Fred was substituted at half-time, it was clear that midfield was a key problem area.

Fred and Scott McTominay are both passable options, but are not good enough to start every week for a side of the calibre of Manchester United.

Newcastle exploited this, forcing the Manchester United centre-backs to have more time on the ball and pressuring them, forcing them into mistakes such as the one that led to the opening goal.

And while it is tonight's opposition that are expected to spend big come the new year, on the evidence of this clash alone, it is clear that links to the likes of Amadou Haidara and Boubacar Kamara are both sensible and needed for Manchester United too.

Fresh blood in the squad is a must in the January window if the Red Devils want to sustain a charge for the final Champions League spot, which would in turn allow the more creative players in the side more freedom.

Will there be movement in the market this January?

Read more:

Time to drop star man? Manchester United player ratings as several fail to impress against Newcastle United

Why Bruno Fernandes will not be available for Manchester United’s clash with Burnley


Ben Browning

Ben Browning

Football writer and analyst. Long-time writer of all things Arsenal and avid watcher of European football. Happy to discuss all things football over on Twitter.

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