Newcastle United 1-0 Manchester United
Newcastle won a Premier League home game for the first time since October with a surprise victory over second-placed Manchester United.
Matt Ritchie scored the only goal in the second half as the Magpies climbed out of the relegation zone and left the visitors 16 points adrift of leaders Manchester City.
The Red Devils missed a string of chances to take something from a ground at which manager Jose Mourinho is yet to win a league match.But debutant Martin Dubravka was excellent in the Newcastle goal, denying Jesse Lingard, Anthony Martial, Ashley Young and Michael Carrick.
And the hosts could have had a first-half penalty when Chris Smalling tripped Dwight Gayle.Defeat for Manchester United raises the prospect of Manchester City being crowned champions when the teams meet at Etihad Stadium on 7 April.Should both teams win all of their league matches prior to that, City would only need to draw with their fierce rivals to secure the title that day.
Mourinho said after the game that Newcastle had fought “like animals” – and the hosts certainly produced a fierce and committed performance.The Magpies made more sprints (553 to their opponents’ 490), ran further (115km to 105km), and in DeAndre Yedlin and Ritchie had the game’s fastest and most industrious players.
Manager Rafael Benitez may be hoping recent signing Islam Slimani, who missed this game, can add more to an attack that only managed three shots on target, but Ritchie was clinical when it mattered.The impressive Jonjo Shelvey sent in a free-kick that the equally eye-catching Florian Lejeune headed down, and Ritchie collected Gayle’s flick to shoot past David de Gea.
That ended a run of 43 shots without a Premier League goal for Ritchie – and gave Newcastle their first home win in the league since 21 October.Prior to the match they were just one point better off than in their 2015-16 relegation season, but this win moved them up to 13th – and only three points behind 10th-placed Bournemouth.
For a better society