Man Utd 4-1 Newcastle: Paul Pogba shines on return in comfortable win
By Gerard Brand
Last Updated: 19/11/17 8:47am
Manchester United came from a goal down to beat Newcastle 4-1 in the Premier League as both Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic returned to action.
The visitors took the lead early on through Dwight Gayle's tidy finish from inside the box after fine work by DeAndre Yedlin, but Anthony Martial levelled with a header from man-of-the-match Pogba's cross.
Ashley Young then found the head of Chris Smalling for the hosts' second, before Pogba capped his comeback with a close-range finish from Marcus Rashford's clever header across goal.
Man Utd: De Gea (6), Valencia (6), Lindelof (6), Smalling (6), Young (7), Matic (7), Pogba (8), Mata (6), Martial (7), Rashford (7), Lukaku (7)
Subs: Fellaini (6), Ibrahimovic (6), Herrera (NA)
Newcastle: Elliot (5), Yedlin (6), Lejeune (5), Clark (5), Manquillo (5), Ritchie (5), Hayden (6), Shelvey (6), Murphy (5), Gayle (6), Joselu (5)
Subs: Diame (5), Aarons (5), Mitrovic (5)
Man of the match: Paul Pogba
Romelu Lukaku ended his seven-game goal drought by finishing into the roof of the net (70), and a good day for Man Utd ended with Ibrahimovic playing 13 minutes after his return from a lengthy injury.
The result means United stay eight points behind leaders Manchester City after 12 games, while Newcastle are 11th, five off the drop zone.
Newcastle started the brighter, and were ahead on 14 minutes. Yedlin's cut back from a fine run down the right flank fell into the path of Gayle after Victor Lindelof's costly slip, and the striker steered the ball in off the far post from 12 yards.
Jacob Murphy struck just wide from an angle minutes later as Newcastle found gaps in the hosts' defence, but Martial got Man Utd back on terms with a far-post header from Pogba's fine lifted cross from the right.
Paul Pogba started on his return from long-term injury, while Zlatan Ibrahimovic was named on the bench after he was re-signed. Victor Lindelof and Juan Mata came in, while Ander Herrera was named on the bench. For Newcastle, Ciaran Clark and Jacob Murphy were back in the starting XI.
It was 2-1 on the stroke of half-time through Smalling, who headed home from close range at the far post after Young's superb ball from a short corner.
Isaac Hayden then struck straight at David De Gea after going one-on-one inside the box, but it was 3-1 after the break as Pogba cleaned up from a few yards out after Marcus Rashford's deft, unselfish header across goal from Lukaku's cross.
De Gea then did well to tip away Murphy's long-range effort, but Man Utd gained a three-goal cushion through Lukaku, the striker smashing into the roof of the goal from 12 yards after a one-two with Juan Mata.
The Old Trafford crowd gave Ibrahimovic a huge ovation as he came on with 13 minutes remaining, and he nearly ended the night with a goal, only to see his scissor-kick beaten away by Rob Elliot.
- Man Utd have now won seven consecutive Premier League games at Old Trafford; their longest run since March 2013, when they won 12 in succession under Sir Alex Ferguson.
- Jose Mourinho's side also extended their unbeaten run at Old Trafford in the Premier League to 23 games (W13 D10); their longest streak since October 2011 (a run of 25).
- Newcastle have now lost against Man Utd on 26 occasions in the Premier League; more than against any other opponent in the competition.
Jose Mourinho: "[Pogba] was top. It looked like he had not been out. He came back with a really great performance. He was a great influence in the game. He affects our football. We all know, myself and the fellow players, that certain players influence the levels of the team. With him we have much more creation. I am so happy."
Rafa Benitez: "You see the difference in terms of money spent but it is not something we didn't know. We knew that was a massive difference between both teams. But I am really pleased with our performance in the first 30 minutes."
Man of the match - Paul Pogba
The Frenchman showed everyone what United have been missing over the last two months with a trademark dominant display in midfield, scoring one and setting up another.
His assist for Martial's header was most impressive, patiently twisting and turning his marker until he found a yard to sit up a nightmare ball for defenders.
He made more passes in the opposition half than any other player (46) and also took part in more duels (18).
Man Utd go to Basel in their Champions League group stage clash on Wednesday, before hosting Brighton in the Premier League on Saturday. Newcastle now host Watford on Saturday.