Manchester United made it three wins from four as they beat Newcastle United 4-1 at Old Trafford to continue their unbeaten start to the season.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored the opener, tapping in after Newcastle keeper Freddie Woodman spilled a Mason Greenwood strike.
But the away side equalised after a quick counter was finished by Javier Manquillo after 56 minutes.
The game wasn’t level for long as United’s number seven notched his second of the afternoon to mark a dream return to his former stomping ground, with Bruno Fernandes and Jesse Lingard later adding a third and fourth.
Here’s three things we learnt from today’s game:
Life in the old dog yet
Despite what you’ve heard in the media it turns out Cristiano Ronaldo might actually still be pretty good at football.
With two goals on his second debut for the club, helping United take the lead and then regain the lead following Newcastle’s equaliser, Ronaldo looked sharp and ready for the challenge of Premier League football.
Detractors had decided the 36-year-old was too old and would tire due to the intensity of the league.
Many of the doubters have been immediately silenced but one thing the Portuguese legend never tires of is proving people wrong, expect many more SIUUU’s at Old Trafford this season.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s first ever SIU at Old Trafford. 🤩pic.twitter.com/gclAEFk7Jn
— TC (@totalcristiano) September 11, 2021
Vulnerable on the counter
Manquillo’s goal highlighted a major deficiency in United’s current system, a serious vulnerability to counter attacks.
With Nemanja Matic’s legs only getting slower and Paul Pogba not the most responsible defensively, a side featuring Miguel Almiron and Allan Saint-Maximin were always going to offer a threat on the break.
Man United’s biggest weakness is still being open to counter. Newcastle took full advantage and look dangerous every time they break.
— Danny Higginbotham (@Higginbotham05) September 11, 2021
This was also shown in the last game before the international break, with the pace of Adama Traore and Francisco Trincao causing United a lot of problems against Wolves at Molineux.
The signing of Raphael Varane offers a composed head at the back, but without protection from the midfield even a world class talent like the 28-year-old will struggle.
Van de Beek future in doubt
Donny Van de Beek yet again found himself on the bench and was given a measly five minutes against Newcastle.
With Scott McTominay injured and the availability of Fred in doubt right up until the day of the game, it seemed Van de Beek was surely in line for his first minutes of the season.
But Ole Gunnar Solskjaer instead went with Matic and Pogba in the pivot, dropping Pogba back from his more advanced role on the left wing instead of starting the Dutchman.
It is becoming increasingly difficult to see where Van de Beek’s chances are going to come from, barring injury or a major loss of form he won’t start ahead of Fernandes and is clearly not fancied as part of the midfield two.
A January move may be best for both parties.