Martial grabs brace as Manchester United overpower Newcastle

Manchester United's Mason Greenwood (left) celebrates scoring his side's second goal against Newcastle United at Old Trafford. (Martin Rickett/PA via AP)

Manchester United came from a goal down to hand Newcastle a bruising 4-1 defeat at Old Trafford on Boxing Day.

Anthony Martial cancelled out Matty Longstaff’s early strike before Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford gave United a two goal cushion at half time.

Martial added another at the start of the second period and United could have scored more on their way to a convincing victory.

The result moves United up to seventh in the Premier League table, four points off the Champions League places, while Newcastle remain tenth.

Matthew Longstaff, second left, scores for Newcastle against Manchester United (Martin Rickett/PA via AP)

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team has saved their best performances for matches against the Premier League’s top teams this season while struggling against those around and beneath them in the table. Impressive victories against Leicester and Man City have come alongside defeats to the likes of Watford, West Ham and Bournemouth.

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In the early stages it looked like Newcastle, level on points with United at the start of play, would cause their hosts problems.

Miguel Almiron fired high and wide when given a glimpse of goal on 14 minutes. Seconds later, Dwight Gayle was presented with an even better chance when put clean through by Joelinton. Somehow, he fired over with the whole goal to aim at.

United, slow to recognise the warning signs and the danger Newcastle posed on the break, were unsurprisingly soon behind. Joelinton again got in behind the Red Devils’ defence before cutting back to Longstaff who found David de Gea’s bottom right hand corner. 

It was a clinical finish from the youngster and his second against United this season after scoring the winning goal when the sides met at St James’ Park in October.

Manchester United's Anthony Martial, right, celebrates scoring against Newcastle.

United needed a reaction, and fast. They got one, alongside a huge slice of luck, seven minutes later.

A low strike from Anthony Martial looked like an easy save for Martin Dubravka. But an uncharacteristic error from the Newcastle keeper saw the ball deflect off his hands and into the net.

Greenwood then made the most of another Newcastle error as he pounced on Fabian Schar’s loose pass to rattle the ball beyond Dubravka and give United the lead on 36 minutes. Moments later, United had a two-goal cushion as Marcus Rashford rose to nod home Aaron Wan Bisaka’s cross at the back post.

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Soslkjaer introduced Paul Pogba at half time for Scott McTominay, perhaps as precaution given the combative Scottish midfielder had been booked in the first period.

Pogba appeared in the mood and fired inches wide shortly after the restart. Yet United wouldn’t have to wait too long to extend their lead. An awful backpass from Sean Longstaff was pounced upon by Martial who honed in on goal before dinking the ball over Dubravka.

Manchester United's Mason Greenwood celebrates scoring against Newcastle. (Martin Rickett/PA via AP)

The French striker was denied a hat-trick on the hour mark as his left-foot strike from outside the box cracked off Dubravka’s post.

Harry Maguire then looked to add to the score by shooting from distance late on but was denied by a scrambling Dubravka.

After a promising start to proceedings, Newcastle appeared content to escape without further punishment.

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