Remember the day. Remember the man. Yes, that man is none other than Cristiano Ronaldo who made his second debut for Manchester United this year on 9th September. As usual, the “GOAT” never failed to impress on his first appearance for the club since 2009 when he was sold to the Spanish giants Real Madrid for a sum of £80 million which was quite hefty at the time.
FULL-TIME Man Utd 4-1 Newcastle
Cristiano Ronaldo makes a triumphant return to #PL action
— Premier League (@premierleague) September 11, 2021
What seemed to be a boring first-half suddenly took a U-turn in stoppage time when Mason Greenwood’s rocketing shot just outside the box sent the ball deflecting off the defender which in turn got deflected off the Newcastle United goalkeeper (Woodman) only to be sent into the back of the net by Ronaldo whose poacher instinct remains strong till this day. This was the moment that all United fans and Ronaldo fans were waiting for. Even those who do not support Manchester United couldn’t help but celebrate Ronaldo’s homecoming. It was raining goals in the second half. The Red Devils managed to dominate possession but very often they cheaply gave away the ball to The Magpies in the midfield and defence.
Manchester United’s defence and midfield was pretty shaky at times and one couldn’t help but reminisce about the previous seasons and in the 56th minute Newcastle United equalized with a goal that was scored by Javier Manquillo, but 6 minutes later Luke Shaw gave a brilliant through ball to Ronaldo who darted forward and cheekily shot the ball through the keeper’s legs. Woodman’s positioning at the time was perfect but Ronaldo used his head here and that is the mark of a great player, one who is not only athletic and skilled but is also mindful of the situations that can crop up at any given moment in the game. United fans at Old Trafford couldn’t have asked for more from the legendary Number 7.
After seeing Bruno Fernandez’s uneventful performance in Euros for Portugal, many concluded that the arrival of Ronaldo at United would lead to the destabilization of the maestro midfielder but he was having none of that. Despite Ronaldo’s towering presence, the best goal of the match for me goes to Bruno Fernandez, who just before being substituted shot the ball into the top corner of the net from quite a distance to make it 3-1.
Jadon Sancho showed signs of brilliance but he wasn’t able to make much of an impact and he was substituted in the 84th minute for Jesse Lingard who made his comeback and extended the score to 4-1 in stoppage time after a well thought out a tactical play which involved Pogba, van de Beek and Martial. The plus points from this match for Manchester United is that Ronaldo did make an impression but at the same time there was team play as United comfortably cruised past Newcastle United only to maintain their position at the top of the table, just a point ahead of the title-favourite (Manchester City) for this season.
Newcastle United currently sit second last on the table’s relegation list and will have to up their game as they have failed to win a single match so far this season. Currently United stands at number three on the title-favourite list and their manager Solskjaer seems to be having the time of his life but we have to wait and watch how the season unfolds given the arrival of Lukaku at Chelsea which has made them the second title-favourite for this season.