Man Utd second after overcoming Newcastle challenge

Manchester United maintained their place as the best of the rest this season by beating Newcastle 3-1 at Old Trafford.

Leicester had made themselves the closest rival to league leaders Manchester City earlier in the day. But Man Utd responded by claiming a win of their own to stay at the top of the chasing pack via goal difference.

They had to work for the win, as Newcastle did not make life easy for them. However, they eventually closed out the game comfortably.

David De Gea was on alert early on when he tipped over an effort from Joelinton.

Despite Newcastle’s fairly promising start, the first goal came at the other end. Marcus Rashford nutmegged Emil Krafth before cutting inside and beating the Magpies defender again.

Rashford then fired past Karl Darlow at the near-post to make it 1-0 to the hosts after half an hour.

The lead did not last long, though. Barely five minutes later, Allan Saint-Maximin reacted to the ball dropping in the box and brilliantly sent it past De Gea with a sidefooted volley.

Saint-Maximin tested De Gea again early in the second half, but this time the Man Utd goalkeeper was equal to his effort.

Once again, though, it was the Red Devils who scored first in the half. Nemanja Matic turned into the box and sent the ball across for Daniel James, courtesy of a slight deflection off Bruno Fernandes.

James got the ball out of his feet quickly and finished with his second touch to restore Man Utd’s advantage.

Fernandes penalty completes win

Things got worse for Newcastle when Joe Willock clipped Rashford in the box, giving Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side the chance to extend their lead from the penalty spot.

Fernandes made no mistake, sending Karl Darlow the wrong way to make it 3-1.

There was time late on for Shola Shoretire to come on for his Man Utd debut. He replaced one of his idols, Rashford, for his first taste of senior football against his hometown club.

There was ultimately no way back for Newcastle, who now hover just three points above the relegation zone.

Man Utd are still 10 points off first-placed Man City, but closed the gap by as much as they could from this game.