Newcastle have not had many highlights so far this season, but they were very close to a historic victory in early October.
The Magpies were winless when travelling to Old Trafford to face an equally poor Man United team. The pressure was slowly building on Rafa Benítez to find a result, and his team had to go to a place where they have only won once in over 40 years. José Mourinho’s men were also on a four-match streak without a victory in all competitions and desperately needed a performance.
However, the game started perfectly for The Magpies, as early goals from Kenedy and Yoshinori Muto put Newcastle 2-0 inside ten minutes. Man United were in absolute disarray, and Mourinho was panicking. He brought defender Eric Bailly off before the 20 minute mark, replacing him with inexperienced midfielder Scott McTominay.
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The Red Devils were there for the taking, and only a brilliant save from David de Gea from a Muto header prevented Benítez’s men being ahead by three before halftime. However, the cardinal error that the Spaniard made in that game was that he did not take advantage of Man United’s disorder. Instead, Newcastle sat back, and they slowly lost their grip on the game.
Two goals from Juan Mata and Anthony Martial after 70 minutes made the game level before a last minute goal from Alexis Sánchez sunk Newcastle. That loss meant Benítez’s streak without a win would continue, and it would carry for the next two fixtures against Brighton and Southampton.
Had Newcastle won at Old Trafford, it is very possible that they would have won their next two games, instead of a loss and a draw. That would be nine points instead of one. That puts them in the top ten of the Premier League, and suddenly their season would have a completely different complexion.
Although Newcastle have snapped their terrible run, and things are now looking brighter, this was a chance to make history for The Magpies, and they blew it.