Smalling struggles and Pogba poor as Man United slump vs. Newcastle
Man United enjoyed a great week of results, with teams around them dropping points, and did enough to win this game but it was Rafa Benitez's side who got the only goal. Anthony Martial suffered a particularly frustrating afternoon in front of goal, while Jose Mourinho has still never won at St. James' Park.
Watching Ashley Young nutmeg Jonjo Shelvey was entertaining but that was about as good as it got for United's fans. Their side bossed possession and Newcastle relied on last-ditch defending, but that's little consolation.
There was no cutting edge or urgency about United's attack until the game had gone, while Paul Pogba put in another anonymous performance and Chris Smalling's display was laughable.
Manager rating out of 10
5 -- Mourinho persists with a 4-2-3-1 formation but it's not working. Why would you need six defensive players against Newcastle? That said, the manager can't take responsibility for his players failing to take easy chances.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK David de Gea, 6 -- Made a great stop to deny Shelvey and didn't have anything else to do; he had no chance with the goal.
DF Antonio Valencia, 5 -- Got forward often enough but didn't add anything of value to the attack. Not called upon often in defence.
DF Chris Smalling, 2 -- Should have conceded a penalty in the first half and gave away the free kick -- for diving! -- from which Newcastle took the lead. He surely won't still be at the club next season.
DF Phil Jones, 5 -- Made an important and brave block to deny Shelvey but could not do anything to prevent Newcastle's winner.
DF Ashley Young, 5 -- Sloppy in possession at times but forced a decent save from goalkeeper Martin Dubravka with a powerful shot.
MF Nemanja Matic, 5 -- Played a fantastic ball to Martial that should have set up a goal. Confusion between Matic and Pogba over marking led to Newcastle's goal.
MF Paul Pogba, 4 -- Another anonymous performance; Mourinho isn't using him properly but that still doesn't excuse going missing in the way he did.
FW Anthony Martial, 4 -- Had an excellent opportunity to put United in front but fluffed it, then couldn't make the contact he needed with a free header. He was also twice denied by goal line stops.
FW Jesse Lingard, 5 -- Had United's first shot on target and was lively as usual but had little decisive impact on the game.
FW Alexis Sanchez, 6 -- Got behind the defence on a few occasions and could have claimed an assist when heading into Romelu Lukaku's path. Showed great skill to move between defenders and could also have won a penalty.
FW Romelu Lukaku, 5 -- Delivered a perfect cross to Martial that should have resulted in a goal and played in Sanchez, who delayed his shot. It was a similar story when Lukaku had his best chance of the game.
MF Juan Mata, 5 -- Replaced Lingard and could have set up a late equaliser with a low cross.
MF Michael Carrick, 5 -- Replaced Pogba in his first league game of the season but was no better than the French international. Had a late chance saved.
MF Scott McTominay, NR -- Replaced Matic and burst in to the box in the last minute but was denied.
Scott is one of ESPN FC's Manchester United bloggers. Follow him on Twitter: @R_o_M.