Manchester United 4 -1 Newcastle United: Martial helps Red Devils get in the festive spirit

Newcastle United held an early lead at OId Trafford but were soundly beaten in the end, going down 4-1 to Manchester United.

Manchester United return to winning ways as Anthony Martial scored twice in a 4-1 triumph over a generous Newcastle United side at Old Trafford.

Having lost 2-0 to then-bottom Watford last time out, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side appeared to be suffering a Christmas hangover when they fell behind to Matty Longstaff's 17th-minute opener on Boxing Day.

Manchester United's defence had been given an early reprieve when Dwight Gayle carelessly blazed over when clean through, but Longstaff – scorer of the only goal in the reverse fixture back in early October – made them pay, collecting Joelinton's layoff before angling a low shot beyond David de Gea.

However, any thoughts Steve Bruce may have harboured of completing a league double over his former club had disappeared by half-time.

Martial drew the home side level when his low first-time shot from Andreas Pereira's cushioned pass crept in at the near post, the ball squeezing beyond Martin Dubravka to reach the net.

Newcastle then gifted the hosts a second, their attempts to play their way out of trouble only seeing Fabian Schar play a pass straight across his own penalty area to Mason Greenwood, who let loose a thumping left-footed drive that flashed beyond Dubravka with the aid of a slight deflection.

Marcus Rashford climbed above Schar to head home Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s inviting cross and make it 3-1 by the interval, while Martial added a fourth when converting a one-on-one opportunity early in the second half.

The Frenchman was once again the beneficiary of a present from the visitors, played clear by Sean Longstaff's under-hit back pass. Denied a hat-trick by a post, he was withdrawn with the crowded festive fixture list in mind.

Paul Pogba continued his return from injury by playing the entire second half in what became a procession, with the emphatic result lifting Manchester United up to seventh in the table, just four points behind fourth-placed Chelsea.

 Red Devils paper over cracks

A much-needed win for Solskjaer after the embarrassing setback at Vicarage Road, though the Norwegian will be concerned at the way his team started the game.

Matty Longstaff's precise finish means Manchester United have not kept a clean sheet in the Premier League since beating Leicester City at Old Trafford back on September 14. Long-term growth will require firmer foundations than we have seen so far this season, despite the massive outlay to bring in Harry Maguire and Wan-Bissaka.

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