Allan Saint-Maximin’s seventh-minute opener had a sell-out St James’ Park rocking. And they had so many chances to win.
David de Gea kept the Magpies at bay - denying Saint-Maximin from point-blank range - before substitute half-time Edinson Cavani poked home a scrappy equaliser.
The Red Devils’ goalkeeper wasn’t done there however, as Howe’s men pushed for a winner.
As Jacob Murphy’s shot cannoned off the inside of the post, Miguel Almiron picked up the loose ball and De Gea tipped the Paraguayan effort over, which has destined for the top corner.
Joelinton: The best central midfielder in the world? Seriously though, what a performance from the Brazilian. He again ran himself into the ground but his know-how in possession was equally impressive. Rarely lost the ball. His transformation under Eddie Howe is extraordinary. Long may it continue.
Sean Longstaff: There were a few pre-match groans when Longstaff was named on the teamsheet but there can be little complaints over his performance, particularly in the first-half as he won the ball high off Raphael Varane for Saint-Maximin’s opener. Admittedly, the midfielder did tire towards the end on his first start since October 30 versus Chelsea.
Allan Saint-Maximin: So nearly the match-winner with a superb strike past David de Gea. He caused Diogo Dalot all sorts of problems down the left before becoming the central focal point of the attack after Callum Wilson’s enforced withdrawal. Really should have made it 2-0 early in the second-half, which perhaps took the shine off a really influential performance.
Cristiano Ronaldo: Jeered and booed all evening by the Newcastle fans, including the shooting drill in the warm-up. A frustrated figure throughout, as proven when he was perhaps lucky to avoid a red card for a swipe on Ryan Fraser. Fair to say he didn’t enjoy his evening on Tyneside one bit, which makes a change giving his goalscoring record against the Magpies.
David de Gea: Stopped Newcastle from getting that all-important second. Tipped a Jonjo Shelvey effort over the crossbar, kept Ryan Fraser’s near post attempt out. The best save of them all? Denying Saint-Maximin from point-blank range. Although critics will argue that the Frenchman should have scored. An unbelievable save from Almiron late on.
Edinson Cavani: The half-time substitute who denied Newcastle a deserved three points. It was a scrappy goal mind, with his initial shot from Diogo Dalot’s low delivery blocked by Jamaal Lascelles before the follow-up was poked home past the grounded Martin Dubravka.
Newcastle United: Dubravka 7; Krafth 7, Lascelles 6, Schar 7, Manquillo 7; Shelvey 7, Longstaff, 7 Joelinton 8; Fraser 7 (Almiron, 74: 7), Saint-Maximin 8;(Gayle, 83: N/A) Wilson 6. (Murphy, 34: 6)
Manchester United: De Gea 9, Dalot 7, Varane 7, Maguire 6, Telles 7; McTominay 6 (Matic, 80: N/A) Fred 6 (Cavani 45, 8) Fernandes 6, Greenwood 5 (Sancho, 45: 7) Rashford 7, Ronaldo 5.
Who do Newcastle play next?
Newcastle head to Goodison Park on Thursday night (December 30) for a reunion with Rafa Benitez’s Everton.
Everton’s Boxing Day match at Burnley due to injuries and positive COVID-19 cases in their first-team squad.