Kane goes AWOL, Nuno flounders as Arsenal pass banter baton to Spurs – The Warm-Up

MONDAY’S BIG HEADLINES

Derby disaster for Spurs

Sometimes in sport you can sense moments which possess an undeniable gravity, as though history is being written in the moment and the tectonic plates of destiny are shifting. Roger Federer beating Pete Sampras at Wimbledon in 2001; David Beckham’s goal from the halfway line against Wimbledon; you know the type.

Premier League

Nuno: Kane and Spurs must move on from the summer

21/09/2021 AT 17:17

Yesterday’s match at the Emirates wasn’t quite that, but it was still highly symbolic. If you looked closely enough at full-time you might just have seen the banter baton passed between a jubilant Arsenal and a devastated Tottenham.

It was only 16 days since Nuno Espirito Santo had been named manager of the month after Spurs recorded three straight wins in their opening games of the season; 16 days since Arsenal had lost three in a row to sit bottom of the table in abject misery. And yet on Sunday, it was Spurs succumbing to the kind of catastrophic self-own that Arsenal have trademarked in recent years, even allowing the red half of North London to sneak ahead of them in the table.

Even in a country which is considering sending in the army to control panic buying at petrol pumps, this was an exceptionally silly outcome.

Yes, Arsenal were fantastic as they enjoyed arguably their best performance under Mikel Arteta. Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka continue to be the purest distillation of joy – a fact recognised in what The Warm-Up is officially recording as the cutest moment in Premier League history.

Though Arsenal’s summer transfer activity was heavily mocked – and, let’s be honest with this club, may yet prove to be a terrible misstep – Aaron Ramsdale and Takehiro Tomiyasu both excelled in their first North London derby.

Process = trusted.

And yet you couldn’t really escape the fact that the story here was really Spurs. As Jermaine Jenas put it on Match of the Day 2, it was like, “watching a team who didn’t have a clue what they were doing, and that falls on the manager.”

Nuno’s willingness to accept this was indeed on him in his post-match press conference only underlined the sinking feeling that, with his innately conservative nature, maybe he isn’t the right guy to give Spurs what they need as they try to recover from a near-fatal dose of Jose. “I’m going to be honest. When you have a gameplan you have to make the right decisions in terms of who you want to put on the pitch to develop that gameplan,” he said. “I take responsibility because the decisions were not right according to the gameplan. I won’t name individuals but the gameplan was not right according to the players who were on the pitch.”

And once again, the player really struggling most of all was Harry Kane. Maybe it is the system, but The Warm-Up couldn’t help but feel Martin Tyler’s take was rather generous when he said Kane was such a good professional that a failure to secure a move to Manchester City this summer wouldn’t impact on his performances.

Kane played like he was daydreaming about the service he’d get from Kevin de Bruyne, whether Phil Foden’s dog is really called Carabao or precisely how much money there is in Abu Dhabi. This was a truly abject performance. Kane was missing in action for large swathes of the game, and when he did pop his head up he inadvertently contributed to an Arsenal goal, or did this:

Arsenal’s rejuvenation shows how quickly things can change in football but at present, Tottenham’s decision to refuse to sell Kane to Spurs looks just as bad a strategic move as entrusting Nuno with the reins. Both decisions are unravelling in real time. And didn’t Arsenal just love it.

Jimenez back on the scoresheet…

Nuno’s former team opened proceedings on Super Sunday and ladled on an emotional high that was impossible to top as Raul Jimenez scored his first goal since his emergency brain surgery last year.

The striker still bears the legacy of that sickening moment with the headguard he has to wear in matches but he was all sparkling feet as he fashioned a brilliant strike for a 1-0 win over Southampton.

The fact this was his first goal in 336 days meant basically everything else which happened in the match bled into insignificance. A man put on this earth to score goals is back doing what he does best.

“I knew the goal was coming, I was fighting for it, working for it and all the team deserve it,” Jiménez said.

I was thinking: ‘When will the goal come?’ It felt really good. Four of our five games have been incredible; we need to keep going. The fans are always with us, supporting. It is really important for our team.

… and so is Ansu Fati

Ansu Fati

Image credit: Getty Images

Going one better than Jimenez was Barcelona’s Ansu Fati, who scored his first goal in 337 days in a quite remarkable comeback performance following 10 months out with a serious knee injury.

Fati came off the bench to score the third in a 3-0 win over Levante, proving that all Barcelona need to stay in one piece is a preternaturally talented young forward wearing the No. 10 shirt who is happy to bear responsibility for the hopes and dreams of an entire region of Spain.

In the time since Fati picked up his injury and returned to first-team football, Barcelona have managed to become the biggest joke in football, seeing their greatest ever player depart on a free transfer because they weren’t allowed to register him and instead recruiting Luuk de Jong, scorer of zero goals during a loan spell at Newcastle.

The goings on at Camp Nou would shame a troupe of trainee clowns, but as well as bringing some football expertise to proceedings, Fati also seems to be ready to reassert some fundamentals which have been sorely lacking.

“We are Barca and we have to aim to win everything – La Liga, Champions League, all the competitions,” Fati said. “We have to fight and work for that.”

IN OTHER NEWS

The Warm-Up loves Bruno Fernandes. No-nonsense is a term you’d usually apply to a centre-back who likes kicking people into the stands, but he’s a true no-nonsense forward: just get the ball and either try and score or set someone else up to score. No frills, just action.

So it was rather sad to see he felt compelled to offer a lengthy apology on social media for the apparent crime of missing a penalty in Manchester United’s 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa on Saturday.

Like, don’t worry mate, you just kicked a ball about 20cm too high. What this probably does demonstrate is the pressure which comes if you’ve been given penalty duties ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo. A problem that Bruno probably won’t have to worry about any more.

IN THE CHANNELS

If you missed it on Saturday, Paolo Maldini’s son scored his first goal for AC Milan….

RETRO CORNER

Re-living a night when Tottenham did show a fight at the Emirates, here’s that famous 4-4 draw in October 2008, featuring a frankly ridiculous long-ranger from David Bentley.

COMING UP

It’s the M23 derby tonight where *checks notes* the mighty Brighton can go top of the table if they can beat rivals Crystal Palace.

A delighted Ben Snowball is compiling more happy thoughts about Tottenham for Tuesday’s Warm-Up

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Round-up: Leeds fall into bottom three after Antonio strikes late, Everton go fifth

Michail Antonio scored a 90th-minute winner as West Ham climbed up to seventh in the Premier League table with a 2-1 triumph over Leeds, who drop into the bottom three.

A stunning first-half opener from Raphinha had looked to give Marcelo Bielsa’s side a first league win of the season, but the Hammers rallied with two goals in just over 20 minutes. Jarrod Bowen’s shot was deflected into his own net by Junior Firpo and in stoppage-time, Antonio snatched all three points for David Moyes’ men with his first ever goal against the Yorkshire club.

Meanwhile, Leicester are without a win in three league games as they came from behind twice to earn a share of the spoils in a 2-2 draw with Burnley at the King Power Stadium.

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A Jamie Vardy own goal handed the Clarets the initiative in the 12th minute, before the former England striker put the ball in the right end to level. However, a scorcher from new boy Maxwell Cornet restored Burnley’s lead before the break, before Vardy struck a leveller with just minutes remaining.

There was late drama as Chris Wood scored what looked like would be a late winner, but VAR ruled the goal out.

Leicester are 12th, while Burnley are in 19th.

Everton are up to fifth with a comfortable 2-0 win over Norwich, who remain bottom without a point.

Andros Townsend netted from the penalty spot in the 29th-minute to give Everton the breakthrough and after the restart Abdoulaye Doucoure made sure of the points, as the Toffees inflicted a sixth straight defeat on the Canaries.

Newcastle remain winless but just out of the drop zone in 17th after they played out a 1-1 draw with Watford at Vicarage Road.

Sean Longstaff’s 23rd-minute opener was cancelled out by Ismail Sarr, as the Hornets moved into 11th.

Earlier in the day, Gabriel Jesus scored the decisive goal as Manchester City edged Chelsea 1-0, while Kortney Hause grabbed an 88th-minute winner as Aston Villa beat Manchester United for the first time since December 2009.

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Premier League to resume on Boxing Day in 2022 after six-week World Cup break

The Premier League will break for six weeks to incorporate the 2022 Qatar World Cup, and will resume on Boxing Day.

FIFA has decided to break from the tradition of a summer tournament on account of the high temperatures in the region during the summer months.

Conditions are more favourable in the winter months, and the 2022 World Cup will get underway on November 21.

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The World Cup will be in the middle of the season for most European competitions, and Sky Sports News say the Premier League will break on November 12 – giving players nine days of preparation time.

Should England make it all the way to the final in Qatar, which is slated to take place on December 18 – players will only have eight days of recovery before the Premier League gets back underway on December 26.

According to Sky Sports “executives of all 20 Premier League clubs were in London on Wednesday for a scheduled meeting, and the programme for 2022/23 was decided in discussions that lasted approximately four hours and also included a number of other issues.”

Aston Villa chief executive Christian Purslow has labelled the winter World Cup “crazy” saying it robs fans of Premier League football for a key period in the calendar.

“Next season when we play in an equally crazy idea, which is a winter World Cup,” Purslow said. “We won’t see any Premier League football at the peak of our season between November and December, which is something that people are going to have to get used to.

“I always have concerns about player welfare but I have more concerns for our fans missing Premier League football in the winter for five weeks, which is our great national tradition and our great national heritage.”

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Pilotprojekt: Nach über 25 Jahren wieder Stehplätze in englischen Stadien

Englische Fußballvereine dürfen unter bestimmten Voraussetzungen ab dem 1. Januar 2022 wieder eine begrenzte Anzahl an Stehplätzen im Stadion anbieten.

Zurück zu den Stehplätzen? Eine "Safe standing"-Tribüne an der Stamford Bridge.

Zurück zu den Stehplätzen? Eine “Safe standing”-Tribüne an der Stamford Bridge.

imago images/Shutterstock

Ab dem 1. Januar 2022 dürfen die englischen Premier-League- sowie Championship-Klubs wieder eine begrenzte Anzahl an Stehplätzen im Stadion anbieten. Dieser Schritt ist Teil eines Pilotprojekts, wie die Sports Grounds Safety Authority (SGSA) am Mittwoch bekanntgab. 

Voraussetzung ist, dass Zuschauer weiterhin die Möglichkeit haben, sich im Stehplatzbereich zu setzen. Somit werden Klappsitze benötigt, außerdem dürfen die Plätze nicht die Sicht anderer Fans, etwa im Rollstuhl sitzender, einschränken. Bewerben können sich die Vereine bis zum 6. Oktober – die Lizenz, sofern erteilt, gilt für einen festgelegten Bereich sowie zunächst nur bis zum Saisonende.

“Wir wollen mit Fans und Vereinen zusammenarbeiten und für sichere Stehplätze sorgen”, sagte der britische Sportminister Nigel Huddlestone. Die Sports Ground Safety Authority (SGSA) werde das Projekt begleiten und ergebnisoffen bewerten.

In der Fanszene wurde der Plan begrüßt. “Damit könnte unsere Kampagne für sichere Stehplätze in den Stadien nach mehr als 30 Jahren zu Ende gehen. Es ist eine lange Tradition, dass Fans zwischen Sitz- und Stehplätzen auswählen können. Auch die Atmosphäre wird sich verbessern”, hieß es in einer offiziellen Erklärung der Football Supporters’ Association (FSA).

Infolge der Hillsborough-Katastrophe von 1989 sind Stehplätze in britischen Stadien seit 1994 verboten. Über eine Wiedereinführung wird bereits seit Jahren diskutiert. Vor allem bei den Hinterbliebenen-Verbänden sind die Bedenken groß.

kon/dpa/sid

Opinion: Newcastle need to find a support cast for Allan Saint-Maximin

For many, the words love affair and Steve Bruce do not belong in the same sentence.

For Bruce, love is possibly the one thing standing between him and the exit door at Newcastle.

Allan Saint-Maximin delivered another breathtaking performance, with the Frenchman’s brilliant goal and all-round effort earning the Magpies a point at home to Leeds United. He was the one bright spot, but it was not enough to drown out the “Bruce Out!” chants at St James’ Park on Friday night.

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The Magpies faithful may have been fuelled by what is on offer at some of the Quayside’s finest establishments, but the discontent has been growing for some time.

Saint-Maximin appears to be the one man standing between Bruce’s Newcastle and an extremely bleak winter.

“To be honest, I really love Steve Bruce because he gives me a chance to show my quality in the Premier League with Newcastle,” Saint-Maximin told Sky Sports. “I know for every manager it’s difficult. Sometimes you have a good time, sometimes you have a bad time but we are together and we have to stay together.”

Love only goes so far. The Frenchman will need strength as well, given he is carrying a poor Newcastle side.

With Callum Wilson struggling with injuries, Saint-Maximin has scant support in the attacking third.

Joelinton’s agent is still rubbing his hands with glee after Newcastle were minded to pay £40 million for the Brazilian. Adaptation can no longer be offered up as an excuse for his shortcomings, which were on show against Leeds. For a strapping individual, he is too easily shrugged off the ball and his finishing is woeful. That’s not a great mix for a centre forward.

Miguel Almiron would run through a brick wall if Bruce asked him to, but he’d almost certainly emerge on the other side of the wall having tripped over the ball.

Miguel Almiron reacts after missing a penalty for Newcastle vs Burnley, Carabao Cup, St James’ Park, Newcastle, August 25, 2021

Image credit: Getty Images

Joe Willock possesses quality and has a capacity to get into the box from midfield, but there is little else for Magpies fans to cling to.

Bruce is well aware of his side’s shortcomings, and has been following a blueprint of keeping things tight at the back and eking out results. Opposition teams are wise to it now, and the 22 shots from Leeds suggests the Magpies are far too porous to pull off that trick again.

In the previous couple of seasons, there were teams that had more shortcomings than Newcastle. In the current campaign, it’s not obvious – possibly Norwich aside – who those sides are.

The onus really is on Saint-Maximin. He arrived on Tyneside with a repertoire of tricks, but a lack of substance. Stepovers and slaloming runs got the fans out of their seats, but there was a concern about his end product.

Saint-Maximin celebrates his equaliser

Image credit: Getty Images

In the past 12 months, the Frenchman has begun to deliver on the latter – and clearly relishes the freedom Bruce affords him.

He has affection for his manager and has taken to life on Tyneside, but at some stage he will look around him and wonder if love is enough.

Owner Mike Ashley has no desire to dip into his vast wealth to strengthen Bruce’s options, to be fair he did write a cheque for £40m for Joelinton so it’s tough to blame him on that score, and takeover talk has gone quiet.

The fear for Magpies supporters is if Ashley begins to feel Saint-Maximin’s stock is about to peak and opts to cash in.

A Newcastle without Saint-Maximin does not bear thinking about for Bruce and Magpies fans, but it could become a reality if a suitable support cast is not found.

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'Keep your dignity' – Bruce accepts 'frustrations' as winless run continues

Steve Bruce says he can understand the frustration from Newcastle supporters with the club yet to win a game this season following their draw with Leeds.

A fine Allan Saint-Maximin strike cancelled out Raphinha’s opener in a thrilling 1-1 draw under the lights at St James’ Park, but that did not stop the boos from the home fans at the final whistle.

The result means Newcastle remain in the relegation zone in 18th on two points after five games.

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Speaking after the draw, the Newcastle boss says his side played a great game and that the pressure to win games comes with the job.

“That’s the big thing about the Premier League,” he told Sky Sports.

“Whether you’re at the top or the bottom. You have to accept when you don’t win a game you come under pressure.

“How you handle it, keep your dignity, do what you think is best and stick with it. The way they have gone about their work today, it could have gone either way but it was a great football match.”

He added: “I can understand frustrations. I get that. The atmosphere they created makes the spectacle. They are unique and the way they got behind the team was the most important thing and I’m very pleased about that.”

Karl Darlow made his long-awaited return to the Newcastle starting lineup after battling with long Covid. The goalkeeper says the club have to produce results to get the club’s supporters back onside.

“These fans can be the best in the world,” he said.

“We need to get them back on board and our performances need to improve to get them on board.”

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Saint-Maximin brilliance only enough for a point as Newcastle held by Leeds

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Carragher: Newcastle unrest leaks 'an absolute disgrace'

Jamie Carragher says Newcastle players leaking stories to the press criticising manager Steve Bruce and his tactics are “an absolute disgrace”.

The Daily Mail reported on Thursday that there is widespread unrest amongst the Newcastle senior and U23s squad with the club’s manager Steve Bruce and members of his coaching staff.

Carragher has criticised the players who have leaked information from inside the Newcastle dressing room to the media and has labelled those responsible “an absolute disgrace”.

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“The players have gone under the radar,” he told Sky Sports ahead of Newcastle’s Premier League League clash against Leeds on Friday.

“What l read this morning in a newspaper article, which is obviously coming from some of the players in the dressing room on the morning of a game as big as this, was an absolute disgrace.

“Steve Bruce will get the criticism, but some of these people need to look at themselves. That’s not just in terms of performance, that’s in terms of feeding stories about the manager. That is not right. It is a disgrace.”

Newcastle owner Mike Ashley has owned the club since July 2007. He wants to sell the club but a takeover from a Saudi Arabian consortium collapsed in August 2020.

Newcastle fans have been protesting his ownership of the club ahead of the Leeds game. Gary Neville, who was also a pundit for the game, says Ashley has to “do the right thing” and sell Newcastle as quickly as possible.

He said: “If you are a footballer knowing you are a mistake away from it being a poor atmosphere, you are going to protect yourself. That means you are potentially going to get leaks coming out of the club, with players and agents protecting themselves, and it is a cycle of negativity.

“This club has got to be sold quickly. This club has got to change hands. Mike Ashley has to do the right thing. He has to dispose of the club and do the right thing.

“It’s easy to say ‘drop the price a bit’, but he has got a lot of money and it is not going to change his life if he loses a bit of money.

“There is real damage being done now over a long period of time.”

Even though Newcastle have had a poor start to their season, Bruce has vowed to fight on.

He told his pre-match press conference: “I’m here to only do what I think is best for the club, and that is manage it as best I can and keep us moving along.

“It’s for other people to answer that. I will continue to do my best – I’m never going to walk away from the challenge of it, that’s for sure – so you’re asking the wrong person.”

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Newcastle v Leeds – Follow LIVE

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Tickets: Barclays Premier League official site

Saint-Maximin brilliance only enough for a point as Newcastle held by Leeds

Allan Saint-Maximin equaliser cancelled out Raphinha’s opener in a thrilling 1-1 draw between Newcastle and Leeds at St James’ Park.

Raphina gave the visitors the lead with a cross that dumbfounded Karl Darlow before finding the corner, but Newcastle levelled on the stroke of half-time as Saint-Maximin’s rifled effort hit the back of the net.

The Frenchman almost doubled his tally when another powerful shot was saved brilliantly by Illan Meslier, but the two tiring sides struggled to create clear chances in the second period.

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The result means Steve Bruce and Marcelo Bielsa remain winless so far this season, with both sides languishing dangerously close to the foot of the table.

Leeds were typically electric from the off and forced Newcastle deep inside their own half, with Patrick Bamford and Raphinha seeing plenty of the ball.

And it was the Brazilian who broke the deadlock when his cross was dummied by Rodrigo, wrong footing Darlow and finding the net.

Leeds pushed for a second but Newcastle looked dangerous on the counter through the brilliant Saint-Maximin and were unlucky not to equaliser when Meslier pulled off a brilliant save to deny Joelinton.

Despite their lack of possession, the hosts threatened again as Matt Ritchie struck the post, and they finally had their equaliser as Saint-Maximin dummied his way into space on the edge of the box before lashing past Meslier.

Saint-Maximin almost had another in the second half but his powerful effort was saved by the fingertips of Meslier. And at the other end, the near-anonymous Patrick Bamford almost notched but his low shot was straight down the throat of a grateful Darlow.

With both sides tiring, a draw looked a fair result following a chaotic match where either side could have taken three points.

MAN OF THE MATCH – SAINT-MAXIMIN

Allan Saint-Maximin was at his scintillating best as he almost single-handedly dragged Newcastle to three points. He was a constant menace all night despite playing largely on his own up top, with the Newcastle forward line either absent or unable to keep up with his rapid counter-attacks. Scored a great goal and was denied a second only by some great goalkeeping.

TALKING POINT – Bielsa and Bruce remain winless

Newcastle and Leeds remain dangerously close to the foot of the table after sharing the points tonight.

Leeds´ relentless pressing is not reaping the same rewards as last season while Newcastle look blunt up front, and may remain so until the return of Callum Wilson.

Of course, it´s early days, but both sides have cause for concerns as they approach October without a win.

PLAYER RATINGS

Newcastle: Darlow 8, Manquillo 7, Hayden 6, Lascelles 7,Clark 6, Ritchie 7, S. Longstaff 6, Willock 6, Almiron 6, Joelinton 5, Saint-Maximin 8. Subs. Fraser 5, Krafth 6,

Leeds: Meslier 8, Ayling 7, Cooper 7, Firpo 6, Dallas 6, Phillips 7, Klich 6, James 5, Raphinha 8, Rodrigo 4, Bamford 5. Subs. Roberts 5, Summerville 6, Shackleton n/a

KEY MOMENTS

13´ – GOAL! NEWCASTLE 0 LEEDS 1 (Raphinha). What a goal! Raphinha whips a brilliant ball into the box and Rodrigo completely dumbfounds the keeper by missing his flick, leaving the ball to fly into the corner of the net. An accidental dummy that has paid off and Raphinha wheels off to celebrate a 30 yard goal.

44´ – GOAL! NEWCASTLE 1 LEEDS 1 (Saint-Maximin). Brilliant! Joelinton is down the left and picks out Saint-Maximin in the middle outside the box. The Englishman dummies his way past three Leeds defenders before finally pulling the trigger, rifling the ball into the corner past Meslier.

45+4´ – CHAOS! Wow. Leads counter and first Raphinha is one on one with the keeper, taking too long before whacking a shot right at Darlow. Then, Junior has the same opportunity on the other side of the goal, but skies his effort a million miles over. Hugh waste. Leeds should be back ahead.

60´ – WHAT A SAVE! Saint-Maximin should have a second! His first effort is blocked and falls kindly back to the forward whose belting effort is tipped wide by Meslier.

KEY STAT

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Opinion: Benefit and detriment of Ronaldo signing clear in Man Utd win

This was Cristiano Ronaldo’s day. Even before the 36-year-old took to the pitch for his second Manchester United debut, the sight of thousands of fans in ‘Ronaldo 7’ shirts flooding Old Trafford gave a clear indication of the occasion which the man himself marked with a double in a 3-1 win over Newcastle United.

On the basis of the scoreline alone, Ronaldo’s impact was instant. He gave Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s cutting edge and provided the firepower required to make it three wins from four games with United now top of the Premier League table after Tottenham Hotspur’s defeat to Crystal Palace earlier on the same day.

If, however, the benefit of Ronaldo’s return to Manchester United was evident, so too was the detriment. This was another match that largely followed the pattern established over the early part of the season with United lacking control in the centre of the pitch. A better team than Newcastle would have pushed them harder.

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Ronaldo wasn’t the signing United needed in the final few days of the summer transfer window. They needed a midfield anchor more than they needed another attacker, with Solskjaer’s squad now top-heavy. Against limited opponents like Newcastle, Ronaldo might mask this deficiency, but there were still warning signs in the performance.

Javier Manquillo’s equaliser to make it 1-1 at Old Trafford exposed the structural weakness in this United team, with the hosts caught out on the counter attack. It was simply too easy for Newcastle to get out from the back – it was a similar story against Southampton and Wolves.

Solskjaer has demonstrated a willingness to shift his United team into a 4-3-3 formation this season with Nemanja Matic deployed at the base of the midfield against Newcastle. Against Wolves, it was Fred who was asked to protect the back four and start attacking moves from deep.

However, neither Fred nor Matic cover enough ground to make this system work. What’s more, the pair are prone to conceding possession when faced with a high press, something that frequently leaves United high and dry with so many attack-minded players on the pitch.

Of course, this was a problem before Ronaldo secured a surprise return to the Premier League, but with the 36-year-old likely to replace Edinson Cavani in Solskjaer’s favoured XI, United’s deficiencies have been exacerbated further – Ronaldo doesn’t press from the front like Cavani does.

Some United players were also guilty of looking for Ronaldo one too many times against Newcastle. While the Portuguese international has been signed to be an attacking apex, the likes of Mason Greenwood and Jadon Sancho must trust their own instincts in the final third. Solskjaer needs productivity from all of his attackers. Their role mustn’t be to merely provide Ronaldo with five-yard passes into feet no matter his position.

With the points safe and secure after Fernandes’ stunning strike at 3-1, the sight of Solskjaer asking Ronaldo if he wanted to come off hinted at a power shift in the Old Trafford dressing room. Will Solskjaer have the authority to truly control the Portuguese forward? What will happen when Ronaldo, never one to hide his feelings, disagrees with a managerial decision?

Victory over Newcastle United proved what we already knew about this Manchester United team – that they have the firepower to blow away weaker opponents. The signing of Ronaldo, and the immediate impact he has made, will embolden Solskjaer and his players as they plot a title challenge.

But Solskjaer mustn’t ignore the nuances of the performance his team produced. Ronaldo’s signing has strengthened Manchester United, but in an area they were already strong in. Their weaknesses remain the same and Ronaldo might just have added some new ones too.

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