Robert Elliot

Man United 4-1 Newcastle: Pogba’s star (re)turn

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  • Red Devils fall behind early
  • Pogba’s return: goal, assist
  • Gayle’s goal, Yedlin’s assist
  • Martial, Smalling flip the score before HT

It was like Paul Pogba hadn’t been away for even one day of the last 10 weeks, as the French superstar returned from a hamstring injury and inspire Manchester United’s 4-1 victory over Newcastle United at Old Trafford on Sunday.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Zlatan Ibrahimovic also returned from the torn ACL he suffered in April, making his first appearance in seven months — two months ahead of schedule — as a 77th-minute substitute.

Saturday’s rout wasn’t always straightforward and easy for Man United, as the final score might deceive.

Newcastle struck first in an action-packed, goal-filled first half. U.S. national team right back DeAndre Yedlin tallied his first assist of the PL season, as he sped to the end line and cut a low cross toward the penalty spot, finding the late-arriving Dwight Gayle for a gentle finish

The lead lasted 23 minutes, until Pogba marked his return to action with a delightful assist for Anthony Martial‘s equalizer. Pogba danced past Isaac Hayden, raced toward the end line and floated a delicate ball to the back post, where his compatriot headed home.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Right on the stroke of halftime, United went 2-1 up after Chris Smalling headed home Ashley Young‘s lofted cross to the back post. Smalling remained forward after a short corner Young acres of space to pick his head up and hit the right ball.

United required only nine minutes to double their lead, and it was Pogba, once again proving his worth to the side, who got the goal. Romelu Lukaku floated a cross to Marcus Rashford at the back post, and Rashford’s cushioned header dropped the ball into no-man’s land. Pogba reacted quickest. 3-1. Pogba’s back, and so is United’s swagger.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Seconds after Pogba was subbed — without incident — Lukaku pounced on Florian Lejeune‘s botched clearance inside his own penalty area and slammed a left-footed shot past Robert Elliot.

As exciting as the performance and result were, it was only enough to keep United on pace — eight points back — with Premier League leaders Manchester City, who also won on Saturday.

Sunderland 3-0 Newcastle: Black Cats win 6th straight Tyne-Wear derby

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There are no more winless teams in the Premier League this season. Sunderland used a controversial red card to their advantage, winning 3-0 over heated rivals Newcastle United at the Stadium of Light for their first victory of the year and sixth straight over Newcastle, a first in this hotly contested fixture.

Newcastle, on the heels of last week’s blistering win, started on the front foot, earning a trio of corners in the opening five minutes. Captain Fabricio Coloccini had a difficult chance saved by Costel Pantilimon in just the third minute, while Aleksandar Mitrovic looked dangerous, with a headed attempt saved on 10 minutes and teeing up last week’s hero Giorginio Wijnaldum for an effort on target in the 16th minute.

[ MORE: Watch full match replays ]

American youngster DeAndre Yedlin was a positive for Sunderland, but they struggled to deal with Newcastle’s attack down the Magpies right flank. Newcastle’s physical midfield play earned Chieck Tiote an early yellow card in the 14th minute.

Newcastle continued to push forward and hold the ball, and Sunderland had to deal with an injury as Ola Toivonen aggravated a groin injury and had to come off, forcing Jermain Defoe into the match after the half-hour mark. Just moments after that change, John O'Shea pulled up lame with an apparent hamstring injury, bringing on Sebastian Coates and burning Sam Allardyce‘s second substitution.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

The match’s turning point occurred in stoppage time just before the halftime break. On the break, Steven Fletcher was bumped to the ground by Coloccini in the box, and referee Robert Madley pointed to the spot. Then, he sent Coloccini off for denying a clear goalscoring opportunity, a highly controversial decision given goalkeeper Robert Elliott had scooped up the ball as the foul occurred.

Adam Johnson stepped up and buried the penalty, causing the Stadium of Light to roar in delight at the stroke of halftime.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Newcastle fought well a man down in the second half, and had a massive opportunity to draw level on 55 minutes as Mitrovic stepped past Yedlin to get one-on-one with Pantilimon, but was beaten by the goalkeeper as his shot couldn’t find the gaping net.

They’d rue the miss as Sunderland went 2-0 ahead to put the game away. The Cats’ first corner in the 65th minute floated across the box to Yann M'Vila who expertly volleyed a shot that squirted through bodies to the far post. Billy Jones was there to tap in the effort and make sure it went in the net.

[ MORE: Click here for full lineups, stats, box score

It was all Sunderland from there behind the home supporters. Adam Johnson nearly scored a blinder but his curling shot clattered the corner of the woodwork. On the break with five minutes remaining, Sunderland picked up an extra for good measure as Younes Kaboul found Steven Fletcher for a quality volleyed finish.

The Black Cats win pulls them level with Newcastle on six points, and while they both remain in the relegation zone, each are just two points from escape.

Watch Live: Newcastle United vs Norwich City (Lineups & Live Stream)

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There has been plenty of difficulty for Newcastle fans the past few seasons, but nothing like this.

Already bottom of the table, the Magpies have lost goalkeeper Tim Krul for the season to an ACL tear, and must move forward with Robert Elliot and young Freddie Woodman at the position as they look to recover from a winless first eight matches.

Their best chance yet to pick up this season’s first win comes at home against newly promoted Norwich City, live on NBCSN at 11:00 a.m. ET or live online at NBC Sports Live Extra.

There is some good injury news for Toon manager Steve McClaren. Jack Colback, Paul Dummett, and Daryl Janmaat have all returned from injury to make the starting lineup, while Massadio Haidara is fit enough to make the bench.

WATCH LIVE: Newcastle United vs. Norwich City live online at NBC Sports Live Extra

Norwich sits in slightly better shape, out of the relegation zone with nine points through the first eight matches. However, without a win since early September, that pace likely needs to pick up should the Canaries wish to feel safe about next season through the second half of the campaign.

On-loan striker Dieumerci Mbokani will start up front for Norwich with the struggling Cameron Jerome on the bench and Gary Hooper still recovering from an ankle injury. The Congolese frontman scored off the bench in the 2-1 loss to Leicester City before the international break.

LINEUPS

Newcastle: Elliot, Janmaat, Mbemba, Coloccini, Dummett, Sissoko, Tiote, Colback, Wijnaldum, Perez, Mitrovic.
Subs: Woodman, Lascelles, Haidara, Anita, Thauvin, De Jong, Cisse.

Norwich: Ruddy; Whittaker, Martin, Bassong, Olsson; Redmond, Dorrans, Tettey, Brady; Howson; Mbokani.
Subs: 
Rudd, Wisdom, Jerome, Hoolahan, Jarvis, R Bennett, O’Neil.