Manchester United faced Newcastle in the Premier League, and here are the key talking points from the 0-0 draw.
United is reminded of their transfer regret.
Manchester United considered signing Kieran Trippier last year, and for many fans, he may still represent a missed opportunity. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wanted to bring in some competition for Aaron Wan-Bissaka at right-back, but United was unwilling to pay the fees demanded by Atletico Madrid. After Solskjaer was fired, interest waned, and Trippier, who was born in Bury, relocated to the North East rather than the North West.
Erik ten Hag resisted the temptation to strengthen the position this summer and instead found an alternative in the form of Diogo Dalot. The Portuguese started the season in fine form, but in recent weeks his performance level has dwindled, perhaps as a result of the intense workload he’s been handed, given he has started every match this season.
Just like Wan-Bissaka in his first season, Dalot is in danger of burnout, and even if he stays fit, there are genuine questions about his long-term suitability for Ten Hag’s side given his recent dip in form.
The Portuguese struggled against Newcastle on Sunday afternoon, while on the other side Trippier impressed once again. No player has created more chances from set plays in the Premier League this season than him this season, while the England full-back has also played more passes into the box than any other player this term.
In the long-term pursuit of controlling matches, they could do with a right-back as creative and composed as Trippier.
De Gea’s distribution is a problem
On the eve of the match, David de Gea was talking up his long-term future at the club and entertained the possibility of a new contract, though, by the end of it the same questions about his suitability to the side remained.
He is still arguably the best shot-stopping ‘keeper in the Premier League but just as obvious as those qualities are his flaws, with the Spaniard still an awkward fit in a side that is eager to transform into a confident ball-playing side.
De Gea was guilty of more wayward passing against Newcastle and showed signs of that horrendous Brentford performance when he played a hospital pass straight to Fred on the edge of the box, who immediately lost possession and conceded a shot at goal.
The 31-year-old is quite clearly the first choice for the rest of the campaign but if Ten Hag wants to take United to the next level then he needs to make some ruthless calls.
Once again Ronaldo looked lost in front of the goal, dropping deep and drifting wide to get on the ball rather than lurking in the box as he struggles to adapt to Ten Hag’s demands.
Marcus Rashford’s introduction gave United a late spark in the forward line but even when he had two chances he squandered them both. He did brilliantly beat the offside trap and round Nick Pope, but rather than shoot he cut back to Fred who sliced wide.