4 main takeaways from Amad Diallo-inspired Man Utd win

  • Manchester United beat Newcastle 3-2 at Old Trafford on Wednesday night
  • The Red Devils can still finish in top seven ahead of Magpies
  • Analysis from entertaining evening at Old Trafford
Amad scored in Man Utd's victory
Amad scored in Man Utd's victory / Stu Forster/GettyImages

Manchester United ensured they could still record a top-seven finish this season with a 3-2 win at home to Newcastle on Wednesday.

The Red Devils have never finished as low as eighth in the Premier League era, but will leapfrog the Magpies into seventh if they better their result on the final day.

Kobbie Mainoo put United ahead in the first half before Anthony Gordon equalised just after half-time. Amad Diallo fired the hosts back in front and Rasmus Hojlund added a third after coming off the bench, though a late piledriver from Lewis Hall set up a nervy finish.

But United and Newcastle are now locked on points with just one round of fixtures remaining. Here's what we learned from their meeting at Old Trafford.

Why the hell did it take so long to trust Amad Diallo?

Amad Diallo
Amad shone on another rare start / Visionhaus/GettyImages

Amad matching Antony's Premier League tally of goal contributions all season in only one night is a hilarious narrative that's almost too obvious to point out.

Almost too obvious. If anything, it needs amplifying just because of how ludicrously awful the £82m signing has been.

Speaking post-match, Amad was rather gracious with his insistence that he had to be patient to be given a fair chance. He probably should have been booting down Erik ten Hag's door demanding more opportunities.

The 21-year-old missed the first half of the season with a knee injury and has been eased back into action, but it should not have taken this long for Ten Hag to integrate him into the starting lineup. United have sorely missed someone of Amad's fearlessness on that right wing.

Distinctions without a difference in Man Utd's tactics

Erik ten Hag
Man Utd just about won / Stu Forster/GettyImages

In fairness to United, they haven't looked as laughably vulnerable over the last few weeks. That said, they still have serious problems with conceding chances.

The gap between the defence and midfield has decreased but their innate carelessness with the ball gifted Newcastle several openings. On another day, United would have been on the end of another hammering.

They got away with it here. Whether Ten Hag will live to see many further days is another matter.

Newcastle are on the right track

Anthony Gordon
Gordon grabbed Newcastle's equaliser / James Gill - Danehouse/GettyImages

United's injury crisis this season has been well documented because of how huge a club they are. Newcastle, on the other hand, have not received such coverage.

But Eddie Howe has managed to steady the ship again up at St James' Park and his side remain one of the best attacking teams in the country - their total of 81 goals is the best outside of the Premier League's top three and they should have added more to that tally at Old Trafford.

With a frontline spearheaded by Alexander Isak and Anthony Gordon, the Magpies should feel confident about their chances of kicking on next season, even if they lose Bruno Guimaraes.

Erik ten Hag's enthusiasm remains unwavering

Erik ten Hag
"What's the deal with airline food?" / James Gill - Danehouse/GettyImages

Speculation about his uncertain future continues to rumble on, but credit to Erik ten Hag for keeping his head held high above it all, even when his team concedes shots at a staggering rate.

After the final whistle, Ten Hag grabbed a microphone and gave an impassioned speech to the Old Trafford crowd, thanking them for their support through an admittedly rough campaign.

You sense the Dutchman is desperate to right the wrongs of his second season and improve United's trajectory again. He may not get that opportunity, but if Ten Hag does depart, he won't leave as a villain in the eyes of the fans.

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