All football England was waiting for Cristiano Ronaldo’s debut in the Premier League. It became known about the return of the Portuguese to Old Trafford at the end of August, but Cristiano could make his debut for Man United for the second time in his career only on 11 September. The reason is the pause for the national team matches. During it, Ronaldo scored the 111th goal for the national team of Portugal and became the top scorer in history at the national team level.
Cristiano left the location of the national team early to have time to sit out quarantine and prepare for the Premier League 4th round match with Newcastle. A few days before the game, he gave the first press conference, at which he stated:
That this is a chance for him and the club to take a step forward.
He did not come to rest and will be a crucial player of Manchester United in the next 3-4 years.
That will put pressure on Solskjaer to release him against Newcastle.
The day before the game, Ole Gunnar announced Cristiano’s debut.
Newcastle entered Old Trafford in an ultra-closed 5-3-2 formation with little room for opponents. Manchester United came out in the usual 4-2-3-1 formation. Cristiano Ronaldo took place at the forefront of the attack (Cavani had not yet returned from the Uruguay national team), and another newcomer of the Mancunians, Jadon Sancho, entered the midfield from the left. Raphael Varane also appeared in the starting lineup.
From the first minutes, Ronaldo played the role of a classic striker – he opened up for passes from Bruno and Pogba’s depths and pulled himself to the ball, helping his partners play combinations at someone else’s penalty area.
In the 9th minute, Cristiano missed the ball after Fernandes’ pass, and after 2 minutes, he went to his favorite left flank, from where he beat two opponents and shot on goal – the ball hit the net from the outside.
Closer to the 30th minute, Manchester United began to serve in the penalty area more often, looking for Ronaldo. But Newcastle defended very low and, from the first minutes, began to play for time. Forty also had chances in the first half, but the guests could not benefit from their counterattacks. And when it seemed that very soon the referee would blow the whistle for a break, Mason Greenwood shot with his left from outside the penalty area, and Newcastle goalkeeper Freddie Woodman awkwardly hit the ball right into the empty net Cristiano. A few seconds later, Old Trafford heard the trademark Siiiii.
This is Ronaldo’s first goal in the Premier League since May 2009,12 years, and 124 days have passed since then.
At the beginning of the second half, Newcastle made several cool counterattacks, one of which ended in a goal – full-back Javier Manquillo, after a pass from Saint-Maximin, sent the ball past his compatriot De Gea – 1: 1.
But in the 62nd minute, Ronaldo stepped in again – Cristiano burst into the zone between Newcastle’s full-backs and central defenders in a counterattack, got the ball from Luke Shaw, earned some money with his right, and hit Woodman with his left – the ball went between the goalkeeper’s legs. This is the return!
I wonder how Cristiano will share a position in the center of attack with Edinson Cavani after the return of the Uruguayan. Ronaldo’s second goal is engaging with a pass from Luke Shaw. The wingers in the Solskjaer system are located in narrow positions and rush into the penalty area from the semi-flanks or give passes to these zones. Accordingly, the wingers are more often responsible for the width (in Newcastle – Sancho and Greenwood), who play as close to the edge as possible. It is strange to imagine Cristiano Ronaldo in such a role; rather, the position at the forefront of the attack suits him. Maybe Solskjaer is preparing a new tactical scheme for us with two forwards?
Soon another Portuguese distinguished himself. Bruna Fernandes was left alone in the holding area, for which he punished Newcastle with a stunning strike in the nine.
Jesse Lingard, who returned from a class loan at West Ham, finished the match. After a fantastic combination at someone else’s penalty. On account of Pogba – two assists, seven assists in four starting rounds. In general, the return of Cristiano to Old Trafford turned out to be genuinely festive; the red part of Manchester is walking. Well, Cristiano finished the match to the end, proving that at 36 he is in fantastic shape.