Edinson Cavani rescued Manchester United as his second-half strike secured a 1-1 English Premier League (EPL) draw at relegation-threatened Newcastle United and spared Ralf Rangnick a first defeat.
The Red Devils were labelled “a bunch of whingebags” by Sky Television pundit Gary Neville at half-time.
After beginning the Rangnick era with 1-0 wins over Crystal Palace and Norwich City, this was a sharp reality check.
Saint-Maximin’s seventh-minute strike was a gem and the French forward missed a sitter at the start of the second half.
Visitors Manchester United, who lost their discipline at times and could easily have had Cristiano Ronaldo sent off, were thankful they had Cavani in the right place in the 71st minute.
He tucked home at the second attempt to earn a point.
The lively Saint-Maximin gave Newcastle United a great start, sidestepping Harry Maguire before planting a powerful shot into the right corner.
The fit-again Raphael Varane had been too easily dispossessed by a hungry Sean Longstaff in the build-up.
An air-shot volley from Ronaldo was met with derisive jeers from home supporters, before Newcastle United thought they had another goal.
That was when Callum Wilson tucked in after more good work from Saint-Maximin.
But the striker was clearly offside.
Newcastle United then lost Wilson to a calf injury moments before half-time.
Fred and Mason Greenwood were replaced by Jadon Sancho and Cavani for the second half.
But Newcastle United should have been 2-0 ahead almost instantly.
Saint-Maximin was thwarted by David de Gea from close range after Emil Krafth’s cross from the right found him just four yards out.
Marcus Rashford’s strike from 25 yards was pushed over by Martin Dubravka.
Cavani scuffed a shot wide, before Ronaldo was perhaps fortunate to be only booked for a rash swipe at Ryan Fraser.
Fraser and Saint-Maximin were denied by De Gea as Newcastle United got a second wind, but they gave Cavani another sniff of goal and paid for it.
Diogo Dalot’s cross from the right found Cavani by the penalty kick spot, and after his first shot was blocked, the Uruguayan jabbed a second attempt into the bottom-right corner.
Saint-Maximin limped off late on, but there was almost a late moment to savour for Newcastle United.
Jacob Murphy smashed a fine strike against the right post from a tight angle on the left late on, before Miguel Almiron was denied by a spectacular De Gea save.
English Premier League results and standings
Liverpool vs Leeds United —- postponed
Wolverhampton vs Watford —— postponed
Burnley vs Everton —— postponed
Manchester City 6-3 Leicester City
Norwich City 0-5 Arsenal
Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 Crystal Palace
West Ham United 2-3 Southampton
Aston Villa 1-3 Chelsea
Brighton & Hove Albion 2-0 Brentford
Newcastle United 1-1 Manchester United
P W D L F A Pts
1 Manchester City 19 15 2 2 50 12 47
2 Liverpool 18 12 5 1 50 15 41
3 Chelsea 19 12 5 2 42 13 41
4 Arsenal 19 11 2 6 32 23 35
5 Tottenham Hotspur16 9 2 5 21 19 29
6 West Ham United 18 8 4 6 30 24 28
7 Manchester United17 8 4 5 27 25 28
8 Wolverhampton 18 7 4 7 13 14 25
9 Brighton 17 5 8 4 16 17 23
10 Leicester City 17 6 4 7 30 33 22
11 Aston Villa 18 7 1 10 24 28 22
12 Crystal Palace 18 4 8 6 24 27 20
13 Brentford 17 5 5 7 21 24 20
14 Southampton 18 4 8 6 19 28 20
15 Everton 17 5 4 8 21 29 19
16 Leeds United 18 3 7 8 18 36 16
17 Watford 16 4 1 11 21 31 13
18 Burnley 15 1 8 6 14 21 11
19 Newcastle United19 1 8 10 19 42 11
20 Norwich City 18 2 4 12 8 39 10
EPL: Cristiano Ronaldo considering leaving Man United at the end of the season
A new bombshell report has claimed Cristiano Ronaldo is considering leaving Manchester United at the end of the season if their choice of manager does not suit him.
According to The Daily Star, Ronaldo, who only rejoined the Red Devils in the summer from Juventus, is keeping a close eye on who the club appointed as their next permanent manager at the end of the season.
Ronaldo’s deal at Old Trafford runs until 2023 but the report explains that the Portuguese would be willing to leave 12 months early if the next appointment cannot bring the best out of him.
United have declined even further since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was sacked and German boss Ralf Rangnick came in to take charge on an interim basis.
The plan for Rangnick at the end of the season is to step into a ‘Senior Football Advisor’ role for the next two years. Even with Rangnick not in contention for the job on a permanent basis, Ronaldo is said to have made his feelings clear that he would not support any decision to appoint the German full-time.
A source told the Star that Ronaldo ‘thought it would be better than this’ and that as a ‘born winner’ he wants ‘to be winning more trophies’.
Rangnick will, more likely, be part of the process to appoint the next manager, a permanent successor to Solskjaer, who was axed in November following a loss to Watford.
Sportsmail reported on Thursday that United are working from a three-man shortlist of Mauricio Pochettino, currently at Paris Saint-Germain, Ajax manager Erik ten Hag and Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers.
Premier League: Manchester United’s Rangnick approves signing £100m star
Manchester United interim manager, Ralf Rangnick has given his approval for the club to sign £100million rated star, Declan Rice from West Ham United, The Sun reports.
Man United have been linked with Rice for a long time and the latest reports suggest that the Old Trafford club are preparing a big move to finally sign the England international next summer.
The Red Devils have received a major boost in their pursuit to sign Rice, who has been brilliant over the years for the Hammers and is a key player for the national team.
Rice has already made 27 appearances for England’s national team.
He is not only a solid play breaker but can also contribute in goals.
The 22-year-old has scored three goals and registered four assists in all competitions for David Moyes’ men so far this season.
The midfielder was heavily linked with a move to Stamford Bridge, with former Chelsea manager, Frank Lampard, in particular a huge admirer of him.
EPL: Arsenal star Ainsley Maitland-Niles to receive €2.5m, join Mourinho at Roma
Arsenal star, Ainsley Maitland-Niles is set to receive €2.5m as his salary at AS Roma after tax.
Corriere Della Sera reports that Maitland-Niles has finally reached an agreement with Roma that will see him join Jose Mourinho’s side on loan for the remainder of the season, with a view to making the deal permanent in the summer of 2022.
The 24-year-old looks set to become a Roma player when the January transfer window opens, as long as Arsenal and the Serie A side can agree to a fee.
On Tuesday, it was reported that Arsenal and Roma were close to agreeing to a deal that would see Maitland-Niles head to Italy for the rest of the season.
If that goes well, Roma plan to purchase him permanently in the summer for a fixed fee in the region of €10m – €15m.
Arsenal wants the latter amount while Mourinho’s side are trying to drive the price down, so the agreement will likely be found somewhere in the middle at around £10m, which is roughly what Maitland-Niles is worth.
So far this season, Maitland-Niles has started just four games – two in the Premier League and two in the League Cup and played the full 90 just three times for the Gunners.
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