Tim Krul made a couple of key saves and Chris Smalling headed against the post as the Red Devils were unable to break down Steve McClaren’s team at Old Trafford
Manchester United’s 100 per cent record in the Premier League this season came to an end as they were held to a goalless draw by Newcastle United.
United had the better start as Tim Krul saved well from Juan Mata, though Aleksandar Mitrovic did see a header come back off the crossbar for the visitors.
The Red Devils continued to dominate after the break, and substitute Javier Hernandez almost broke the deadlock as Krul saved with his feet.
But Louis van Gaal’s side could not find a way through as Chris Smalling hit the post with a header in the final minute.
Van Gaal, who handed a first start to Bastian Schweinsteiger, insisted earlier in the week that he was happy with his attacking options, but the Dutchman may wish to reassess that view with just 10 days of the transfer window remaining.
The hosts dominated from the off and Wayne Rooney – now without a goal in his last 10 games – had the ball in the net four minutes in after latching onto Adnan Januzaj’s throughball, only to be denied by a marginal offside call.
Rooney, so off-colour in the early weeks of the campaign, looked bright and led the charge as United poured forward in the first quarter of an hour.
It felt like a matter of time before they broke Newcastle’s resistance, with Krul twice called into action to deny Mata before Rooney tested the Dutchman from 20 yards.
But Newcastle’s first real foray into United’s half after 24 minutes almost resulted in an unlikely opener, as Mitrovic’s superb header from Chancel Mbemba’s inch-perfect cross from the right hit the crossbar with Sergio Romero beaten.
Unsurprisingly, United’s intensity dropped after their breathless start and Ayoze Perez’s snapshot had Romero scrambling across his goal just before the break.
Memphis Depay was the catalyst for their midweek win over Club Brugge, but he could not get going here – his below-par display summed up by a wild shot blazed well over the bar on the hour.
United failed to replicate their start to the first half after the interval and Van Gaal turned to Michael Carrick – in place of Schweinsteiger – and Hernandez in an attempt to lift his side.
But, aside from Hernandez’s late chance that Krul got down well to save and Smalling’s header that hit the upright, United could not find a way through a well-drilled Newcastle backline as Steve McClaren’s team escaped with a hard-earned point after Florian Thauvin just failed to make contact with Papiss Cisse’s low cross in the closing stages.