Football Features

Edinson Cavani drags Manchester United to lucky 1-1 draw at Newcastle to prove he, not Ronaldo, is the striker they need

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 22:22, 27 December 2021


Edinson Cavani earned Manchester United a lucky point as they drew 1-1 with Newcastle as a raucous St. James’ Park.

The Magpies came into the game having lost three straight games, conceding 11 goals in the process and scoring just once, yet they absolutely played their illustrious visitors off the park for the vast majority of the night’s action.

With the exception of David de Gea, none of the starters can really have said they played well. In fact they were lucky that, after scoring a sensational opening goal, Allan Saint-Maximin didn’t bury them completely when he missed a massive chance at the start of the second-half.

Yet they walk away with a point and the chance to keep building under new manager Ralf Rangnick. And they were able to do that because of their veteran striker… Edinson Cavani.


18+ only. New members only. £10 min deposit & bet on sportsbook, placed & settled at 1.5 min odds within 14 days of sign-up. Win part of E/W bets. 2 non-withdrawable £10 Free Bet Tokens: accept in 7 days, valid for 7 days from crediting (ex. E/Ws & Multiples), stakes not returned. Full T&Cs apply. Bet Responsibly. BeGambleAware.org.

18+ only • Min deposit £/€/$10 • A qualifying bet is a ‘real money’ stake of at least £/€/$10 • Min odds 1/2 (1.50) • Free Bets credited upon qualifying bet settlement and expire after 7 days • Free Bet stakes not included in returns • Casino Bonus must be claimed within 7 days • To withdraw bonus/related wins, wager the bonus amount 40 times within 14 days • Casino Bonus expires after 60 days • Withdrawal restrictions, payment methods, country & Full T&C’s apply • BeGambleAware

Bet £10, Get £20 in Free Bets T&Cs apply

18+ only. New UK customers only. Min Deposit: £5. Maximum Free Bet: £30. First bet on a Football multiple with 3+ selections. Overall odds: 3.00 (2/1) or higher. Free Bets available upon settlement of the qualifying bet. Debit card deposits only. This is offer is valid for 7 days from your new account being registered. 18+ BeGambleAware.org. Full terms apply.

18+ only. New UK customers only. T&Cs apply.

Claim Here
Bet £10 & Get £50 in Free Bets T&Cs apply

18+ only. New customers only. Min deposit requirement. Free Bets are paid as Bet Credits and are available for use upon settlement of bets to value of qualifying deposit. Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits and T&Cs apply.

18+ only. New customers only. T&Cs apply.

Claim Here
£20 in Free Bets when you place a £5 bet T&Cs apply

18+ only. New customers only. First single & e/w bet only. Odds of 1/1 or greater. 2 x £10 bet tokens. Free bet stakes not included in returns. Free bets exclude virtuals. Free bets are non withdrawable. No free bet expiry. Eligibility restrictions and further T&Cs apply. Begambleaware.org

18+ only. New customers only. T&Cs apply.

Claim Here

Cristiano Ronaldo was this summer’s big buy as The Red Devils unleashed a torrent of nostalgia that would make Spider-Man: No Way Home wince. And for sure, the Portuguese superstar has scored an awful lot of goals (13 at present), but he’s also made United much worse as a cohesive team as the sheer weight of his presence crushed the already fragile house of cards Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had constructed.

That’s not even necessarily a flaw for the Portuguese; anyone who has watched Cristiano over the last few years knows what you need to get the best out of him. What Cristiano can do and what he cannot do is no secret, United knew the player they were signing, warts and all.

Tonight at St. James’ Park it was nothing but warts as the Portuguese slumped around the pitch looking like a stroppy teenager upset that he’s been forced to talk to Grandma over Christmas. He offered nothing defensively except one shocking tackle that could have seen him sent off, his passing and link-play was largely poor, but of course all of that could have been forgiven if he had done what he has done all season: score. But not only did he fail to score, he to fail to even look like he’d score. He had just 2 shots all game, none on target, and he fail to even connect with a glorious Mason Greenwood cross that, in former years, he’d have buried.

That lack of pace and movement meant he couldn’t function as an attacking presence and did little to threaten Newcastle.

Then Cavani came on.



The Uruguayan is everything Cristiano isn’t. A ferocious physical presence when he’s fit to play, Cavani shows little signs of age as he tears around the pitch pressing relentlessly. His introduction at half-time dramatically upped the tempo United played at, and gave them a focal point at the head of attack, meaning they could actually threaten Newcastle.

In his 45 minutes on the field, Cavani had 5 shots, a game-high. He missed a sitter, scored the United equaliser and lobbed the goalkeeper (albeit without enough force to reach the goal-line). He was all-action, or as Martin Tyler called him on commentary: “a warrior.”

The energy Cavani put into the game radiated throughout the United side and that, coupled with Bruno Fernandes playing deeper and thus providing United with actual progressive passing from midfield, gave United enough momentum that they could and should have won before fading physically in the last five minutes when David de Gea had to go Superman to preserve the point.

Edinson Cavani is the veteran centre-forward this young Manchester United side need. A hard-working selfless warrior who makes his team-mates better, not an ageing superstar like Cristiano Ronaldo, football’s black hole: a tremendously powerful force that warps and distorts everything around him in a profoundly negative way.

Even Ronaldo’s only great performance for Manchester United, in the win against Spurs, came because he was playing next to Cavani. The Uruguayan is so good he can even help Cristiano shine in general play instead of just goalscoring.

If Ralf Rangnick truly wants to make Manchester United play his kind of football then he needs to drop Cristiano Ronaldo for Edinson Cavani. If he doesn’t it’s very hard to see how The Red Devils could produce anything like the level they need to get back into the Champions League for next season.

✕︎

Sign up to the Best Football Offers

A valid email is required.

Invalid e-mail.

Yes I am over 18.
Yes, I would like to receive email updates on exciting offers from squawka.com. For more info on how we and our partners process your data, see Privacy and Cookie Policies.
You need to confirm that you are over 18 and that you want to receive updates.

*By subscribing you are confirming that you are over 18 years of age.

*All emails include an unsubscribe link, where you can opt out any time. *Please see our privacy and cookies policy..

x

Newsletter error