Root Cause: Manchester United’s Loss to Newcastle United

As per Wikipedia, “A root cause is an initiating cause of a causal chain which leads to an outcome or effect of interest.”

If observed carefully, the result of every football game is primarily owing to a root cause- perhaps a “root tactic” by one of the managers.

For example, a team might decide to press very high up the pitch. Now, they might force their opponents to surrender ball in dangerous areas. Subsequently, if the team counter-attacks with excellence after winning possession in those danger areas and triumphs the opposition in terms of goals at the end of ninety minutes, “high pressing” can be defined as the “root cause” for the victory.

Other tactics like the proficiency of their counter-attacks will be an entirely different story, but the counter-attacks came into the picture only because of the high pressing.

Manchester United versus Newcastle United

Many match reports of Manchester United’s home loss against Newcastle United last week suggested that the Red Devils lacked creativity in the middle of the park. Attackers were isolated, passing was slow and there was no one to dictate the tempo of the play.

Now this was simply owing to Newcastle United’s pressing and organization without the ball, which can be described as the root cause for the Magpies historic win.i1i2i3i5

Conclusion: Newcastle Goal

Jonny Evans tries to build up from the back. He can’t pass it to Jones or Cleverley so the 25-year-old comes out of the defensive third and then plays as pass out wide to Rafael Da Silva. The Brazil international gives away the ball and the subsequent Newcastle attack ends with a goal-kick.

De Gea kicks the ball towards Hernandez but, he feeds it to Tim Krul, who instigates the attack eventually leading to Cabaye’s goal.

Root cause of the goal- Newcastle’s attackers and midfielders closing gap for United’s midfielders to receive the ball.

About Surya 32 Articles
Surya Solanki is a freelance football writer covering the Premier League and African football. Being an avid Manchester United supporter for the past ten years, something always motivated him to go beyond just being a spectator, and gradually he began blogging about his views. He is currently a Manchester United critic at and a correspondent for


  1. When looking for a root cause, it’s a bit like ‘which came first, the chicken or the egg?’

    At what point do you decide to start?

    Newcastle’s tactics would have been overcome by previous United teams. So where is the actual source of United’s difficulties?

  2. The source of Uniteds difficulties?Compared to last season,not much difference apart from they won more games of course.Remember when Van Der Sar was goalkeeper,not too long ago,He and the defence lobbed the ball out of touch a hell of a lot.Last season Fergie thought in many an average game that they kept the ball well.Thats not to say they played clever football.Lets all be honest,Fergie was great but last season there were cracks and United were not all that good in the European leage cup.Think we should all see what develops.Best of luck United.

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