Manchester United 3 Newcastle United 0
YOU should never judge a book by its cover and you should never judge a football team on its first game of the season, but Newcastle United will already know they have a long, hard season ahead of them.
Newcastle fans have been waiting for this moment for 449 days. Plenty of time for hope to build and 90 minutes for it to coming crashing back to Earth.
The bullies of the Championship have moved up a level, and the Premier League playground is full of bigger boys than them.
A bright start from the men in black and white stripes could not disguise the problems Chris Hughton’s side face this season, just as a bench full of kids and fringe players from last term cannot hide the lack of strength in depth in a squad which still desperately needs to be strengthened before the close of the transfer window.
Now we have dispensed with the phoney war of pre-season and the constant flood of predictions from ex-pros, part-time experts and shameless self-publicists, it is time for cold hard realism to take a grip of expectation levels.
Newcastle United are in a struggle for survival this season, but it is a struggle they are both good enough and brave enough to win.
Whether they were ever good enough to win here is another matter entirely.
Bravery, alone, is rarely enough to bridge a gulf in class as wide as this. Newcastle United have not won at Old Trafford since 1972, and only the blindly optimistic ever truly believed that record would change last night.
For all of the tradition and the relatively recent history of Champions League contenders, Newcastle may be in the same league as Manchester United again but they are not at the same level.