Two pre-season friendlies in and Newcastle remain unbeaten, with goals from Joselu and Ayoze Perez earning us a 2-2 draw at the KCOM Stadium last night.
It wasn’t pretty for the 2,500 who made the drip down to Hull, but we had to fight for it in the end – and, although he won’t have been all that impressed by what he saw, it was probably the sort of physical workout Benitez is looking for heading into the new season.
It was scrappy and a game where our lack of quality in the final third and our lack of defensive cover was quite noticeable, but with Hull a week ahead of his in terms of fitness (their new Championship season starts a week before ours), it was a handy run out as we look to step up our preparations for Spurs at home in two and a half weeks time.
— The Magpie Channel (@MagpieChannel) July 24, 2018
Aside from a flurry of goal-bound free-kick’s from Shelvey and Ritchie (the former was our stand-out player) and a well taken one on one finish from Joselu (assisted superbly by Shelvey), there wasn’t a great deal to get too excited about.
That being said, there was still a few positives to take from it:
- Shelvey looks fit and sharp. The work he’s put into to improve his defensive work is also quite clear.
- A nice confidence boost for Joselu. A rare calm finish in front of goal in front of the traveling toon army.
- Victor Fernandez was lively and looks an exciting good player. He’s direct, has quick feet and looks comfortable on the ball. Put in some very dangerous crosses and combined well with Perez
- Ritchie looks up for pre-season
- Ki Sung-Yeung’s delivery from corners could become a real weapon. His whipped ball in was so inviting for our second goal.
- Perez scores again in 2018
- A few good bits of goalkeeping from Woodman. Stopped one-on-one and confident from crosses.
— Black&WhiteBarmy (@BlackWhiteBarmy) July 24, 2018
Then for the negatives:
- Lack of quality in final third evident. A striker or two is a must and another attacking midfielder wouldn’t go amiss.
- Too many square pegs in round holes at the back (Roberts at LB in Dummett’s absence, Yarney/Hayden at CB in Lejeune’s absence). Shows just how short we are at the back – but both these points may stengthen Rafa’s cause for new signings?
- Murphy / Aarons struggling to make impact again.
- Another great experience for Longstaff, but he didn’t quite settle into this one like he did vs St Patrick’s. Quite sloppy.
- Yedlin’s positioning worries me. Often relies on his pace and rarely deals with diagonal balls in behind/over his shoulder
- Woodman made a big error on the ball. Looks a top prospect and very capable with his feet, but not the first time he’s nearly dropped a clanger when trying to play out from the back (remember his first senior start vs Luton last season?).
Porto away next on Saturday. Let’s hope we have a few new faces in when we return from Portugal. We need them – both in attack and at the back.