Newcastle 2-1 Athletic Bilbao: More pre-season positives as Toon win game of two halves

A successful end to pre-season as Newcastle United won their second game in as many days on Tyneside, overcoming Athletic Bilbao 2-1 thanks to goals from Callum Wilson and Allan Saint-Maximin.

The 47,000 inside St James’ Park – an incredible attendance for a summer friendly – were treated to a superb first half display, seeing us dominate possession, enjoyed sustained periods of pressure, press relentlessly and play some lovely stuff as the La Liga side struggled to cope with our intensity both on and off the ball.

Wilson gave us the lead just five minutes in. After some great approach play from Saint-Maximin and a clever flick from Matt Ritchie, our fit-again number nine finished emphatically, barging his man off the ball before firing into the far corner with his left foot. It was Wilson at his best and great to see the striker looking sharp after he struggled against Benfica on Tuesday night.

Bruno Guimaraes ran the show in the opening 45. If it wasn’t his sensational passing, clever flicks or silky turns that had St James’ Park on their feet, it was his non-stop pressing and perfectly timed tackles that had fans chanting his name. He really did look a level above the rest at times – which is saying something when so many played well in that first half!

Fellow Brazilian Joelinton was also a battering ram and covering every blade of grass alongside the equally mobile Joe Willock, with Saint-Maximin also a menace down the left, releasing the ball a little quicker after beating his man and working hard in the other direction to help out Paul Dummett.

The Frenchman got his reward in the second half, latching onto a Joelinton through ball, bursting infield and slotting home superbly before doing a few back flips as the Gallowgate End erupted. I don’t know what was better, the run, finish or acrobatic celebration!

I loved just about everything I saw from Sven Botman. He’s not only an absolute giant who won everything in the air, but moved gracefully on the ground, barely misplaced a pass and is clearly no slouch, either. Early days, obviously, yet it felt like we were watching a Rolls Royce centre-back.

We struggled defensively in the second half, with Bilbao often getting in down the flanks, but the big Dutchman was regularly in position to cut out the danger as red and white shirts burst into the box.

For Bilbao’s goal, Dummett didn’t do enough to stop the cross and a back-peddling Emil Krafth was beaten in the air by Spanish veteran Raul Garcia. The Swede was one of many who looked pretty shattered in the closing stages, with some still adjusting to our new pressing game and SEVEN friendlies in the space of a month!

The visitors hit the post soon after and had chances to make it 2-2, but we held on in the end, appearing to tire after a sensational, high-intensity first half display we’ll be looking to replicate when Nottingham Forest come to town next weekend.

Matty Bondswell got another cameo, replacing Dummett for the final 20 minutes, while Matty Longstaff, Lucas De Bolle and Mexican loanee Santiago Munoz also appearing for the last few minutes.

Howe will be wary of the way our levels dropped in the final half an hour, however it was another great workout against a capable side, featuring several confidence boosting displays, no injuries and just shy of 88,000 supporters at St James’ Park. If anything sums up the buzz around to city ahead of the new season, it’s that last line! Incredible.

Here’s today’s starting XI and subs, followed by full highlights courtesy of Athletic Bilbao’s official Twitter account, featuring Wilson and Saint-Maximin’s goals, Raul Garcia’s header and some late chances the Spaniards spurned:

STARTING XI: Dubravka – Krafth, Lascelles, Botman, Dummett – Willock, Guimaraes, Joelinton – Ritchie, Wilson, Saint-Maximin.

SUBSGillespie, M.Longstaff (89), De Bolle (89), Munoz (90), Bondswell (70), Stephenson, Turner-Cooke, A.Murphy, L.Miley.

About Olly Hawkins

Olly has been a Junior Magpie from birth. As a season ticket holder and avid Newcastle United fan, he eats, sleeps and breathes all things NUFC!

108 thoughts on “Newcastle 2-1 Athletic Bilbao: More pre-season positives as Toon win game of two halves

  1. Cabbage gets a draw at Boro. He has a good squad at WBA and only he and the Steve’s (plus Alex) could mess that up.


  2. I would luurv to see us get Werner. He was brilliant in Germany. Chelsea played him as a winger and he not a winger. He would bust our budget as I think gets like 200k a week. But we have to do it sometime if we want CL.


  3. A loan for Werner would be perfect. I mentioned it last week because Chelsea just have too many forwards.

    HE IS NOT A WINGER THOUGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  4. Eric – I do think Werner has been misused by Chelsea & I agree that he’s a CF rather than a winger – but is he the CF we need?!.

    He’s very different to Wilson or Wood. He’s full of pace but nowhere near as physical.

    I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, without Wilson or Wood there is little physicality in the team other than Big Joe.

    That said, Werner, Cornet & Maddison are excellent players and could well be the creativity we need in the team.


  5. Sharpy, man:


    We have Big Sven, BDB, Lascelles. Targett and Krafth (they are built like horses). Wilson also seems to have gone to a gym every day for the last year as well. He could probably win one of those MMA things now.

    And “little Joe” isnt that little 5-10. Bruno is 6 foot tall. And Pope! 6-5.

    We probably have the biggest team in the league if Tripps is injured 🙂


  6. Wood 6-3. Shelvey 6 ft. Dubs 6-3. Fede 6-3, Schar 6-2..

    There’s only Maxi and Fraser who are short @rses who will ever see any playing time.

    I think Ritchie will be gone (the only other short @rses), no matter what Eddie says now.


  7. 3 lion (esses) on a shirt still cant help me dreaming. 56 years of hurt, still cant stop me dreaming, It’s coming home, it’s coming home, football’s coming home!

    I stilll think we will get beat on pens though Kimtoon 🙂


  8. last time toon won anything when i was there the fairs cup i will never forget it,thing that really sticks in my mind is when i used to sneak in watching them train at the end of scotswood road over the bridge,joe harvey leaning on the rail smoking and shouting at the players while he puffed away lol


  9. Ice I got your details again, site still knackered .

    Eric, We will win, have faith .
    Nice to see us win again yesterday, did not see it as went on with decorating as thought it wasn’t on, plus this site doing my head in.
    Right back to it.


  10. kimtoon:
    Ice I got your details again, site still knackered .

    Eric, We will win, have faith .
    Nice to see us win again yesterday, did not see it as went on with decorating as thought it wasn’t on, plus this site doing my head in.
    Right back to it.

    you can always use my details mate,we normally think on the same lines anyway lol


  11. Kimtoon: I actually dont know who has the better team this year. I do know that The Germans have won 8 Euros and England have won none. It is very easy for me to predict that England lose on penalties as that seems to happen every time.


  12. I read someone on another blog the other day say the football is shyte. I totally disagree and think it is pretty good and enjoyable. The German coach seems tightly wound – a teutonic Antonio Conte.


  13. Bl00dy fantastic ladies 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼

    The passion is great to watch!!

    The crowds have been brilliant.

    Okay it’s not as technically good as the mens game – but it’s pure football & the ladies are more bothered about posing or trying to look cool like the fellas do.

    I’ll never forget the look on my 7yr old nieces face when she video called me at full time – you’d think she scored the winner 😂😂.

    Brilliant man 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼


  14. England fully deserved to win but there was a lot of ebb and flow to it with the Germans being on top for parts of it. They all really got stuck in as well, both sides. That final 5 minutes in the corner was Shearer-esque.


  15. I’ve just read that Leicester want £70m for James Maddison – £40m for Maddison & their £30m back for Perez 😂😂


  16. Eric Sykes:
    England fully deserved to win but there was a lot of ebb and flow to it with the Germans being on top for parts of it. They all really got stuck in as well, both sides. That final 5 minutes in the corner was Shearer-esque.

    Eric Sykes:
    England fully deserved to win but there was a lot of ebb and flow to it with the Germans being on top for parts of it. They all really got stuck in as well, both sides. That final 5 minutes in the corner was Shearer-esque.

    Eric Sykes:
    England fully deserved to win but there was a lot of ebb and flow to it with the Germans being on top for parts of it. They all really got stuck in as well, both sides. That final 5 minutes in the corner was Shearer-esque.

    Exactly what I thought. Great game management, and they didn’t get to the final the easy way, had to beat some quality teams on the way.

    Well it’s over to the guys now, what can they win ?


  17. wathching the Ladies when we were 1-1 and a bit nervous the reason I thought the Germans would win it was that the 1st touch and close control of our girls was poor, giving the ball away too much. However the control in the corner at the end was excellent


  18. Of our targets I like the Cornet one. It makes sense at £17.5m. We should definitely pursue that one and hopefully it comes off.

    Maddison is a top quality player & £40m is a serious starting bid. But I can understand Leicester not wanting to let him go.
    They are a well ran club so didn’t image they NEED the money, and there is talk Chelsea have agreed terms with Fofana, so Leicester will get a tidy fee off that one if it comes off – plenty to reinvest – mean again the Maddison sale doesn’t NEED to happen.
    I think it will heavily hinge on what the player himself wants. If he wants the move and his team are pushing it, then I reckon he leaves for around £50-55m.
    If he’s settled then I don’t think we get him.

    The Werner one is the one I’m unsure of. No doubting his record in Germany, but equally no doubting he’s struggled at Chelsea. Is that mismanagement by Chelsea or is it that he’s just not suited to the PL.

    It’s a position in such need of cover that I don’t think we should be taking risks – and I see Werner as a risk. If he comes I’ll get behind him for sure, because he is a talented lad – I understand the interest.

    I just wonder would we be better using the budget for Maddison on getting a CF.


  19. Just from the highlights I thought Bilbao had far too many chances and their goal was like many last season with Lascelles completely missing from his position. Combined with his poor ball skills I’d let him go.


  20. Georgio – I wonder if he didn’t hold the role of club captain, whether he would be see as more dispensable?.

    Or is it with Fede & Clark on the way out & just signing Burn & Botman – and the greater need in other positions, the likes of Lascelles and one or 2 others are retention players for now. Let’s be honest, he’s 4th choice CB now anyway I reckon.


  21. My choice would be Werner because I am not sure where we would play Maddison or if Paqueta is waiting for a CL club.

    Werner has already been moaning about playing time and Chelsea just bought his replacement – Sterling. His wages could be the sticking point but I think Chelsea would loan him to us with an option to buy. It could work out well because by the end of this season we will have a new sponsor, probably Aramco. We have to bust the wage limit at some point. The Saudis know this if we want to compete with Spurs or Munich etc.

    The bid for Madisson shows that Eddie was playing games with the press all along. 60 mil my @rse. We will soon be over 100 mil even if that means a commitment for Werner in a year.

    On wages, I dont think the likes of Shelvey or Miggy could moan if Werner was paid double. There are always scales at all clubs. Does anybody really think Shearer was paid the same as Gillespie? I reckon ASM and Bruno would be asking for a raise though, and that’s OK, we have the dosh.


  22. Eric – I think the WC will have a big impact on players decisions going into this season. If Werner doesn’t think he’ll get much game time at Chelsea – will that do harm to his Germany place?, you’d think so?!.

    But would he get into our starting 11 if Wilson is fit? – would it be that guaranteed game time he’d be looking for? – I’m not so sure. If Wilson is fit HE might fancy his chances of an England place – who other than Kane is guaranteed a spot?. So he’s not gonna wanna rotate with Werner.

    Eric – based on our current squad & the 3 we are linked with (Werner, Maddison & Cornet) what would your starting 11 be?


  23. Ano wilson should start but werner will not come to sit on bench. Also had your details earlier sharpy


  24. I have been thinking about Maddison and think he might be the Jonjo replacement. Shelvey only played 24 games last season and seems to pick up niggles. As a comparison the renowned sick-note Wilson played 18 games. I see Shelvey as a bit part player if we get Maddison.

    Sharpy: I dont see us signing anybody in time for Forest and with Shelvey injured we only have a few choices to make. Burn or Schar? Miggy or Fraser? Willock or Longstaff?


    Tripps Botman Burn Target

    Willock Bruno Joelinton

    Miggy Wilson Maxi

    I think we set up an attacking lineup because we are at home.

    Fraser always gets niggles as well which is why we probably should keep Miggy unless we get a direct replacement.


  25. I could understand Maddison favouring a move to NU rather than staying at LC to be fair.

    I know they have been more successful in recent years & we will likely be competing for similar league position next season, but I think LC have peaked in their spends.

    They are maxed out with their sponsorships and commercial revenue – or won’t be far off if not.

    They are in a position already this season where they are having to sell to buy. They’ve done it since winning the league – and lucked out when MU gave them £80m for Maguire – that won’t happen again!!.

    So they are as far as they get imo. I really like LC so am not being derogatory towards them. They’ll be a solid PL side for years to come thanks to their owners.

    But in reality, NU spending hasn’t even begun yet. This loan will cover this seasons transfers. But once Eales & Ashworth get the commercial & sponsorship side of things sorted & we see the kind of money that offsets FFP – that will hopefully coincide with a climb up the table and being a top 10 side or higher, with a budget to spend, and having a squad with players like Botman, Bruno, ASM, Maddison, Wilson and maybe even Werner already in it – that should be more of an attraction to top players again.

    Maddison may well see that LC have peaked & NU are on a new trajectory, and he could be part of that. I could see him pushing a move – especially if our offer is fair (around £50m).


  26. Eric – I meant if we signed those 3 players how would you team look?.

    David – no way I’m dropping Wilson for Werner. I’d want to show him more loyalty than that. Especially with the form he’s shown in pre season. He looks a beast!! – really worked on his fitness.

    I now have your details as well 😳🙄. This site is fecked!!.


  27. Leicester are a different team when Vardy is out. Isnt he like 36 now? If I can see this then Maddison must as well.


  28. Wilson starts for me too, thats y a cant see some 1 of werners wages comin in to sit on bench. Well until wilson injured. Am so excited for weekend man


  29. Sharpy: if we signed Werner I think we would go 4-4-2 with him and Wilson up front and ASM and Willock on the flanks.

    I would be more excited about Maddison if we didnt already have Tripps to take free kicks and corners. We have been shyte at them for long mainly due to Shelvey not being able to kick a stationary ball.


  30. If they are bidding 45 mil for Maddison they must have a plan for him. I would like to know what it is?


  31. David mate. Having a problem of too many good players is not a bad thing 🙂

    Just dont play them all in defense like Bruce did.


  32. This time last season our team stunk, relegation battle was on cards, joelinton still a striker, wat a difference a year makes


  33. So LC need a keeper.

    What value do we put on Dubz and are we ok letting him go to a rival for league positions to get the Maddison deal done??!!.


  34. Olly – David’s detail were preloaded again when I came on this morning. It seems to only ever be David’s for me 🤷🏼‍♂️


  35. Prems details for me this am.

    Don’t know where the Werner idea came from. He’s been regularly **** for Chelsea, missing chance after chance. And those wages. No thanks. The kid Sesko looks a good bet or Belotti.


  36. Olly – sorry to bang the same drum mate, but came off the site altogether. Came back on and the non main articles are blank details on all of them – but every time I come onto the main article it’s David’s details.


  37. Sharpy17:
    Olly – sorry to bang the same drum mate, but came off the site altogether.Came back on and the non main articles are blank details on all of them – but every time I come onto the main article it’s David’s details.

    Still working on a host of site fixes – once the new guys have fully migrated over to the site, we are expecting this to be fixed!

    Sorry for the issues it’s causing in the mean time.


  38. Prem – I’d be ok with him going IF it meant Maddison came the other way. It would be a real shame to see him go, but it would be part of our progression.

    But I don’t want us selling him to LC as a cash deal.

    I don’t know anything about Sesko if I’m honest. There was little chat him that I saw before last week or so 🤷🏼‍♂️.

    But I have to agree, Belotti would seem like more of a natural fit in our system. Physically strong hold up player. I think Werner is a better technical player, but with ASM & maybe Cornet – if not certainly Miggy or Fraser – is there more need for a forward to compete for those headers and wrestle with the CBs.


  39. Olly – no worries mate, not kicking up a stink just wanting to keep you up to speed with issues. Wasn’t having a good day on my ‘FIX OUR SITE’ day – acted like a real bell 🤷🏼‍♂️😂.


  40. I feel pretty confident that we will sign either Maddison or Paqueta by the end of this window like. I think it will depend on who between them finds their replacement first.

    I don’t think the Paqueta deal is dead & get the feeling he’s probably more keen on the move than Maddison – I’d be buzzing with either.


  41. I am starting to get a little frustrated with the way we are approaching these attack minded signings. We can’t shocked at the prices we are bing quoted… It now appears we bid £40m for Maddison now which is only about £8m than we paid for Botman. Reports suggest it will need £50m but it’s unlikley we will go to that level. I think some valuations seem to be a tad odd.

    I think it’s time to **** or get off the pot. Attacking players cost good money and if we are to progress we need these players. Otherwise we are left explaining to Bruno and Botman why were pottering about mid table.


  42. The Cornet one is a weird one for me. It felt like a foregone conclusion & then he didn’t feature for Burnley in their first game – I expected that one to move pretty quickly with him having a release clause.


  43. I was thinking maybe 50 mil for Maddison was too much but then I looked at his stats. Last year he had 12 goals in 35 games and the year before he had 8 in 31. Not sure about his assists. He’s 25.

    It seems like a no-brainer, and we weaken Leicester.

    I also think that Werner and Paqueta would work out but Maddison is already proven in the PL. The next Nobby Solano?


  44. Then all we need is backup/competition for Wilson and we are set (for now). I dont expect us to challenge Man City or Liverpool but we can take on Man U and Arsenal. When we get into Europe we can look at even better players. We have the money!!!


  45. Last word on Bruce. I really want him to fail. He has a decent squad and playoffs would be minimum. I dislike him even more than Arrogant Alan who was just stuck up his own @rse and thought he was much better than he was. Bruce believes his own hype but has nothing to show for it.

    I didnt even mind Ugly John Carver. I only thought the job was too big for him. His bluster was his personality but wasnt that annoying. He was dealt a terrible hand with injuries as well.

    No, the fraud Bruce is our worst Manager. Worst football I have ever seen.


  46. You are back Stewie!!! I have missed your sometimes acerbic, but usually spot on, comments.


  47. 4 games at 9 am here in Chicago on Sat. The problem is that there will be the remnants of the Red Bindippers who have the early game at 6.30. I still think I will go to the pub though as even the Scouse pushy lot are not as bad as the Mancs.

    I never quite understand how all of The Beatles and Cilla Black were funny, great and charming and all the Scouse fans are [email protected]


  48. The Mancs are even worse over here. I will tell you a true story about an Irish Man U fan in Chicago.

    Cup final, late ’90s and I went to a bar to watch. Ray was up in line to get beers and I said here’s the cash, get me one as well. He said “fck off you Geordie [email protected]”.

    A year later he was arrested by the FBI and deported to Manchester where he was put in Strangeways prison for rape. His American girlfriend was distraught and went back to visit him every day. She sent me a letter asking for support and to ask the American Govt to petition the British for his release.

    He got out on some technicality but was still banned from the US for 10 years.

    But there is more.

    This girl, who was so devoted to this Man U fan suffered an even bigger indignance. After living in Ireland for 5 years with him it turns out that the guy that called me a “geordie [email protected]” and was supposedly the biggest Man U fan ever was actually not going to the Man U games, but was visiting his new wife and family in England instead. Rhonda was devastaed and returned to the US.

    Man U “fans”, eh


  49. That’s a true story. Honestly! I couldn’t make this up. She also had her horse come back on a boat. It sounds like made up nonsense, but I promise you it is true. Bottom line is that I hate Man U fans after him!!! 🙂


  50. The Saudis offered Tiger Woods $700 million to play in their new golf league. The chairman is a Director of NUFC. Does anybody really think we will be backing off deals for 10 mil?!!?

    They are playing games at the minute and will pay for Maddison or Werner or whomever.



    They want us to be one of the top 5 clubs in the world. Bigger than Arsenal and Liverpool!

    It is only FFP and transfer embargoes that are a problem.

    Money is not the problem.

    Salary limits are not the problem.


  52. Salary Limits are a constraint. If our top earner is say 90k and ISAK wants 250k then there is a danger of upsetting the dressing room


  53. I disagree Prem. There are really only Bruno, ASM and maybe Botman who could get more money at another club. The rest dont really have any negotiating power as they are too old or not guaranteed 1st team places.


  54. Eric – if that is the case, what do you put the hold up to mate?. We got Botman done relatively quickly, what’s the hold up with the forwards?.

    I don’t think we can use what’s going on with LIV golf as a comparison or measure of what the football club can or should be doing. The golfers are effectively their own business & the likes of FFP isn’t a restriction – in fact LIV set the rules 🤷🏼‍♂️.


  55. I don’t mind the restrictions too much to be honest. I’ve always hated how Chelsea & City did it.

    I have no issue with this being a slow build – mid table/top 10 next season. That might not sound very ambitious, but I want long term success for the club not a short sharp spike like we had with SJH (that’s not taking anything away from that time – I loved it!!. But I want us up there season in season out).

    I like that we aren’t doing an Everton and spending a fortune on players like Sigurrdson, Moses Kean, Walcott and countless other overpriced average players.
    They wasted millions and look where they are now.

    We have added some excellent young players into the U23s this summer and are maybe 3 senior squad players off being where we want to be.

    But I think WH have recruited really well this window & I expect they will still be ahead of us.

    Teams I think finish above us –

    Man City
    Man Utd
    West Ham

    So 8th would be a very good season imo. Above exceptional.
    Around 10th, comfortable finish, no fear of relegation – not great but probably acceptable in the building process.


  56. Sharpy: the golf is a good barometer of what the Saudis will do to get a foothold in a sport. It is not just the 700 mil they offered Tiger Woods, I think they paid Dustin Johnson 300 mil and Mickleson even more than that. They are willing to offer stupid money for the sportswashing. If they do that for golf, boxing and F1 they will spend whatever they are allowed to at NUFC.


  57. I think we have as good of a team as WHam already and will add more attackers. Arsenal and Man U are also vulnerable. I think 5th or 6th is where we will end up.


  58. Just imagine. The Saudis paid Dustin Johnson, a golfer, who most people on here would not recognize on the street the same amount as they paid for Newcastle United. They will spend whatever their advisors say they can to stay within FFP. Money is not the issue. Wages are not the issue.


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