Newcastle played to a goalless draw with Sporting Kansas tonight in brutal heat at the Livestrong Sporting Park.
Ben Arfa – it’s a twisted ankle
Newcastle started with Tim Krul back in goal, and Fabricio Coloccini captaining the side for the first time since being appointed Newcastle’s new captain by manager Alan Pardew.
Dan Gosling also got his first start for newcastle and Demba Ba, Sylvain Marveaux and Ben Arfa were also on show:
Newcastle United– Tim Krul, Ryan Taylor, Fabricio Coloccini (c), Steven Taylor, Dan Gosling. Jonas Gutierrez, Cheik Tiote, Hatem Ben Arfa, Sylavin Marveaux, Demba Ba, Peter Lovenkrands.
Subs- Fraser Forster, Steve Harper, Mehdi Abeid, Shola Ameobi, Leon Best, Danny Simpson, Alan Smith.
The two National anthems were played, which is the customary start to games over here, and Jonas Gutierrez was at left back, with Dan Gosling playing in the middle of the park with hard man Cheick Tiote.
As expected, Ben Arfa was playing up front with Demba Ba, and Peter Lovenkrands was out on the right wing.
Early in the game Gutierrez shielded the ball well from Jeferson as he seemed to impede the player, and the crowd called for a penalty, but it seemed an okay challenge from the Argentine International.
Then Ben Arfa showed his stuff with some absolute brilliance as he combined well with Peter Lovenkrands, and he beat two men (easily) and got around the goalkeeper but his shot hit the outside of the post – but sheer brilliance from the French International.
Sporting Kansas did have a couple of chances but couldn’t even test Dutch International goalkeeper Tim Krul.
And Sylvain Marveaux went close after 21 minutes when his shot was mishandled by goalkeeper Eric Kronberg, but the ball went just wide of the post.
But then Ben Arfa was fouled by Espinoza on 30 minutes, and he got a yellow card for the strong challenge, but agony for the Frenchman as he was stretchered off – oh no!
After some delay local lad Shola Ameobi came on to replace the injured Frenchman.
Newcastle played some nice football in the first half and new boy Marveaux looked good on a couple of occasions – good to see him playing again.
Half time came with the scores still level and some good news for Newcastle fans is that Ben Arfa was taken off as a precaution, and the injury does not appear to be serious, and it seems a twist of his ankle.
For the second half 19 year-old James Tavernier replaced Sylvain Marveaux, Cheik Tiote was substituted by 18 year-old new boy Mehdi Abeid and Alan Smith replaced Peter Lovenkrands.
The game had been fairly even in the rather intense heat and after 55 minutes, there were still no shots on target from either side.
Mehdi Abeid again looked good in the middle of the park for Newcastle and sprayed some beautiful passes around – this lad could be a terrific signing by Newcastle.
As half expected the second half play slowed down, and the play was not as combative as during the first half, but that had to be expected due to the intense heat.
Kansas City’s Diop hit a shot from 20 yards but still didn’t bother Tim Krul in goal, and the ball flew over the cross bar.
James Tavernier played at left back, and Jonas Gutierrez moved forward into his left wing spot.
And Gutierrez was starting to show some good form and flair in his more familiar position out on the left.
With the intense heat the game petered out a little, but a good crowd of 16,131 was announced, and that’s pretty close to a full house.
And near the end of the game, Kansas City’s Sapong hit a beautiful shot from 18 yards out but goalkeeper Tim Krul moved sharply to his left to make an excellent save and keep his clean sheet.
So it ended 0-0 but the lads gave a good account of themselves, and we saw some skillful play from the Magpies.
Two clean sheets for Newcastle in their first two pre-season games.
Again, the news is that Ben Arfa’s injury is not serious, and he seems to have twisted his ankle, but seeing the mercurial Frenchman on a stretcher again was not good for the Newcastle fans- that’s for sure.