Newcastle played well this afternoon against a good Borussia Monchengladbach side, and were unlucky to lose after hitting the woodwork twice and giving away a very poor goal after 65 minutes, which basically showed where the weakness of Newcastle lies – in defense.
Right out of the blue and against the run of play after Steven Taylor had the ball but lost possession in the penalty box, and the ball was played quickly to Thorgan Hazard, the brother of Eden Hazard – who had the ball in the back of the net quickly, giving Tim Krul no chance.
That was the difference between the two sides.
Goalkeeper Sommer saves in the first half of today
But this Newcastle team showed some good creativity and good passing today, and Steve McClaren will be (very) happy with what he saw today.
Both Chancel Mbemba and Aleksandar Mitrovic came on after 61 minutes and Aleksandar hit the woodwork with just four minutes to go.
Mitrovic replaced Cisse up front but Mbemba came on at right back in place of Daryl Janmaat to get a taste of football at St. James’ Park.
From what we saw from Mbemba and Mitrovic in the second half this afternoon they look like very good signings for the club.
Gabby Obertan played well before being replaced by Rolando Aarons half way through the second half and Rolando was again lively and a a handful for the Monchengladbach defense.
McClaren has said in pre-season he wanted to see good performances from the side, and the results were secondary – and he got a good performance today.
This is how we saw the game today:
Both sides started the game slowly trying to keep possession on a bright sunny afternoon in Newcastle with the home side in their new clean-looking white and light blue strips.
Borussia had a decent attack in the first few minutes but Dahoud’s shot was just wide of the post.
Newcastle were playing good passing football, and Gabby Obertan was showing up well down the left wing and after 16 minutes the Frenchman made a good run but the ball was blocked for a corner.
Jack Colback was taking all the corners with his left foot, and from this one Mike Williamson got upn well and headed just over the cross-bar – a good effort by Newcastle.
After 17 minutes there was a minute’s applause for Liam Sweeney and John Alder who were killed in the MH17 disaster last year – and that was very nice – and it looks like the fans will keep this up for this season – very good.
After 22 minutes Rafael had an excellent shot which was only just wide of Tim Krul’s right hand post with the goalkeeper scrambling across his line.
Both sides were playing some nice football if a little slow at times, but it was good to watch.
Towards the end of the first half Newcastle started to show well and were attacking the German side, and after 38 minutes we really should have scored.
Sissoko made a good run down the right wing and pulled it back to Cisse, who hit it but didn’t connect with the ball properly and it went to Wijnaldum who also couldn’t get a good foot on the ball.
And the ball ended up rolling straight to goalkeeper Sommer – but we should have definitely scored there with two separate chances in succession.
Newcastle were starting to attack Monchengladbach and Colback played a short left wing corner to Haidara, and the Frenchman’s shot was only just saved by the goalkeeper diving to his left – a well worked corner and good play from Newcastle.
Then just before half time Cisse headed the ball only just wide from a good Haidara cross, and the whistle blew for half-time.
Steve McClaren would have been pleased with the first 45 minutes with Newcastle looking fairly solid at the back and starting to make some good creatives moves forward.
An encouraging first half from the lads in bright sunshine.
There were no changes by either team at half-time and almost immediately a Sissoko shot cannoned back off the cross-bar, and Cisse’s follow-up shot was wide.
A quick breakaway by Monchengladbach had Tim Krul diving low to his left to block the ball – a good save from Tim who seems to be back to his best.
After 62 minutes McClaren made three changes – with Rolando Aarons replacing Obertan, Mitrovic replacing Cisse and Mbemba replacing Janmaat at right back.
But then Thorgan Hazard, the brother of Eden put Borussia Monchengladbach ahead after 65 minutes and the goal was right out of the blue, and against the run of play.
It was poor play from Steven Taylor at center-back who couldn’t clear, and he was dispossessed inside the box and the ball was played straight to Hazard – and he scored easily after only being on the pitch for four minutes – a bad mistake at this level.
It was a gift of a goal from Newcastle and showed our weakness in defense.
If you want to see what needs fixing in this Newcatsle team just look at the way that goal was conceded.
On 74 minutes a good Mike Williamson ball into box was headed well by Aleksandar Mitrovic.
And then Siem de Jong came on for Vurnon Anita after 75 minutes.
Rolando Aarons was showing up well on the left wing.
After 82 minutes a beautiful move by Monchengladbach ended up with a shot being only just wide of Tim Krul’s right hand post, with the Dutchman again scrambling across his line.
Ayoze Perez then came on for Sissoko and there was warm applause for both players from the appreciative Newcastle crowd.
Newcastle were forcing the game now and trying to get an equalizer and the lads created a number of corners.
And then amazingly a great move by Newcastle after 86 minutes ended up with Siem de Jong playing it back to Aleksandar Mitrovic who hit the post from 8 yards out with a crisp right foot shot – and that was unlucky and it happened so quickly.
The game played was played out and we lost, but Steve McClaren will have been pleased with what he saw today from his Newcastle players.
There was good organization of the team and even some creativity from set plays but we must sign at least one more top defender – that’s the message coming out of how we lost this game.
And it was a good crowd of just over 21,000 at St. James’ Park this afternoon, and a sell-out is expected for Southampton a week tomorrow to start our season off.
Newcastle (4-2-3-1): Tim Krul (c); Daryl Janmaat (Chancel Mbemba 62), Mike Williamson, Steven Taylor, Massadio Haidara; Vurnon Anita (Siem de Jong 75), Jack Colback; Moussa Sissoko (Ayoze Perez 81), Georginio Wijnaldum, Gabriel Obertan (Rolando Aarons 62); Papiss Cisse (Aleksandar Mitrovic 62)
Subs not used: Karl Darlow, Shane Ferguson, Jamaal Lascelles, Gael Bigirimana, Olivier Kemen, Mehdi Abeid, Yoan Gouffran
Borussia Monchengladbach (4-4-2): Yann Sommer; Tony Jantschke (c) (Roel Brouwers 76), Andreas Christensen, Marvin Schulz (Havard Nordtveit 76), Oscar Wendt (Alvaro Dominguez 61); Ibrahima Traore (Marlon Ritter 84), Granit Xhaka (Julian Korb 76), Mahmoud Dahoud (Fabian Johnson 61), Patrick Herrmann (Josip Drmic 61); Lars Stindl, Raffael (Thorgan Hazard 61)
Subs not used: Tobias Sippel, Branimir Hrgota
Referee: Jon Moss