Newcastle completed their 6th pre-season friendly game this afternoon at St. James’ Park against Italian club Hellas Verona.
Newcastle scored two good goals in the first 12 minutes of the game and then cantered through the remain 78 minutes with the home side being superior to the visitors in almost every aspect of play and came out winners by 2-0.
This was good preparation for the Premier League starting for Newcastle next Sunday at home to Tottenham, and the team looked compact and very well organized.
The squad was missing top goalscorer Dwight Gayle, who apparently has been nursing a knock and local lad Jack Colback was also left out of the squad.
Newcastle wore their black strips which looked just terrific!
Newcastle players celebrate after early goal
Verona is managed by former Newcastle assistant coach Fabio Pecchia who left us last year for pastures new in his home country of Italy and like Rafa got the relegated side immediately promoted back to the top division.
It was really no contest this afternoon, and the scoreline of 2-0 did not represent Newcastle’s complete dominance, and Rafa had the lads playing well and fighting for every ball – and yet it’s still only preseason.
The fight and passion shown by our players really augers well for the coming season – we will not be an easy side to beat because of our organization and every player is willing to put everything in for the team.
The crowd of 23,906, was a little disappointing but the game was over in the first 12 minutes with Newcastle finding holes in the Verona defense almost at will.
After four minutes Javier Manquillo got down the right wing well and put over a good cross, and it was Spanish forward Ayoze Perez who put the ball into the back of the net past goalkeeper Nicholson at the near post.
And then just 8 minutes later and it was another goal from Christian Atsu in pre-season as he confidently put the ball home from a narrow-angle.
And maybe we are going to see more goals from the Ghanaian winger who has had an outstanding preseason for the Magpie since signing permanently for us in June after being on loan last term.
But still for the number of chances we created we only scored twice, and maybe this will persuade those at the top of the club to bring in one or maybe even two strikers to the club during this transfer window so we can convert more of the chances we are creating.
It was a problem we had last season in the Championship, and we should be fixing that this pre-season.
In the second half, Rafa made a bevy of changes bringing on nine players giving a home debut to impressive holding midfielder Mikel Merino – who could well be a star of the future at Newcastle.
But we still couldn’t score even though Matt Ritchie hit the post with one of those free-kicks of his and young winger Rolando Aarons was really close with a header.
In short – Newcastle were utterly dominant in this game, and yet it was still only 2-0.
That tells us we are still too weak in the striker position.
That’s four wins in the six preseason games with a draw and one defeat.
Now to beat Spurs next Sunday afternoon!
Newcastle: Elliot (Darlow, 64), Manquillo (Murphy, 64), Lejeune (Lascelles, 64), Clark (Mbemba, 64), Dummett (Gamez, 64), Ritchie, Shelvey (Merino, 64), Hayden, Atsu (Aarons, 64), Perez (de Jong, 72), 64), Mitrovic (Diame, 64)..
Hellas Verona: Nicholas, Bearzotti, Fares, Buchel, Kumbulla, Souprayen, Zucilini, Bessa, Verde, Cerci, Pazzini.
Goals: Perez 4, Atsu 12
Referee: Neil Swarbrick (Preston)