We don’t carry player ratings as part of our match report but after putting it to the editorial team I was officially appointed as The Mag jury and here are my marks (out of 10) for the Manchester City match;

Krul (7)
Perch (6)
Coloccini (8)
Williamson (6)
Santon (8)
Gutierrez (7)
Tiote (8)
Cabaye (7)
Ben Arfa (7)
Ba (7)
Cissé (7)

Shola(7) (For Ben Arfa 74mins) 
Ryan Taylor (For Tiote 82mins)
Ferguson (7) (For Perch 74mins) 

A tough match against the team with certainly the best squad in the division, looking at the respective benches tells you all you need to know.

Manchester City brought people off the bench to find a different way of getting that killer first goal, any changes we could make effectively mean that we are replacing somebody with a weaker player.

All fourteen players couldn’t be faulted for effort though and if Ba or Ben Arfa had taken one of the half decent chances then who knows.

Against the very best maybe it was no surprise that our weaker areas were exploited in the end, Williamson looking shaky while City repeatedly targeted our right-back area.

On the other hand Santon showed how much he has now settled in and was my man of the match as he linked well with Jonas going forward and the two of them also looking comfortable when defending.

Tiote put in another massive effort in the middle and Coloccini held it together at the back as the visitors repeatedly probed.

Brownale69 5pts

Welcome to reality McClaren..........you have a bunch of losers to work with Good luck. If you can make a defense out of this lot then you deserve manager of the season the last idiot Carver thought he could and we nearly went down. The "old" guard will not improve.

mentalman 5pts

How is the squad even smaller now?

v0ices 5pts

@mentalman R Taylor gone not replaced santon gone not replaced need I carry on lets assume that Gini and Mbemba are Jonas and Mbwia replacements. Mitrovic can be bas replacement.

potski 5pts

Santon and Mbiwa weren't in the squad last year. What about Owen, or Woodgate, Given? Where are their replacements?

From the squad we ended the season (so far):

Alnwick, Guterriez, Ryan Taylor, Ameobi, Armstrong

Added to the squad (so far)

Darlow, Mbemba, Lascelles, Wijnaldum, Mitrovic

Others who you might want to count include Ferguson, Bigi and Marveaux who weren't in the squad last year. But I expect still several fringe players to go out on loan, and probably a couple might come in on loan.

We have had a 25 man squad every season. The overall size is not important.

Questions for Sam:

1. Is Darlow a better keeper than Alnwick?

2. If we have Mbemba and Lascelles in the squad, does that mean we are less likely to have to rely on makeshift CBs, like Janmaat and Dummett? Will a fit Mbemba be likely to keep Willo, Taylor or Collo on the bench?

3. Is Wijnaldum a far far better player than either Raylor or Gutteriez playing in centre midfield?

4. Is Mitrovic likely to be better than Rivi?

5. Did you see Krul throw the ball out to a midfielder? When was the last time that happened? He wasn't in the squad under Bobby Robson, so I guess it never happened before? Do we care whether Pardew's goal keeping coach has finally left?

6. Is there still a month of the transfer window left?

7. Was Rome built in a day?

Chemical Dave
Chemical Dave 5pts

In reply to your final question, after seven years of Ashley ownership we avoided relegation (for the second time) on the final day of the season, how long you planning on waiting ?

stepaylor 5pts

I agree with everything your saying and even liked the sarcasm. However, dummett is a far better centre back than full back so wasnt a make shift centre back. He played at centre back throughout his youth career

v0ices 5pts

@potski what rubbish are you talking of course those players started in the squad most of them left on loan later in the year you muppet.

potski 5pts

Mbiwa left on loan to Roma on 1 Sept 2014 (the last day of the transfer window). Santon left to Inter in January. He had been injured and missed most of the first half of the season. Although named in the official squad he played only one cup game in the 2014-15 season. He had been widely expected to leave in the summer of 2014, but because of his injury his transfer was delayed. He didn't want to be at the club and wanted to go back to Italy. He played no role in the first team squad at any point last year. He had already been replaced by Dummett and Haidara.

Oddly alot of people screamed incessantly to get rid of Santon and replace him with Haidara. Once that was done, then they have screamed incessantly about letting him go. That's why some of us suspect it doesn't really matter what the facts are. Haters gonna hate.

Hughie 5pts

Ask Charnley , not Ashley man!!

toon tony
toon tony 5pts

One more question Mike. ..Why don't you just £### off.????

NottsToon 5pts

Mike Ashley won't answer your questions, he leaves that to the "football board" ha ha.

We have a team that is (potentially) half Champions League, half Championship and will therefore finish mid table at best. However, on the evidence of what has been seen so far, that might be a tad optimistic.

Reading comments about Obertan and Gouffran being "useful from the bench" has made me chuckle this morning, some strange minds at work in this comments section.

v0ices 5pts

@Artie Fufkin @NottsToon and mike does not listen to functionaries at your level? Looks like the goodwill for his speech, appointing mcclaren and the good but not enough of them signings is already running low could be a uncomfortable season with tensions running very high, alll very sad really when all ashley has to do is stop milking the club and let it spend its own money.

Artie Fufkin
Artie Fufkin 5pts

@NottsToon Mike Ashley will not answer the questions because the author has sent it to a website and not to Mike Ashley. 

It tends to help if you address the questions to the right people. 

jim3maxwell 5pts

Mike Williamson and Steven Taylor are still at NUFC for three reasons

1.They have contracts,

2. nobody wants to sign them.and

3. they apparently seem to think they can still do a good job for us.

None of us, probably including the players themselves, is happy with this but it is still the reality of the situation.

PhilYare 5pts

@jim3maxwell absolutely mate, the fact that they are still here is a measure of how bad they are. They aren't going to run away from 30K a week to force a move to Scunthorpe

keeganRescueUs 5pts

The majority of the premiership embarked on long haul tours this pre season and all have an equally short pre season, I agree the Sheffield game should have been played later or not at all but I really cant,see why our pre,season is any more chaotic than anyone else.

Artie Fufkin
Artie Fufkin 5pts

@Chemical Dave I don't think McClaren was whinging, it's been interpretation by one of the Mag authors as chaotic but I've not seen a McClaren quote using 'chaotic'

potski 5pts

The Sheffield game, Chris Morgan's testimonial, we should have given a miss. Really? The Mag reported a few weeks ago, that it was arranged to benefit three charities including:

"the Trust set up after Speed’s death. Gary Speed managed the Blades after finishing his playing days, before then taking on the Wales job. Chris Morgan played under Gary Speed for Sheffield United and also counted him as a good friend."

Chris Morgan wanted Newcastle to play, to give the game a high profile and raise more money, and because Speedo was a legend for both clubs, and Carver was willing to oblige. About the only thing he did right while in control of the team.

Chemical Dave
Chemical Dave 5pts

Well we've been married 15 years but I'll sharp trade her in for a fly young honey if her standards slip.

As for brolly he's another of a long line of knackers with nowt to lose employed by the owner, appreciate you want to give him time to achieve a 10th place finish but personally I think the club is better than that and should be aiming to punch its weight.

stepaylor 5pts

Like wise in sure he would be sick of yours. He hasnt even played a competitive game yet and your quick to throw negativity at him. Suppose your wife isnt good enough for you either?

Jarmin Geordie
Jarmin Geordie 5pts

Forgot the question but Obertan isn't the answer

Artie Fufkin
Artie Fufkin 5pts

Fabricio Coloccini? he's injured, may move in this window. 

Eric Steele will be coaching the goalkeepers and Andy Woodman moved once we'd resolved the replacement and got Palace to cough up. 

Where is Cheick Tiote? Still injured

Why is Mike Williamson still here? He's under contact and in reality, he's a capable backup. 

Who is responsible for the "chaotic" pre-season schedule. Hardly chaotic, don't belive all you read in the Mag. When the US tour was announced, there were moans that we were not playing more high profile games, you can't have it all ways. 

Who is the Captain? - Collback

We will start with 3 new signings and players that were injured will return. Of the stating line up v Wham, the following will stat: Krul, Janmaat, Sissoko, Anita, Colback and it's a toss up if Cisse plays. Which one of those is a problem?

Steven Taylor has a contract and is good when fit (poor yesterday) and will be good with Mbemba providing mobility and speed.  

Nobody said new signings are dependent on clearing out surplus players,

The training ground is hardly poor.

Why am I still here? I really wonder why you write daft articles. 

Morpeth mag
Morpeth mag 5pts

You made some good points, but you lost it with " Mike Williamson is a capable back up" ,,,,he is awful and the only reason he is still at the club, is he is that bad, no one will buy him and pay his over inflated wages,,

As for stephen Taylor, he showed a lot of promise as a youngster, but this never materialised, he is a mistake waiting to happen, he is better than Williamson, but not by much,,,

RaySte 5pts

@Artie Fufkin People harping on about the pre-season schedule is doing my head in. Remaining fixtures:

Wednesday 5th
17.15 Tottenham v Bayern/ AC Milan
18.15 Tottenham v Bayern/ AC Milan 
20.00 Fiorentina v Chelsea

Thursday 6th
19.00 Astra v West Ham
19.00 Vitesse v Southampton 

So Soton play 2 days before they play us and we're whinging about the fixtures.

I'd be willing to bet most teams in the league were back in the UK after us, not before us.

v0ices 5pts

@Artie Fufkin @RaySte yeah those poor teams having to play in europe how awful for them lucky us we have no chance of getting near a european place in ashley we trust.

RaySte 5pts

@v0ices While I agree the club has shown a lack of ambition and competency the last few years, I don't see what it has to do with pre-season fixtures. The toon squad gets a week off, the spurs squad get 3 days off because they're playing a friendly in Germany. 

v0ices 5pts

@RaySte @v0ices I was replying with regards to soton who of course playing in europe on thursday. The total lack of preparation and lack of fitness is shocking and the managment and players should be ashamed.

potski 5pts

And my guess is all of these arrangements were made a long time ago, before it was decided that the season would start a week early because of the Euros next year.

Baldwin69er 5pts

Deluded, beyond doubt, you even watch football?

PhilYare 5pts

@Artie Fufkin williamson is capable back up???? are you kidding? maybe for the 4th tier of english football. Colback captain??? an ex mackem who isn't anything above very average? 

Our pre-season wasn't chaotic? lets be honest when the new manager and new players are complaining about it bearing in mindand  we've lost practically every game against nee ones reserves on the other side of the planet its slightly chaotic, not exactly morale boosting or exuding confidence

Who will steven taylor be marking then? a cone? 

and generally Newcastle United under mike ashley (how many years?) have had a consistent policy of selling so that's why we won't be surprised if players are sold even though we've bought a couple

anita is a problem because hes awful

plus there seems to be a huge problem in communcation, hence why we don't know what the hell is going on with tiote and coloccini

LeazesEnder 5pts

Yes where is Tiote, he's not injured?

nufcmag777 5pts

Our 1st team squad will include Willo,Gouffran,Obertan,Anita,Taylor all are either not good enough or injury prone.Ashley is gambling even more than last year with this squad.McClaren might be good but  Wenger would struggle with this team.God help us.

Artie Fufkin
Artie Fufkin 5pts

@nufcmag777 Anita played well yesterday and was of course great against West am. He's extremely suited to a passing / possession style of football so we may see his worth this time. Willo,Gouffran,Obertan are all useful on the bench and Taylor is OK when fit. 

Making stuff up and getting upset about it is silly

Artie Fufkin
Artie Fufkin 5pts

@Happyharrys2011 Hmmmm, Obertan is fast and can change things coming off the bench when we need to change things. Gouffy is a slightly more reliable version of the same so I'd happily let one go. 

Happyharrys2011 5pts

What the? Obertan useful? Ha ha ha ha ha ha aha aha aha aha ah aha aha aha aha aha aha aha aha aha aha aha aha aha aha aha aha aha ha aha aha lol. Sunday morning at the palladium!