Newcastle 2 Southampton 2 Sunday 9 August 1.30pm
Newcastle – Cisse 42, Wijnaldum 48
Southampton – Pelle 24, Long 79
Our first competitive sighting of the three new signings and a new person in the managerial/head coach hotseat.
Southampton took six points and dealt out a 6-1 aggregate beating last season, so progress of some sort.
Steve McClaren helped put out a team that won one more point than those two other meetings with the Saints but better than that, United were a match for the visitors and suggested there was better to come.
Chancel Mbemba and Fabricio Coloccini were thrown together for the first time without even a friendly to prepare. Their partnership has promise but they look to have a weakness in the air judged on today’s performance, both goals coming from headers. Though it would help if there was more of an effort by their teammates to try and block the crosses…
Wijnaldum took his goal in great style as he headed (watch it HERE) in Obertan’s cross after a fast break, whilst Papiss Cisse was his usual unpredictable bag of tricks – showing poor control on a number of occasions but right place right time to score the equaliser from a couple of inches after a deflected cross looped over the keeper.
Obertan and Haidara were an unusual combination on the left and it showed, they each did a few decent things but if anybody doesn’t think that they were Newcastle’s weakest players, along with Vurnon Anita, then I would be very puzzled.
A bit like if you decorate your living room, you then look at the hallway and the dining room etc and think how shabby they look.
Bit the same with Wijnaldum who showed the deficiencies of others, whilst on the other hand we saw a much better Moussa Sissoko today as the new midfielder showed movement and threat that then allowed the French international more room to work in.
Sadly Siem de Jong looked totally off the pace as has been the case in pretty much all of the games, even as a late substitute he didn’t appear to have the pace to match the opposition.
Maybe the less said about the Mitrovic debut the better, after surviving a near red card (watch it HERE) only seconds after coming on, he wandered around for fifteen minutes not quite sure what he should be doing.
Clearly Wijnaldum is the class act of the new boys but Mbemba has signs of being a classy centre-back we’ve needed for some time, though a towering figure next to him (not Williamson) could well produce our best central defensive pairing for some time.
A day of more positives than negatives and entertainment for the fans.
I would have settled for that at 1.30pm today.
These are the key stats as provided by BBC Sport;
Possession was 56% Newcastle and 44% Southampton
Total shots was 9 for Newcastle and Southampton 15
Shots on target was Newcastle 4 and Southampton 5
While corners was Newcastle 6 and Southampton 6
Player ratings totals below from fans so far, add yours and then press submit.
(*Apologies – the system that provides the data has missed Mitrovic coming on for Cisse in the 75th minute, so the Serbian striker isn’t included).
Full match report to follow.
Team: Krul, Janmaat, Mbemba, Coloccini, Haidara, Colback, Anita (Tiote 68), Sissoko, Wijnaldum (de Jong 81), Obertan, Cisse (Mitrovic 75)
Unused Subs: Darlow, Taylor, Aarons, Perez
Ref: Craig Pawson
Crowd: 49,710 (1,250 Southampton)