Newcastle United 0 Borussia Monchengladbach 1
Newcastle rounded off their pre season programme with a fourth defeat in seven games but facing their toughest opposition of the summer, the performance was a step up on what had been seen so far.
Borussia Monchengladbach were third in the Bundesliga last season and are looking forward to Champions League football this coming season – so a fair display from United against a decent team.
The first half saw the Germans on top but without creating a great deal, more comfortable on the ball than Newcastle they controlled possession, the home side showing virtually nothing until the last five minutes of the half. Prior to that only a header just over the bar from Williamson was United’s only contribution in attack, a positive sign though even if it is only a new tactic of delivering the ball at pace and getting your team to attack the ball!
The visitors getting into good positions in that first 45 but never testing Tim Krul with off target shooting, whilst Wijnaldum and Cisse went close in those final few minutes before the break.
Surprisingly no changes at half-time for Newcastle with fans anticipating at least a half each for the other two new boys.
However, within seconds of the restart Moussa Sissoko was unlucky to see his effort hit the crossbar with the keeper beaten. With Janmaat then putting in a decent ball that Wijnaldum could only direct straight at Sommer in the visitors’ goal.
With half an hour to go, seven subs are introduced, including Aarons and the other two new signings.
However, only a few minutes later Monchengladbach striker, with substitute Thorgan Hazard (Belgian international and brother of Eden – recent buy from Chelsea) finishing from the edge of the box.
Aarons looking relatively dangerous since he came on and goes down claiming a penalty but nothing doing, de Jong’s introduction for what is becoming a regular occurrence also helps United in getting a bit better possession.
With five minutes to go it is the former Ajax man who sets Mitrovic up for a chance you’d hope he would bury but it hits the post and the chance of an equaliser has gone.
Newcastle beaten by the better team but played relatively ok, as for lessons learnt from today?
Well nothing earth shattering. We struggled to create and Aarons once again looks our best bet in that direction despite having to come off the bench.
Mitrovic had plenty of effort and no doubt like all strikers a few goals will help him settle, whether that should be in a partnership with Papiss Cisse or as a sole marksman is down to opinion.
Apart from Janmaat the defence still looks on the brink when put under any pressure, whilst I think Colback and Sissoko need to step up their games and take more responsibility if Newcastle are to start the season with any purpose.
Not sure we learnt much about Mbemba today but Wijnaldum does look the part and needs help from Steve McClaren and those around him to unleash the midfielder’s potential at St James Park.
Newcastle United: Krul, Janmaat (Mbemba 61), Williamson, Taylor, Haidara, Anita (de Jong 75), Colback, Sissoko (Perez 82), Obertan (Aarons 61), Wijnaldum, Cisse (Mitrovic 61)
Unused Subs: Darlow, Bigirimana, Ferguson, Lascelles, Abeid, Gouffran, Kemen
Ref: Jon Moss