Only 90 minutes into the new Premier League season and so many talking points for Newcastle United fans, thankfully a decent number of them are ‘good’ ones.
The three new signings all got varying amounts of pitch time, with Chancel Mbemba and Gini Wijnadlum starting against Southampton, whilst Aleksandar Mitrovic was a late sub for Papiss Cisse.
As the player ratings from the game show, thousands of voting United fans made Wijnaldum man of the match, whilst Chancel Mbemba also made a very decent start and showed he could be a real player once he settles in.
Mitrovic had an ‘energetic’ last quarter of an hour as a replacement for Papiss Cisse but after a booking only seconds after arriving onto the pitch, it summed up a lot of rough edges that need to be worked on before I can imagine he will start ahead of Cisse. Though it does still leave the intriguing possibility of the pair playing together.
The overall play was decent and easier on the eye than pretty much the whole of last season, with a draw being just about fair. The match probably best summed up by United starting the better team but the Saints finishing on top.
A brilliant goal from Wijnaldum and a real poacher’s one for Cisse were the highlights, but the defence let in two headers which suggested that there is still plenty to work on, before Newcastle are the finished product under Steve McClaren.
Two big talking points were starters Obertan and Anita, with the pair splitting fans right down the middle. You either see born again players, or two teammates who put in rare ok displays against years of showing they are not good enough for the Premier League.
As often is the case, we are looking at a glass half full or half empty scenario and we will probably see the balance shifting, one way or another, within the next 18 days….
The remainder of the transfer window.
A home Capital One Cup match (and team selection) against Northampton Town.
Plus of course three tough PL matches against Swansea, Man Utd and Arsenal.
Sunday suggested something better and let’s hope that the next 18 day trial backs up the fact that it wasn’t a false dawn.