I don’t know about you, but for me this international break has in some ways felt even longer than a summer without football.
In our case we have had the extreme, early Saturday lunchtime kick-off against Arsenal and then Monday night at Upton Park, meaning it is 16 and a half days rather than a straight two weeks.
Post-Arsenal it has very much had a feel of unfinished business, the opening four matches not helping us to any real conclusions about the new look Newcastle United.
The nature of the game against the Gunners didn’t help either, a spirited performance but no points, set against a backdrop of a feeling of total injustice as the fans railed against referee Andre Marriner. Even upsetting poor Ian Wright’s delicate sensibilities.
It was like a TV cliffhanger, to be continued next week, or as in our case, two weeks.
We have seen glimpses of potentially something better and of substance from Steve McClaren’s team, but the final whistle against Arsenal simply left us hanging….
Waiting to see if the fight shown by the players against both Manchester United and Arsenal can be backed up with added creativity and goals against West Ham, then taken forward from there.
I think that’s why these past ten or eleven days have been particularly tedious, Newcastle fans still aren’t sure what they have got on the pitch this season.
All four new signings have had their moments but they have been just fleeting glimpses, not concrete evidence as to whether they will individually or collectively be a success this season.
Similarly, Fabricio Coloccini has looked back to his best against Arsenal & Man Utd but suspect against both Swansea and Southampton.
We are waiting to see this new look team take a game by the scruff of the neck and put down a marker as to what we have to look forward to this season.
Another five days to go, including a whole weekend of Premier League football, to endure before we can once again let off steam and see whether that cliffhanger after the Arsenal final whistle has been worth waiting for.
There is talk this morning of Ayoze Perez and Siem de Jong potentially both starting and Papiss Cisse left on the bench, the one big positive compared to last season is that Newcastle at least now, on paper anyway, have far more options at the attacking end of the pitch to choose from.
The challenge now for McClaren is how to get the likes of Wijnaldum, Thauvin, de Jong and others to transfer their goal threat from past clubs/countries into the Premier League.
Let’s hope we aren’t left with any/many more cliffhangers.
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