Newcastle 2 Hellas Verona 0 – Sunday 6 August 3pm
With a ridiculous hangover, tickets for a match bought instead of attending a Christening (huge bad books) and my two sons likely dragging me to the bogs ten times,meant I wasn’t sure how this one was going to go on a personal level against Hellas Verona at SJP.
However, I enjoyed every minute of it, as did the boys.
The lads dressed in the lovely all black strip absolutely bossed the game and could (should) have won by a cricket score.
Cracking little crowd showed up for a game which hardly screamed ‘high profile’ and we looked sharper than the Italians of Serie A.
The team started with what I think is 95% of that which will take on Spurs next Sunday.
Elliott, Manquillo, Clark, Lejeune, Dummett, Atsu, Hayden, Shelvey, Perez, Mitro and last, and certainly by no means least, Ritchie.
After not having the ball for a couple of minutes and with Verona looking like they’d had three Weetabix, it looked like it would be a decent test, but then Perez scored after some neat interplay on the right and the ball being fizzed across to Ayoze from Manquillo.
Sitting in the Gallowgate and having eyes like Mr Magoo – didn’t help me see the finish, but a good move nonetheless.
After that, it was all Newcastle. When I say that, I mean ALL Newcastle.
From back to front we worked the ball well but one man in particular was a gleaming bald head and shoulders above the rest.
Aye, Jonjo Shelvey – take a bow. The lad was absolutely magnificent. He looks lean, he looks like he means business. On this form I’m really excited to see what the season brings for him – but he’ll not get the space afforded to him against Spurs that he got today.
Let Jonjo have space and he will kill you. Verona didn’t get anywhere near him!
He then pinged a ball towards Mitro who went to control it and as he was in his slippers, went down like a lady wrestler on a jellied tarpaulin, and the ball dropped to Atsu who absolutely rifled it in for two nowt.
The little man Atsu was having an absolute field day. His full-back will be having nightmares about him. If he plays like this then he is a definite starter this coming season.
After that it was a case of how many we would rack up against a team that resorted to hoying themselves to the ground for minutes on end, even if they felt someone coming within ten country miles of messing their hair up. Quite embarrassing really, to the point where their number nine was hauled to his feet by another star performer Magic Hat Matt.
Second-half brought a bit of noise from the corner and the advertising signage taking a bit of a pasting from many a fan’s hand. Verona had their own little mob of travelling fans and to be fair to them had a bit of a go back – good on them for making the trip. Enjoy the summer weather chaps!
Rafa changed eight players at once and at that point fresh legs in Aarons and Murphy kept up the good work of the first team. Tell you what, Aarons is rapid. Should have scored too but not the only one fluffing his lines.
Ritchie was now playing almost as a striker off De Jong, who is back from the dead with a shiny new head. Matt could easily have added a couple with a cracking effort on his left peg having brought it down quickly, then a free kick in perfect position right at the end coming back off the post.
If we had scored six or seven, they really couldn’t have complained.
More clinical finishing next week please and a new striker for Rafa, before he combusts.
Marks for the starters XI –
Elliott (7) zilch to do
Manquillo (7) busy and tried to link with winger
Clark (8) too easy
Lejeune (8) strolled it
Dummett (7) had a couple of shots and worked well with Atsu
Atsu (9) pure whippet
Hayden (7) steady
Shelvey (9)* oozed class
Perez (8) decent game, worked hard
Mitro (6) bit of a stinker
Ritchie (9) excellent all game
Newcastle 2 Hellas Verona 0
Sunday 6 August 3pm
Newcastle: Perez 4, Atsu 12
Elliot (Darlow 64), Manquillo (Gamez 64), Lejeune (Mbemba 64), Clark (Lascelles 64), Dummett (Aarons 64), Ritchie, Shelvey (Merino 64), Hayden, Atsu (Murphy 64), Pérez (de Jong 72), Mitrović (Diame 64)
Crowd: 23,906 (Approx 250 Verona)
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