Newcastle 2 Hellas Verona 0 – Sunday 6 August 3pm

A very comfortable afternoon and win for Newcastle United in their final pre-season friendly.

A crowd of almost twenty four thousand (23,906, including around 250 Hellas Verona fans) seeing some good attacking play from United, with plenty of chances created.

Going two up in the first 12 minutes through Perez and Atsu, further goals were prevented by wasteful finishing, some decent saves, and in Ritchie’s case, the woodwork.

After only four minutes a sweeping move saw Manquillo released down the right and his low cross was smartly converted by Ayoze Perez as he shot across the goalkeeper.

Eight minutes later this became two, Christian Atsu powering home an effort from a tight angle into the roof of the net.

Mitrovic could have had a hat-trick as he put a few efforts wide and saw the keeper equal to another, whilst Perez and Shelvey also came close to making it three.

With this seemingly the eleven who will start against Tottenham, there were no changes at the break and this team got a full 64 minutes together before Rafa Benitez protected his team with sweeping changes, as eight came off and were replaced.

The ninth and final sub used in the 72nd minute when Siem de Jong came on for goalscorer Ayoze Perez. The Dutchman saw one powerful effort well saved, whilst after Murphy was brought down a couple of yards outside the box, Ritchie was unlucky when his free-kick came back off the post with the keeper well beaten.

Aarons looked lively and he had a couple of efforts on target but the score ended 2-0 at the final whistle.

After being deservedly beaten at Mainz, Newcastle have ended their friendly schedule with wins against what was effectively a Wolfsburg reserve side and a Hellas Verona outfit that offered absolutely nothing.

Some decent attacking play in both games by Newcastle and few problems at the back, though with today’s match being almost an attack against defence practice workout, not sure how it will translate into the Premier League action starting next Sunday.

The good news is that top performers from last season: Hayden, Shelvey, Ritchie and Clark are all looking on top of their games. Whilst adding to that, Lejeune has seamlessly fitted in and Manquillo has done ok these last couple of matches with Yedlin injured.

Atsu looked sharp today and Merino & Murphy suggest they have something to offer, though it looks as though they will be starting on the bench next Sunday.

On the negative side, Dwight Gayle has joined DeAndre Yedlin on the injured list with what the Chronicle describes as a ‘hamstring niggle’. Only playing minutes against Mainz and then missing Wolfsburg and Hellas Verona, it isn’t what we wanted to see and surely he won’t be starting against Spurs – let’s hope it is just a niggle.

Mohamed Diame was tried as a kind of ‘false number nine’ for part of the Wolfsburg game and today Matt Ritchie ended up doing the same…we really do need at least one more striker to come in or else it is asking for trouble.

After the game Rafa Benitez suggested that Dwight Gayle could be in the squad next Sunday but surely he won’t be considered as a starter after so little football the past three matches and a chance of aggravating his ‘niggle’ if asked to start.

Newcastle 2 Hellas Verona 0

Sunday 6 August 3pm


Newcastle: Perez 4, Atsu 12

Newcastle United:

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)

The full first team and reserve/Under 23 pre-season schedules have been as follows:

The first team friendlies:

Friday 14 July – Hearts 1 Newcastle 2

Saturday 22 July – Preston 1 Newcastle 1

Wednesday 26 July – Bradford 0 Newcastle 4

Saturday 29 July – Mainz 2 Newcastle 1

Wednesday 2 August – Wolfsburg 1 Newcastle 3

Sunday 6 August – Newcastle 2 Hellas Verona 0

Under 23/Reserves pre-season friendlies:

Monday 17 July – Darlington 1 Newcastle 2

Saturday 22 July – Gateshead 0 Newcastle 3

Tuesday 25 July – Whitley Bay 0 Newcastle 0

Thursday 27 July – Celtic 1 Newcastle 2

Saturday 29 July – AZ Alkmaar 1 Newcastle 4

  • glassjawsh-got-banned

    I liked the suggestion that Rafa left Gayle out on purpose in order to show the board how thin we really are up front. It’d be a masterstroke mindgame move if true. Too bad the owner and MD lack the requisite “mind” needed for something like that to register.

    • TheFatController

      I doubt Rafa and Charnley need to play a game like that.

      How would that work when you look at the situation as it is ? We have sold out 3rd choice striker (Murphy) so they both know they need one more striker in.

      Then Rafa today showed that if his first choice striker (£10m) is injured he plays his second choice (£13m).

      So, it seems clear (and I am sure they know it) that they need a bargain 3rd choice ‘ play rarely’ striker (Joselu?) or sell Mitro to sign new first / second choice…

      We have the luxury of three £10m+ strikers when we only play one …

      • Steve Smith

        Just had a really awful thought in the back off what you just mentioned.

        Rafa as a manager is known to use only one striker. Strikers are the most expensive players on the pitch.

        Signing him up as a manager would be a hell of a way to cutback on transfer costs….

    • StevieB

      He shouldn’t have to play those games though. That can’t have been part of his “discussion” with mike Ashley after the title win .

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    hard to believe that Gayle will be in the squad next week, the guy has consistently had hamstring problems for the last 2 years & missed a total of 40 games in that time.
    Slomo as a false No 9 takes the biscuit. We need a striker this week !

    • nevfur

      Yeah False being the operative word there

  • Steve Pearce

    Whether Gayle’s “hamstring tweak” is genuine or not, Rafa is forcing the acquisition of a new striker. On the subject of “unwanted” players, surely their contracts could be simply terminated as they are surplus to requirements. In the real world this is called redundancy and its about time football got off its high horse and adopted real world employment policies which would scrap transfer fees and cut these obscene wages. Then you’d see true sportsmen who play for love not money as what is better than being paid to do the the thing you love?

    • glassjawsh-got-banned

      I would rather those “obscene” amounts of money go to the players than the super rich owners or slimeball agents!

      • Burt Humperdink

        But that’s not how the real world works why would anyone spends hundreds of millions of pouns on a club to watch overpaid chavs and agents get more money than them? There has to be a happy medium somewhere.

    • grantham mag

      Here, Here.

  • Wor Lass

    Well done, Joe – you`ve managed to give the lads absolutely no credit for their performances pre season. Back to the Echo is it, now?

    • Soldier

      comprehensively beaten by Mainz a win against Wolfsburgs reserves & today a decent result against a newly promoted team as are we.
      the real world begins next Sunday

      • Wor Lass

        I just think we`ve got a bunch of mainly young lads who are together and want to play for us led by a manager who`s a tactical master and a top person. We do desperately need more but let`s give the boys who are out there a bit of credit for what they do.

        • Santii

          What you mean support the team you mean.. Are you mental we don’t support the team. We slag every single player as much as humanly possible.

          All we care about is mike Ashley, so we have to continually keep talking about him in every single post possible.

          Who gives a f*ck about the squad or the manager.

          • Alex

            “We slag every single player as much as humanly possible.”

            Eh? Are you being a moron deliberately, or does it come naturally?

          • Mal

            Don’t you understand irony?

          • Santii

            Haha pretending all the anti nufc fans don’t…

            At least going by any of your previous posts.. You’re a grade a simpleton. so you probably can’t understand half the stuff you read so i will let you off this time.

  • MadMag83

    We desperately need a new striker.

  • magpiefifer

    Here we go again!!!
    A PL season starts a week today,and I fear the worst unless we get in some PL quality players.

    • Little Pedro

      Was at the match today, thought. We looked pretty sharp actually, there is an obvious need for a striker, and I imagine the squad is not the finished article but on the whole there was more positives than negatives , (ps ) thought the Verona fans were quality . H.T.L

  • Rich Lawson

    I enjoyed it,even tho’ the expected goal rush didn’t come after two quick and excellent strikes.We looked good,with some great passing and alot of players having good games.I know Verona aren’t top notch but it has to be good for the lads confidence,and we still have another week before Spurs.

  • Mrkgw

    I saw that’s Anita had a good game on his debut for Leeds. I don’t think that we should have let him go as the fiasco surrounding signings drags on. Ashley & Charnley out!

    • Clarko


      • Down Under Mag

        Yeah, I was one who said he should have been kept on as he was always very professional for us…BUT we have a replacement so that is one i’m happy to go along with. The lack of forward options is a much more pressing concern!

  • Cuh736

    Mitrovic to hit double figures by december

    • foggy

      dream on

    • alex carr

      funny stuff he won’t all season hes just sadly not very good at football.

      • Taz

        He’s fkn shocking

  • Down Under Mag

    We may be lacking cover up front but the positive is that we are still creating chances and still scoring goals. Mitro should be stepping up and the fact he is still missing chances is worrying if we do not get any more cover in for Gayle. I also thought Perez would have progressed more than he has, still a decent player but hasn’t gone on to be the player I thought he would become. I certainly think we need another proven goalscorer BUT that isn’t going to be easy to come by with the current finances…I suspect we will go in against Spurs with what we have and any further deals will be done in some slap dash manner before the window closes. I expect we are going to offload more and THEN we will probably see some additions…not before. Fingers crossed Gayle stays fit!

    • Soldier

      against opposition that is nowhere near premiership standard

  • foggy

    What I’d do with Mitrovic is hire a specialist striker coach / personal trainer and have him work on his positioning / hold up play / lay off play / finishing. Maybe Supermac might be interested.

    • Andy Mac

      If you could keep him sober ?🤔

    • Taz

      Or better still get rid of the bag of sheeeite

  • Andy Mac

    “Mohamed Diame was tried as a kind of ‘false number nine’ for part of the Wolfsburg game” Most of last season he was tried as a false player ?