Saturday finished Newcastle 1 Tottenham 2.

A bit of a game of two halves, Spurs well on top in the early stages, then Newcastle the better and more threatening team after the break.

However, the visitors held on for the three points, the woodwork saving Lloris and his teammates twice in that second half.

The Editor asked me beforehand to write about 3 positives and 3 negatives from the game.

Here goes…

POSITIVES

Competitive

Obviously we can’t ignore the fact that Tottenham had their own issues to contend with coming into this match. Nine of the squad, including many/most of their best players only returning to training on the Monday before the game at St James Park.

On the other hand though, Newcastle fans would in an instant swap their worries for those of the visitors, an understrength squad seeing key signings arrive too late to take part in pre-season, not to mention NUFC ended up with no net spend, instead making the Premier League’s biggest summer transfer profit.

Anyway, looking at the match solely based on what you saw, the good news is that Newcastle were competitive. I don’t think any neutral would have claimed the Magpies didn’t deserve at least a draw.

Spurs looked good on the ball, as you would expect with the quality they have. However, Newcastle looked capable of scoring against one of the best teams and scored one very good one, then hit the woodwork twice. Kenedy also wasting the chance of the game when one on one with Lloris.

New boys

The introduction of Rondon and Muto gave Newcastle two things, more threat going forward and also a higher workrate from the front pair.

Their chasing down of the Spurs defence, particularly with Muto, was a number of levels above what we get with Joselu and Perez. Hopefully this will mean Newcastle can play a more pressing game much of the time this season.

The Fans

As is often the case, the atmosphere is very reliant on what happens on the pitch these days. So, it was disappointing much of the time but came to life when the team did, especially in that second half when Spurs were pushed back.

However, considering everything that is thrown at them, it is great to see how the fanbase sticks with both Rafa and the team, whilst at the same time trying to deal with Mike Ashley. A magnificent turnout of a couple of thousand fans outside Sports Direct pre-match, in Newcastle city centre, was brilliant. Even better, everybody behaved and ensured the reporting was all positive from the media willing to treat the situation objectively.

NEGATIVES

Ayoze Perez

Rafa Benitez once again made clear that a new number 10 was a big priority this summer, once again he wasn’t backed to get one. Arguably the most important position in the team in the modern game, Perez for me is completely unreliable.

As has been the case in his Newcastle career so far, he has the odd hot spell, such as at the end of last season. However, only two goals before 31 March 2018 last season, and very few assists, tells the story. Not a bad player but for me, no way is he good enough to be first choice in the Premier League and sooner rather than later surely Muto and Rondon will be first choice.

The Defence

It was always going to be tough matching the defensive quality of last season, especially then so with the double handicap of Rafa not being properly backed with transfer funds AND then Florian Lejeune picking up that serious injury. The friendlies had suggested not everything was great at the back but with Rafa unable to play a first choice team in those pre-season games, you thought that could have been the major factor in that.

However, definite worries on Saturday as basic high balls into the box weren’t dealt with, despite that having been a strength last season. Failure to sign a new left back to compete with Dummett, yet again, is unforgivable really. Whilst a lot could rest on the shoulders of Federico Fernandez in taking Lejeune’s place alongside Lascelles.

DeAndre Yedlin

Speaking of the defence, DeAndre Yedlin was poor against Spurs. In fact, he got the very lowest mark in our fan player ratings. Out of position on a number of occasions and at fault for the winner when failing to even challenge Dele Alli.

However, why I have included Yedlin as a negative here, is simply because his injury (pictured above) is an absolute nightmare. It looks like he will be missing for a while and yes he has some dodgy moments/games at the back but overall he is an excellent player for Newcastle and as well as contributing a lot going forward, his pace is often taken for granted when he gets teammates out of trouble when defending.

The fact that the back up right backs are Manquillo and Jamie Sterry, who was out on loan in League Two last season, once again tells us of the obvious weak nature of this Newcastle squad. Players who will come in and try their very best but nowhere near what Yedlin gives us.

Stats from BBC Sport:

Newcastle 1 Tottenham 2

Goals:

Newcastle: Joselu 11

Tottenham: Vertonghen 8, Alli 18

Possession was Tottenham 60% Newcastle 40%

Total shots were  Tottenham 15 Newcastle 15

Shots on target were Tottenham 5 Newcastle 2

Corners were  Tottenham 5 Newcastle 3

Referee: Martin Atkinson

Newcastle United:

Dubravka, Yedlin, Lascelles, Clark, Dummett, Ritchie (Atsu 69), Shelvey, Diame, Kenedy, Perez (Muto 81), Joselu (Rondon 59)

Unused Subs:

Darlow, Manquillo, Schar, Ki

Crowd: 51,749 (3,000 Tottenham)

(Read instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to the Spurs defeat HERE)

(You can read the match ratings for NUFC players from one of our writers HERE)

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  • Monkseaton Magpies

    The biggest blow of the transfer window was losing Lejeune and know way would we have lost that game if he had been present. A lot of the papers gave Perez a good mark for this tireless link up play but the Mag seems to have a different opinion of him. He got us thirteen points single handed last season which saved us from relegation. We have a strong squad in respect that £12m

    • TheFatController

      The biggest blow of the transfer window for me was Rafa not signing a contract because there was no trust or competence when it comes to signing his targets after all his hard work.

      But probably not as impactful on the club’s future as the Lejeunes injury, maybe you are right yes…

      • Monkseaton Magpies

        I actually think Rafa will sign a contract which 99% of people on here will disagree with. Just think it would be to much of a wrench to leave
        and he would like to win a cup or have a crack in Europe before he leaves. He just loves it here.

        • Kenny

          you`re barmy

        • TheFatController

          Yes. I am coming round to that obvious logic. I am always in awe of your keen intuition for human nature – you intuitively ‘know’ what Rafa is thinking.

          We’d be lost without you.

        • SuperDesHamilton

          He’s already told everyone at the training ground he won’t

        • mentalman

          The best we can hope for is he gets no suitable offers and he signs a years extension

      • Ron

        In the longer term it will be, with no Rafa, we’ll be all at sea without a rudder.

      • Billmag

        Correct Rafa didn’t take a holiday as he was working making a list up of potential buy’s only to be let down badly by his boss.

    • Andrew Cowley

      I like Perez sometimes but so often is anonymous like against Spurs he was pap.enjoyed the game though we were unlucky and hopefully bodes well for the season.need to beat Cardiff with the tough games after that coming up.

  • TheFatController

    Says it all about manquillo when you find yourself hoping to discover that Schar can play at right back…. we can but hope.

    • Peaky

      Would rather have Sterry or Clark at RB than the mannequin tbh…

  • mentalman

    I see strengthening at rb as more of a priority than competition at lb, last season most of our goals conceded came from our right side due to yedlin’s positioning and lack of defending.

    As for perez he struggled all season when playing hoss, lets give him a few games with rondon before writing him off again.

    A negative for me was diame seemingly slipping back to his poor form

  • Kenny

    there`s no back up to the first 11, we have already lost Lejuene & Yedlin,
    all it takes is to lose one or two of the midfield and we`re in the 💩.
    if we lose either Shelvey or Lascelles for a period of time then we`re really up against it

    • SuperDesHamilton

      We were lucky as with injuries last season, obviously fatty doesn’t take that into account

  • molend

    If you walk in on a manager’s post-march interview and hear him say ‘We’ve got to take the positives from this’ you know his team lost. Was it positive that we didn’t win the Cup in 1974, but got to the final? No. Was it positivie that we did win the Cup in 1955? Yes. If we drop to League Two, will it be a positive that our wage bill will be lower? Charlie Mitten had us playing in the trendiest strip of the era, but the football was rubbish. The only thing that matters, is winning, because, oddly enough, that’s the point of the game.

    • Peter C

      Yes to win, but please with some style. Otherwise, where’s the entertainment and enjoyment.

      I would hate it, if we played the way George Graham did at Arsenal, when he was manager.

      Yes they won things, but they didn’t get the title, of BORING ARSENAL, for nothing.

      • molend

        Absolutely. But you have to start with the fundamental view that you’re going out there to win. If you can build an entertaining team on top of that,, all well and good. My main point, though, was about ‘drawing posistives’ when we acrtually get beat.

  • Ed White

    A fair post on the positives, watching it at 4:30AM in Vancouver a draw would have been a fair result, the Spuds 2 misses from Ali and the Moose and our two woodwork and Kennedy’s poor touch even each other out.

    On the negatives, agree Yedlin got caught out on their second but he also isn’t going to grow the 5 or 6 inches required to get above He Who Shall Not Be Named either… for me the fact the cross came in was poor and I thought Dummet, whom is normally very reliable. was s bit put of sorts all game.

    Got to be honest don’t get the Perez haters… he looked neat and tidy, didn’t give away possession had a good go from a half chance… yep he’s still a bit lightweight and goes to ground a bit to easily… but stick him in a good team and we’d be saying why did we let him go… for those of my generation it’s John Dahl Tomasen all over again…