Friendlies mean nothing…but watch this shambles unfold – Middlesbrough 5 Newcastle 1
The afternoon ended with the result reading Middlesbrough 5 Newcastle 1.
It (the afternoon) had started rather bizarrely with neither club confirming the teams an hour before kick-off as per normal, then no during the match updates, plus both clubs removed all mention of the game from their official websites.
Still no mention at all of why the two clubs made this pact of not giving out information before and during the friendly BUT Steve Bruce will be wishing they’d also agreed on a pact of silence afterwards.
We are all told that friendly results don’t matter, especially when you team gets beat.
However, whilst results don’t always mean that much pre-season, performances are still relatively important. Especially when we are only 11 days away from the Premier League kicking off.
Based on watching the five Middlesbrough goals (see below – the Smoggies having put them out on social media, though not ASM’s consolation strike), as longer highlights aren’t available so far, Newcastle United looked ragged and the defending shambolic.
Have a look for yourself.
The defending weak for the first three for sure, whilst I thought Karl Darlow should have saved the third and was atrocious on the fourth. The fifth a penalty.
No need to go overboard of course…but when this performance is to a backdrop of no money spent in the transfer window and a seemingly growing number of players missing (Shelvey nowhere to be seen today and no explanation so far of why), you have to have concerns.
Schar, Dubravka, Matty Longstaff and Gayle all injured, the club still refusing to comment on the continuing absence of Joelinton and Muto who have played no part in pre-season, Hendrick and Krafth away on international duty and missing most of these final two weeks before the Premier League starts. Newcastle desperately need new signings to raise the quality and numbers.
The only good news today apart from ASM’s goal to make it 3-1, was that despite being sent off just after half-time (along with Boro’s Lewis Wing) for an off the ball altercation, Jamaal Lascelles won’t be banned from playing against West Ham on the opening day of the season (as per Craig Hope of The Mail).
Britt Assombalonga scored twice and Marcus Tavernier got the other to put the home side 3-0 up, before Allan Saint-Maximin pulled one back to make it 3-1 at half-time.
A free-kick saw Grant Hall plant a header beyond Karl Darlow who made a really poor effort to save it, then the fifth was a penalty from Stephen Walker.
After the match, Newcastle United also confirmed that there would be a return match between the two teams on Monday, Middlesbrough travelling up to the NUFC training ground. The big question is whether we will see an improved performance only five days before PL kick-off, a few new signings would be nice, whilst I’m not counting on turning this two-legged friendly contest around on aggregate…
Final score Middlesbrough 5 Newcastle 1 and have a look at the goals and NUFC ‘defending’ below.
— Middlesbrough FC (@Boro) September 1, 2020
Karl Darlow (Mark Gillespie 70), Javier Manquillo, DeAndre Yedlin (Paul Dummett 60), Jamaal Lascelles, Florian Lejuene (Federico Fernández 60), Jacob Murphy (Matt Ritchie 70), Isaac Hayden, Sean Longstaff (Daniel Barlaser 70), Christian Atsu (Ciaran Clark 60), Miguel Almirón (Andy Carroll 60), Allan Saint-Maximin (Henri Saivet 75)
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