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Newcastle 0 Mainz 05 1 – It’s only a friendly…

1 month ago
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Newcastle 0 Mainz 05 1 at the Kufstein Arena (Austria) – Monday 18 July 2022 – 3pm (UK) kick-off

The first rule of friendlies, when you lose, it was only a friendly…

After wins over Gateshead and 1860 Munich, it was a better level of opposition for Newcastle United on Monday afternoon.

In too hot for football conditions, Mainz 05 met Newcastle, the German side having finished eighth in the Bundesliga last season.

Not being too harsh but…maybe today’s game was a good advert for playing all pre-season matches behind closed doors. It wasn’t that the two teams were terrible, it was just nothing much happened.

The heat obviously didn’t help, making it impossible really for the game to be played at real competitive level intensity, with potentially the pressing style Eddie Howe likely intends to hopefully adopt in most matches once the season kicks off.

Newcastle United were the better team on the day but struggled to create clear chances, Mainz 05 scoring their goal from a swift counter-attack on 58 minutes when Burgzorg got behind the NUFC defence and one on one, got the ball past Dubravka as the Newcastle keeper came out to close him down. I have seen one or two fans online criticising Dubravka but to me it looked like more of a clever finish.

The Newcastle keeper had made a decent save at his near post from a corner in the first half but Newcastle rarely threatened. Wood not showing the best bit of control when the ball was played to him in what looked a decent position, that was about as good as it got in the opening 45 minutes. Dunmett had been replaced by Ritchie after only half an hour but that looked a prearranged move.

Botman and Schar had looked decent together, both comfortable on the ball as well as solid in defence, maybe the Swiss defender’s departure a minute before the goal possibly contributed to that winning chance having been created. The subbing of Schar looked more of a precaution hopefully, rather than any serious injury worry.

Bruno Guimaraes once again looked Newcastle’s best player in his hour on the pitch and alongside Joelinton, doing ok together. Almiron pulling a ball back for Joelinton to shoot from the edge of the box and the keeper comfortably turned the low shot away.

Krafth on 65 minutes put in an excellent low cross from the right and Murphy failed to convert right in front of goal only five yards out, a bit of a shocker.

Allan Saint-Maximin looking lively when he came on and the opposition (at least) doubling up on him. However, he wriggled free on 77 minutes and unselfishly laid the ball back to Shelvey on the edge of the box, despite the midfielder having been totally unmarked, he blazed wildly over the ball when should have done better.

With ten minutes left, Wilson played in on the right side of the box and he lashed the ball goalwards from a difficult angle, the keeper lucky to save with his face.

So, some shots, on and off target, but never really looking like scoring.

The intensity, pressing and goal threat needs to be increased as we move towards the season but physically, the Newcastle players look in good shape.

As mentioned above, Schar and Botman looked decent, ASM was a mixture of the good and not so good.

Bruno Guimaraes looking good as always if not having a real cutting edge today. Whilst Elliot Anderson was another positive, his willingness to carry the ball marking him out above most of the other Newcastle midfielders on show today.

I think overall, we were reminded who our better players were, whilst with others, Murphy and Lascelles especially, I think they struggle. Murphy simply not good enough, whilst Lascelles really weak when in possession, something we all knew anyway.

As we all know, Eddie Howe wants to add better quality in attacking positions with a couple of more signings, but finding the right players at the right price who are available, is proving tough. Today’s display underlining why Howe is looking to add these new players.

Newcastle 0 Mainz 05 1

Goals

Newcastle

Mainz 05

Burgzorg 58

Newcastle team v Mainz 05:

Dubravka, Trippier, Schar (Burn 57), Botman, Dummett (Ritchie 31), Guimaraes, S. Longstaff, Joelinton, Almiron, Fraser, Wood

***Then on 60 minutes this became the team for the final half hour:

Pope, Krafth, Lascelles, Burn, Targett, Shelvey, Willock, Anderson, Murphy, Saint-Maximin, Wilson

Unused substitutes:

Matty Longstaff, Turner-Cooke

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