New Season, Same Failings

Opening Day Defeat For Rafa's Boys

After all the hype and the positivity that has built up after a seemingly good summer it was almost inevitable that Newcastle would lose their opening game at Fulham last night.

Despite some good work on the transfer front it was worrying to see a lot of the same old failings evident in the side.

Conceding the only goal of the game minutes before half time is something very Newcastle not to mention Matt Smith's header coming from a set piece.

Down the other end we just didn't look like a threat with Fulham keeper David Button having very little to do other than blocking a 2nd half Matt Ritchie effort that the new winger should have buried.

We looked still very much in pre season mode and despite the fact we will probably point to a couple of very good penalty appeals that didn't go away I don't think that can hide the fact of how poor we were from start to finish.

I thought Fulham were excellent, looked more up for the task and in the end thoroughly deserved to win the game.

Of course this is 1 game and we shouldn't suddenly think this is the end of the world or anything like that but it is just really worrying to see that even after a full pre season and a change of personel some of those same old failings still don't seem to be addressed like someone that can take a decent set piece for example.

Whilst I also appreciate the honesty of the captain and manager coming out saying that we didn't play well and this is a wake up call I have to say the bit about the wake up call kind of annoys me.

Why should we need a game to server as a wake up call? We all know what the Championship is about and it has been talked about all summer about what it is all about and surely relegation should have been that wake up call?

Sorry I just don't buy into that and a lot of work needs to be done over the next few weeks or we are going to struggle.

That is both tactically and I also think some more recruitment definitely needs to be done.

Of course there is Diame and Clark to come in but I think we still need more than that.

We looked very unbalanced last night with Anita playing in a wide role which clearly isn't natural to him. We need a natural wide player to balance things up with Ritchie and make us less predictable.

There is obviously also Mitrovic to come back in after his suspension but I think we still look a bit light up top. Whether that is another out and out striker or just someone with a bit of guile that can beat players and open up defences and if they could take a set piece that would be a big bonus!

We just look too predictable, there are still far too many backwards and sideways passes which look great for the possession stats but don't really get us anywhere in terms of looking like scoring a goal.

I know one game in this assessment probably seems awfully negative and I realise there is a long way to go and I am sure we will improve and Rafa will know what needs improving but I was just really disappointed with how last night panned out.

It was always going to be a tough game away from home but I was just expecting a performance better than that. Not only was the incisive football not there I just thought a lot of the players looked very lacklustre.

A set back for sure and lots of work to do for the manager because after all the money spent and all the hype then the more the pressure will ramp up after every poor result.

Just with regards to the specific player performances I don't think anyone really stood out for praise. Ritchie was probably the best of a very bad bunch and showed some good touches at times but other than that the positives were few and far between. I thought Hanley looked a bit iffy which is hopefully down to fitness and Gayle was just far too isolated which partly came down to Perez having such a poor game. Anita clealy isn't a winger and I am just not convinced we need to play with 2 defensive minded holding midfielders. With Colback and Hayden in there they just offered nothing in terms of forward thinking.

A home game next week against Huddersfield to hopefully look to right some wrongs. I think only Newcastle could extinguish so much summer optimism so quickly!

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