Pre-season Newcastle exam
Most recently I was at the pre season friendly between Newcastle United and Hellas Verona at the cathedral to football no less, St James’ Park.
With a less than half full stadium, it’s fair to say the newly promoted Serie A outfit didn’t get a full taste of a hostile Geordie welcome, but they did receive a test in which they found answers hard to come by, with Rafa Benitez’ side consigning the visitors to a 2-0 defeat.
Under the guidance of head coach and ex-Toon assistant Fabio Pecchia, Hellas managed to play some tidy football within the confines of midfield, without ever really threatening the home side.
How much one can draw from pre-season exercises is always a little difficult to tell, but worth remembering is the stylistic differences between the Premier League and Serie A, in the end it was the Magpies’ pace and intensity which proved the difference.
A learning brief for Pecchia & supporters’ backing
Silvestri made some impressive stops in the second half, and will have been frustrated at how easily some Newcastle attacks got through.
Alex Ferrari gave a confident performance and looks a promising attribute to the side going into this season’s domestic campaign, and the addition of experienced wide players like Alessio Cerci could prove to be a shrewd bit of business by the north east club.
Here though they were outfoxed by a side, who were looking to go into Sunday’s league encounter against Spurs with a confidence boost. A special mention should go to the hardy 247 Hellas Verona fans that made the journey to England’s north east, on what was a fairly miserable afternoon, football-wise and weather-wise.
This Hellas side will need both the patience of Brigate Gialloblu and most certainly the passionate noise generated by the away supporters on Tyneside.
Potential transfer activity
Rumours have surfaced about a potential recruitment in Arsenal full-back Carl Jenkinson, who is looking increasingly surplus to requirements at The Emirates.
It could prove a neat addition to the squad as well as suiting the down on his luck defender at this stage in his career.
Pecchia will still be keen to bolster his squad both defensively and going forward, but perhaps won’t be overly concerned with the loss at St James.
Written by Ross Wilson
Follow Ross on Twitter @ro55iWilson18
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