Updated: Aug 26, 2019
Norwich 3-1 Newcastle United
Watching them, you’d think those in black and white had been plucked from the cream of Sunday League pub sides from across the North East. That they'd all just met each other and that fat Barry from Accounts, who once considered doing his referees badges, had the dubious honour of managing the team for the day.
This was not the United team of recent years. Unrecognisable, in fact, from the well organised and well drilled team of seasons past.
You’d think the echos of Rafa would have served Newcastle’s defensive line for a season at least. Instead his shadow seems to already be weighing heavy on Steve Bruce, who looks a broken man, after just a few weeks in charge.
And, after Bruce had so glowingly heaped praise on Mike Ashley for supporting his every whim in the transfer market. The results and performances must lay squarely at the door of the new boss.
STARTING XI: Dubravka, Ritchie, Schar, Dummett, Lascelles, Krafth, Hayden, Shelvey, Ki (Longstaff, 74), Almiron, Joelinton (Muto, 67)
Bruce has introduced Krafth into the starting line up. And the debutant could have put Newcastle into an early lead, blazing over when well placed to test the keeper.
Joelinton too missed a glorious back post header in the first half the may have changed the course of the game.
Both would have been incredibly harsh on Norwich who outplayed, outran and outclassed the Magpies in every department. Only Dubravka and Hayden should feel safe to shop in town this week. With the skill of the former and desire of the latter the only things fans could clutch at as positives.
A free transfer in Pukki would be the stand out player. His hat-rick, including one particularly special strike the difference on the scoresheet.
In truth United we’re lucky to only concede three. If it had been 6 or 7 they couldn’t have complained.
A late Shelvey strike should be seen as no consolation. Newcastle were battered by a team newly promoted and who didn’t spend a bean in the summer.