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Newcastle-Swansea: Take 2

A new manager and three new players was not going to provide a quick fix for Newcastle United, and Saturday's comprehensive defeat at Swansea proved that. The Magpies now have to rebound quickly because Manchester United and Arsenal await.

Darryl Janmaat leaves the field after being shown a second yellow card. Newcastle were already struggling before this and Janmaat's dismissal just made it worse.
Darryl Janmaat leaves the field after being shown a second yellow card. Newcastle were already struggling before this and Janmaat's dismissal just made it worse.
Stu Forster/Getty Images

Preseason losses to Sacramento FC, Club Atlas, York and so on.

But those were just preseason games and Newcastle will turn everything around in the regular season, right?

Lest we forget, and the arrival of Georgino Wijnaldum, Chancel Mbemba and Aleksandar Mitrovic has clouded our memories a bit, but this team needed a victory on the final day of the season just to remain a Premier League team.

Stevie Mac was not going to just wave a magic wand and Newcastle turn into Arsenal. It was going to take time with a few lumps along the way.

Saturday was one of those lumps and NUFC needs to learn from what it did wrong, so as not to repeat it. Steve McClaren was quoted afterward saying, "We learned nothing from today."

Not quite.

Newcastle learned what it can never do again if the Magpies want to be successful this season.

  1. Being out of position in the back, which allowed Bafetimbi Gomis to ghost in onside and put the first goal past Tim Krul.
  2. Not providing sufficient cover on defense. This is what prompted right back Darryl Janmaat to see yellow not once, but twice in the first half because of fouls. Clearly the Dutch international was in the wrong and it cost Newcastle a chance to take anything away from Wales, but more defensive cover would've helped Janmaat deal with the pace of Jefferson Montero.
  3. Not creating any meaningful possession up front with Papiss Cisse a virtual spectator for all of his time on the pitch, although he was called for offsides.
  4. And finally, there was the bull in a china shop known as Aleksandar Mitrovic. The new signing from Anderlecht needs to control his emotions or he will not be on the pitch long enough to be of service to NUFC as he once again was shown yellow. This time it only took Mitrovic two minutes to receive a card -- an improvement at least from his first appearance of 10 seconds.

Swansea coach Gary Monk took a swipe at Newcastle's defensive tactics on Montero, whose quickness left Janmaat with no other option but to foul him to stop him. A shirt tug proved to be Janmaat and Newcastle's undoing.

McClaren defended his players and added the yellow card changed the game.

"I don’t think we are capable of kicking people off the park. We haven’t got team capable of doing that and I don’t think the game represents that now.

Our team is a football team, not kickers, so I would dispute that. As always you make your presence known to your opponent which we did, but there was one tackle too many."

Despite being down a man, Newcastle still had a puncher's chance to pull something out in the second half, down just 1-0 at halftime.

Unfortunately, things turned sour very quickly. Moussa Sissoko, arguably Newcastle's best player in the first 45 minutes, had to be replaced because of an injury. Instead of going like for like, SM decided to add Steven Taylor's defensive help to the equation.

It did not help. But what the loss of Sissoko did, was eliminate the possession opportunities Newcastle had managed to carve out before his departure. Now it was open season on the NUFC goal. Gylphi Sigurdsson was denied by the post a minutes after Taylor was introduced. Then Andre Ayew's had a chance to double Swansea's lead, but missed his header just wide.

That should have been a warning sign for NUFC's defense to tighten up, but even with the extra defender, the Magpies down-a-man group allowed Ayew another opportunity, and this time his header was true for a 2-0 lead. Swansea did not stop coming at Newcastle, firing 19 shots (6 on goal) total in the match.

Mitrovic replaced Cisse and showed a little more steel up front, winning a couple free kicks, but the damage had already been done. Next up a trip to Old Trafford.

"We just have to dust ourselves down and say, okay, let's concentrate on Manchester United. The main message (we've learned) is to make sure you keep 11 players on the field. Otherwise you don't have a chance of winning." -- Steve McClaren