It’s a shame we rarely get to watch this team. Newcastle traveled to West London to face a QPR team that started today two points back of United in seventh place. At the end of the day QPR was made to look like relegation fodder.
Rafa Benitez made four changes to the team that won this weekend. Ciaran Clark made his third start, this time at center back taking Chancel Mbemba’s spot next to Jamaal Lacelles. Isaac Hayden taking Jack Colback’s spot in front of the back four. Up top Ayoze Perez starting just behind Alexandre Mitrovic replacing Gayle and Diame.
On a balmy September Tuesday night Newcastle showed why they were the preseason favorites. Eleven minutes after the opening whistle, in a bit of deja vu, Shelvey rocketed a low shot that got deflected and slowly rolled past a hapless Alex Smithies for a 1-0 lead.
After the opening goal Newcastle began to dominate. I snapped this screenshot of a ten minute period, around the 30th minute goal by Ayoze Perez, that Newcastle was dominating QPR and showing their class. Matt Richie put Perez through with a brilliant early ball, just beyond QPR’s center backs, and after an initial save, Perez collected the rebound and finished around Smithies to take the two-goal lead.
Before half time, QPR finally got a bit of possession for themselves and collected their first shot, but Rafa’s men were able to get out of the heat at 2-0. It was clear that Newcastle was dominating the home side, outshooting them 15-2 with Jonjo Shelvey and Ayoze Perez leading the way with four shots apiece.
Rafa made no substitutions to start the half. Three minutes into the second half, Perez laid the ball off to Shelvey, after expertly holding the ball up at the edge of the 18-yard box, and Shelvey, with his right foot, curled the ball into the top right corner. The goal was truly world class.
It didn’t stop there. In the 56th minute Ciaran Clark headed in his first goal for Newcastle. It was clear that QPR had now given up. Despite how hot and humid it was in London, Newcastle continued to work hard and the team was rewarded with goals five and six. After being given his debut for Newcastle in the 61st minute, and some fancy footwork, Christian Atsu found an onside Mitrovic who finished into an wide open goal.
Grant Hanley was introduced in the 65th minute to add strength to the back four but fourteen minutes later found himself on the end of a Ciaran Clark cross to add the final tally of the night.
Brighton beat Huddersfield tonight and Newcastle now find themselves one point back in second place with a +12 goal differential. Newcastle managed 29 shots tonight (12 on target) compared to QPR’s seven (three on target) while the possession was 50-50. Newcastle hosts Wolves Saturday at 10:00 AM, when the Magpies will try and win their seventh game in a row.
-Howay the Lads!