Newcastle United kicked off their Premier League Summer Series campaign with a mouthful.
A 3-3 draw against Aston Villa in a friendly match held at the Lincoln Financial Field stadium in Philadelphia kicked the American tour off for the Magpies in the first of three games they’ll play on United States soil through the remainder of the week and before flying back home.
The match got off to a nefarious start as Aston Villa took an early lead with goals from Watkins and Buendia in the 7th and 11th minutes, respectively. So unrecognizable were Newcastle that they were even playing with a three-man defense courtesy of Inventor Howe.
Good for NUFC, Howe gave up on that silly idea and came back to his senses, reshaping the team into his favorite 4-3-3 and turning into our preferred Steady Eddie instead of the madman that got things going on midnight (Great Britain time) Sunday.
Newcastle struggled against Villa’s high line and aggressive attacking play, but good for everybody (we think) the Magpies found their footing and mounted a spirited comeback.
The turning point came near the 30th minute when youngin’ Elliot Anderson scored the first Magpie goal of the day after a smooth defensive play and transition by the lads from midfield to goal putting it past Emi Martinez.
Just before half-time, two minutes into extra-time, Newcastle equalized this time through Alexander Isak, who tapped in a rebound after a save made by the Argentinian keeper following a masterful defensive effort by Anderson, who stole the ball from Villa, run toward the goal, and was really close to bagging his second of the game.
The second half was equally action-packed, with both teams creating numerous chances but no team trumping their opponent by the final whistle.
Aston Villa regained the lead just a few minutes into the second period thanks to another goal by an inspired Buendia. Newcastle continued to display resilience, and only around five minutes after that found themselves putting their third goal on the back of Unai Emery’s team’s net with Callum Wilson calmly passing the ball into the net off a stop from an Anthony Gordon shot.
Newcastle’s last signing, Harvey Barnes, made his debut as a substitute, coming on late in the game to get his first taste of action with his new teammates. As ridiculous as that already is, Barnes even got to fire a shot through his brief spell roaming the Philadelphia pastures.
Newcastle are now headed to Atlanta, where they will face Chelsea on Wednesday with our very own Elijah in attendance if he can somehow sneak into Mercedes-Benz Arena. (I completely made that up—Elijah is a perfectly legal and law-abiding young man).
One of the admins on this account @Elijah_Newsome is gonna be in Atlanta for the preseason matches, deffo hit us up if you’re tryna say hi and share a beer or 2 (or 3, or 4, or 5)— Coming Home Newcastle (@ComingHomeNUFC) July 20, 2023
In the meantime, we wait for Allan Saint-Maximin’s sale and for the arrival of Tino Livramento. Right, right!?