Newcastle vs. Real Sociedad: What Alan Pardew Learned in Pre-Season Friendly
A late Moussa Sissoko strike handed the Magpies victory over the Basque Country outfit in front of almost 20,000 at St. James’ Park.
The Geordie public were given a first chance to see a number of new signings, with the likes of Remy Cabella, Daryl Janmaat and Jack Colback all making their home debuts.
So as the Magpies count down to their Premier League opener against Manchester City next weekend, Bleacher Report looks at what manager Alan Pardew learned against Erreala.
Daryl Janmaat Could Turn out to Be Better Than Mathieu Debuchy
Far from mourning the loss of Mathieu Debuchy this summer, the Newcastle United faithful welcomed his direct replacement against Real Sociedad, and Daryl Janmaat more than delivered.
Utilised in his natural position at right-back, the Netherlands international was full of determination on his home debut for the Magpies, and he showed great organisational skills at the back.
The £5 million signing from Feyenoord wasn’t afraid to bark out the orders on Sunday, while his availability going forward will make him a valuable outlet this season.
In all, the 25-year-old looked very much at home despite only joining the club three weeks ago, and the £12 million recouped for Debuchy now looks a very good deal indeed.
Remy Cabella Shows Promise, but Not as Yohan Cabaye’s Replacement
Handed a free role in an advanced midfield position on Sunday, Remy Cabella showed glimpses of brilliance against Real Sociedad without ever hurting the Spaniards.
The Frenchman roamed down both flanks at will as well as in behind Emmanuel Riviere up front, and he looked effective when hugging either touchline.
But through the middle, the 24-year-old playmaker appeared a little lightweight and lacked the tenacity and strength to really take control of the fixture.
It’s early days for the former Montpellier man on Tyneside, and there were enough positives in his performance to suggest he can have an impact once the campaign gets underway.
But even at this stage, it’s apparent that the job of replacing Yohan Cabaye may fall to Siem De Jong as opposed to the quick-footed Cabella.
Rolando Aarons Should Be Unleashed on the Premier League
There was a moment in the second-half against Real Sociedad that summed up exactly why Rolando Aarons has caused such a stir at St. James’ Park this summer.
Picking the ball up near half-way, the 18-year-old burst into life, beating three players with his pace and driving into the penalty area to bring the stadium to its feet.
Such explosive surges from deep have become the youngster’s trademark this pre-season, and his fearless approach underpins an exciting and unpredictable player.
There will, of course, be those that point to his obvious inexperience, but Aarons’ age allows him to play without restriction—much like Raheem Sterling when he first broke into Liverpool's first team.
Talk in the local press suggests a number of Championship clubs are ready to offer the Jamaican a loan move, as reported by The Journal’s Mark Douglas, but Alan Pardew would be better off unleashing him on an unsuspecting top flight.
Moussa Sissoko’s Role Is Still Unclear
As important as he is to the Newcastle United cause, it’s still unclear where Moussa Sissoko will start the new campaign when Manchester City come to town next weekend.
The French international’s physical presence against Real Sociedad was essential as the match wore on, and his positioning for the match-winner couldn’t have been better.
But when deployed wide on the right in the first-half—much like he was for large swathes of last season—the former Toulouse star struggled to make an impact on the fixture.
His best position remains unclear, but be it in a box-to-box role or as an orthodox winger, Sissoko obviously has a major part to play in Alan Pardew’s starting XI.
Alan Pardew Has a Stronger Pool of Players to Pick from
If Sunday’s win over Real Sociedad confirmed one thing, it was this; Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew has much more depth to his squad than he did last season.
The addition of nine new players has obviously helped, but even with injuries to key members of his squad, the Toon boss was able to field a strong side with able back up on the bench.
The likes of Cheick Tiote, Papiss Cisse, Davide Santon, Ryan Taylor and new boy Siem De Jong were missing at St. James’ Park, but they’re all set to return in the next month or so.
And when they do, Pardew will have a wealth of talent to choose from—a luxury that was sorely missing as the games ticked by last term.