Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Pardew Young Guns but United Miss Old; LEEDS UNITED ........................3 NEWCASTLE UNITED ..............2

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Pardew Young Guns but United Miss Old; LEEDS UNITED ........................3 NEWCASTLE UNITED ..............2

Article excerpt

Byline: LEE RYDER

IF A pre-season friendly is all about experimenting for Alan Pardew then how much did he learn from this hard-fought 90 minutes against Championship battlers Leeds United? Well, quite a lot as it turned out.

Newcastle left the States last week having suffered a major blow following Hatem Ben Arfa's ankle injury, and they almost made it to Elland back with no more than the few usual preseason scrapes and plenty of food for thought - until Joey Barton's Twitter rant that is.

Barton's display saw him show some good touches but the player was also guilty of losing possession at times which put the Magpies on the back foot.

We also noted just what a shrewd signing Yohan Cabaye - outstanding on the day - could turn out to be, and we also witnessed the continual recovery of midfielder Dan Gosling, also excellent again.

Cheick Tiote's absence was always going to be missed but the manager has some tough choices to make when finalising his engine room against Arsenal.

Sadly there were more questions than answers when it came to the Toon back four with three goals leaked against Championship opposition - and none of them pretty to watch, not least for Fraser Forster.

Competition for places in the back four and between the sticks is fierce though, as Forster is finding out.

And with just one more preseason friendly left to audition for the opener with Arsenal in less than a fortnight, only time will tell which way Pardew will lean when it comes to defensive places - but as sure as night follows day, defend like this against the Gunners and it could get messy.

Certainly, United looked less organised and less resilient with Fabricio Coloccini sat in the stands at Elland Road, and with unhappy Jose Enrique tracksuited up on the bench, lack of experience at leftback remains a cause for concern. …

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