Schalke 1 Newcastle United 3: Neil Cameron's match analysis

Emmanuel Riviere scores a goal and makes his case to start as first choice striker - as a few impress in fine win

(L-R) Marco Hoeger challenges Rolando Aarons during the match between FC Schalke 04 and Newcastle United
(L-R) Marco Hoeger challenges Rolando Aarons during the match between FC Schalke 04 and Newcastle United

Emmanuel Riviere has not been heralded as much as some of Newcastle United’s other summer signings.

Why else would we all relentlessly speak about the need for one more striker to be bought if, and this is true, the general consensus has been the Frenchman is not going to be first choice?

And yet he may prove to be a shrewd piece of business going on what we have seen so far – a striker with quick feet, good movement and, on yesterday’s evidence, a knack of scoring goals.

Put that in one package and you have some footballer. Almost every time Riviere got on the ball, he looked to try something, be it a simple lay-off or to turn his man.

 

The Frenchman, a £6 million signing from AS Monaco, has done himself no harm with the way he has attacked these pre-season matches as if they were far more important than a training exercise before the real stuff begins.

One moment that caught the eye came on the half hour when Riviere timed a run behind the Schalke back four to get on the end of a long ball, and his chest control was exquisite. The referee’s whistle for a supposed foul halted him from having a shot, but nonetheless it was seriously good play.

On what we have seen so far, it is he who deserves to start the season unless, of course, another striker comes in.

Eighteen-year-old Rolando Aarons may too have forced his way into Alan Pardew’s thinking as well.

Peter Beardsley has needed little prompting to talk up the Jamaica-born midfielder and in both matches in Germany, particularly yesterday’s win over the tournament hosts, he showed pace, purpose and a desire to get on the ball.

He is raw, but that’s okay. What teenager is not? What he does possess is an ability to take on players and, more often than not, he gets by them.

He scored a goal that was either utterly brilliant or a tad lucky. So this was miles better than the Malaga game that had some fans reaching for that much-used red button with the word ‘panic’ written on it.

There is less then a fortnight until Manchester City roll into town with their team of champions and whoever else they are going to sign, so there is work still to be done.

However, a lot can be done within this time and a few players have made a strong case to start that first Premier League game.

None more so than the two who combined to set up the first goal.

After 17 minutes of utter nothingness, Newcastle opened the scoring. It began with great determination from Aarons, who took on Schalke right-back Felipe Santana, checked back, and then beat him again so he had space for a cross.

Riviere had no right to win the ball, let alone score, and yet he outjumped Joel Matip, an absolute giant of a man, and aimed his header in off the post. It was impressive all round.

Schalke had more possession and put together some decent passes, and yet a free kick from Kaan Ayan on 37 minutes, which Tim Krul watched sail harmlessly over the bar, was their only real threat.

Much of this was to do with the fact a back four of Vurnon Anita, Fabricio Coloccini, Mike Williamson and Paul Dummett were far more solid than the one that shipped three goals in 45 minutes 24 hours previously. Only the captain started both games.

Crosses were blocked and Coloccini was markedly better, more commanding and more sure of himself with Williamson beside him.

Albeit there was a nervy moment when Williamson chested a back-pass to Krul and the brilliantly-named Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting was close to getting on the end of it, only for the Dutch goalkeeper to rescue his team-mate.

As with all of these games, lots of changes are made after half time. Alan Pardew made 11 of them, and it tends to disrupt the flow of the game. Not that there was much flowing, to be honest.

However, we then got a goal for the ages on 54 minutes. Aarons chased down the left to get the ball and then ... well it really depends on your point of view what happened next.

He either spotted Ralf Fahrmann off his line and quite brilliantly lobbed Schalke’s goalkeeper. Or he tried a cross and it caught out Fahrmann as it looped over him.

The first and only rule on such occasions is to always claim you meant it.

New signing Facunda Ferreyra got a run-out, as did Remy Cabella who enjoyed a nice moment with 72 mintues gone. He ran through on goal and, with the confidence of a top player, despatched a superb shot into the net.

Right at the end, little Adam Campbell made a great run from halfway only to be denied by Fahrmann.

It was all rather encouraging, even if Donis Avdijaj scored a consolation with the last touch of the game.

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