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Season 2023-24
Aston Villa (n) Friendly - Summer Series


Sunday 23rd July 2023, 7.00pm EST (Midnight BST)
Live on SkySports (free stream on NUFC TV outside UK)

Lincoln Financial Field (Philadelphia) aka The Linc

Conditions: Expansive

Admission: from $40 (£31.50) but that excludes the various booking fees. Add in those and the cheapest was £49. Match tickets allowed access to both matches played here today.




Aston Villa


3 - 3





7 mins Rocky I. Emilano Buendia escaped a weak challenge from Sandro Tonali on halfway and then had the time and space to stride forward before resisting another poor attempt at a tackle from Fabian Schar. The Argentinean passed to Ollie Watkins who fired past Martin Dubravka with ease. Tonali at least made a recovery run back to the six yard box but was unable to intervene. 0-1

11 mins Rocky II. This time it was John McGinn with the freedom of the park after a feeble challenge from Tonali, passing to Douglas-Luiz and his first time pass to Buendia from similar range to the first goal, Dubravka this time beaten at his near post. 0-2

28 mins A lovely ball from Jacob Murphy from the right touchline found an onside Elliot Anderson through on goal. Alexander Isak was alongside but Elliot Anderson delightfully side-stepped a challenge from Ezri Konsa and then clipped it past Emiliano Martinez. 1-2

 mins Anderson dispossessed Boubacar Kamara and jinked into the box evading a couple of challenges before getting in a decent strike that Martinez pushed out and when it wasn't cleared, Alexander Isak was on hand to thump it home from close in. 2-2

Half time: Newcastle 2 Villa 2

48 mins Rocky III. Buendia played Jaden Philogene in down the right and his square ball across the box was hit towards goal by Omari Kellyman. Dubravka made a decent stop but pushed it onto the post and Buendia had the simple task of tucking the ball into the net. 2-3

55 mins A glorious forward ball by Jamaal Lascelles dropped perfectly for Anthony Gordon who took a touch and shot firmly. Robin Olsen parried it straight to Callum Wilson and he comfortably stroked it home first time before performing his trademark goal salute in front of the NUFC section. 3-3

Full time: Newcastle 3 Villa 3


We Said


Eddie Howe said:

"We are disappointed with the three we have conceded. We were very pleased with the three we scored ourselves.

"I think the most pleasing thing is we were 2-0 down - I didn't think it was that bad - but we found ourselves in that position. The players regrouped and we found the mental strength to calm things down and find a way back in the game. 

"I have to say the drinks break helped. If we could bring that in when you are losing it helps! I thought we improved as it went on.

"We tried something different tonight. We are aware of the amount of competitions we are in next season. There is a feeling that we are going to need to be flexible next season.

"Whether that is a system we look to start with or go with in a game, we just felt it was a good game to trial it in pre-season. 

"That's what pre-season is for: to look at different things. There were some good bits and bits we need to look at."

Asked to rate his side's transfer activity:

"I don’t know if I can give it a mark yet... Mark it at the end, not halfway through.

"I am really pleased with Sandro Tonali, he looks to be everything we hoped that he would be. But we know we have a few more positions that we need to strengthen if we can.

"I think with Harvey
(Barnes) we were umming and ahing about whether to play him.

"It was a long journey yesterday (from England), he hasn’t trained with the team yet, but we just thought it would be really good to get his debut and get his journey with Newcastle started.

"I thought he was really bright when he came on but now just looking forward to getting some training ground work with him.”

They Said


Channeling his inner Pharrell Williams, a "happy" Unai Emery said:

"Firstly, I’m thankful for our supporters, sharing with us here our tournament in the United States. 

"Tonight, the atmosphere was amazing and we did our work. Everything we were practicing here, I think we did on the pitch in 90 minutes and we shared playing with experienced players and young players. I think we got the performance we were trying to get and I’m happy, really happy.

“The result is secondary for us, but to score three goals, of course, is one thing we are going to analyse, why. But I am happy.

Now, we are going to prepare quickly for the match on Wednesday. Recover the players who played tonight, then try to add Philippe Coutinho and Moussa Diaby. Leon Bailey is coming back and meeting with us on Thursday.

“We are going to continue in our way, our work and the plan we are doing, and adding some different players as well.

“And, of course, being competitive. Firstly, each one with us, and then playing against the teams like tonight – Newcastle, Fulham the same very high level, Brentford on Sunday.

“Very good.”


There was a debut for Harvey Barnes following his £38m acquisition from Leicester City. He'd flown into Philadelphia the previous day to link up with his new team mates - around about the time that Eddie Howe was telling journalists that nothing was confirmed on the deal......

Ahead of NUFC announcing squad numbers, new boy Barnes wore 15, Gordon appeared in the 10 shirt formerly occupied by Allan Saint-Maximin and Tonali donned the 8 vacated by Gordon.

Pre-season pitch time (in minutes):

0+62+45=107 +1 goal
72+45+45=162 +2 goals
Ashby 26+28+0=54 +1 goal
Darlow 45+45+0=90
De Bolle
Dummett 0+28+45=73
Gordon 0+45+45=90
0+45+45=90 +1 goal
Manquillo 72+45+45=162
Ritchie 64+0+45=109
Saint-Maximin 64+0=64 +1 goal
Savage 45+0+0=45
Trippier 64+45+45=154
18+0+0=18 +1 goal
0+45+45=90 +1 goal

Players on the tour who weren't named in the squad today: Pope, Gillespie, Krafth, Willock, S.Longstaff, Lewis, A.Murphy, Savage, J.Miley, White.

NUFC in the USA - PL era to date:

2000 DC United (a) lost 1-3
2000 Columbus Crew (a) drew 2-2
Kansas City (a) drew 0-0
Orlando City (a) lost 0-1
Columbus Crew (a) won 3-0
Club Atlas (n) lost 1-2
2015 Sacramento Republic (a) won 1-0
2015 Portland Timbers 2 (a) lost 3-4
2023 Aston Villa (n) drew 3-3


Eight years after their last visit to North America, Newcastle returned to participate in the Premier League "Summer Series" tournament - a rather more prestigious occasion than 2015's farcical final friendly against Portland Timbers stiffs when neither side seemed bothered about playing. 

One could be forgiven for thinking that being in the city of Brotherly Love had prompted United's generous approach to dealing with Aston Villa, who twice received the (Philadelphia) freedom of the field early on and punished duly the black and whites on each occasion.

Rather than that though or the 28 degree temperatures at kickoff - actually cooler than Brighton away was last season - the roots of our early indecision lay with a team selection and tactical decision that leant more towards suicidal than experimental.

That meant anyone seeking a signpost as to the respective fortunes of these two sides when they meet for real next month was in for a disappointment; something which later caused debate as to whether creating a smokescreen was the real purpose of Eddie Howe's reversion to a 3-5-2 line-up. 

Some things were still evident though; not least the liking Emilano Buendia has for facing us. The Argentinean revelled in the room Newcastle allowed him at Villa Park back in April, creating the early opener here for Ollie Watkins, rattling in a speedy second an only denied a hat trick when Martin Dubrakva did enough for him to fire wide from close in after the break.

As it was though, their two goal advantage was erased by half-time thanks to Elliot Anderson's double intervention: coolly deceiving Ezri Konsa before stroking home and then causing more mayhem when jinking into the box and seeing his effort blocked before Alexander Isak buried the loose ball.

That Newcastle equaliser came in time that had been added on for a water break - which no doubt gave scope for some commercials to be aired.

Reaching the interval with four goals scored and a total of 16 in the first two and a half games of the Summer Series did raise the suspicion that the participating teams were instructed to entertain at all costs.

The feeling that it was Villa's "turn" to attack after the break strengthened as a bizarre split in replacements saw Newcastle make changes at half time and then almost immediately when we deliberately kicked the ball out. Villa didn't return it from the throw-in.

Again, the musical chairs on the field left United in disarray; Omari waltzing forward to strike a post and an offside-looking Buendia dispatching the rebound with no VAR and officials that seemed reluctant to flag.

The pendulum swung again though and United began to threaten, Wilson lurking to convert the loose ball when Anthony Gordon's shot was blocked and both players then leading unsuccessful spot kick appeals after each was upended in the area - Gordon's a particularly blatant pull.

New signing Harvey Barnes was warmly welcomed on to the field and had one late chance to win the game. Sadly his shot lacked power and was too near the Villa 'keepjinking ier.

A rainbow nation of soccer shirts off the field added to an air of unreality - although those who just shunned some attention-seeking mackems present rather than trying to entice them into the stadium's "Fan Duel Lounge" near the away section deserve credit.

If you're looking for tangible signs that what's on the pitch is being appreciated by a larger US audience rather than random cloud pointers turning up at these games, the Mexican wave took 81 minutes to start. 

When we'll next see Paul Dummett start a league game and against which opposition a passing move involving Lascelles, Manquillo and Ritchie remains to be seen - although credit to Lascelles for one crunching challenge and a timely goal line clearance soon after his stylish forward ball led to United's third goal.

Regardless of the experiment, a few things stand out; most noticeably that Gordon is reaching the desired fitness and confidence levels - and that he, Joelinton and Wilson don't do friendlies and were their usual robust selves.

The contributions of Anderson after a sticky start, also augur well for the coming hostilities, while Lewis Miley again didn't look out of place in this company and those around him clearly have no concerns about his suitability.

The circus now moves on to a slightly hotter Atlanta, before returning to New Jersey for our final game. 

Never mind dusting off those dreaded Game 39 plans, the first task of the newly-opened PL office in New York should be to ensure that whoever they get to make announcements on nights like this can actually pronounce the word Premier. It's not Premiere...

Not bothering to publish the actual format of the Summer Series also brought momentary uncertainty as to whether a draw was permissible or some other method would be found to achieve a winner. A race between the two managers up the Rocky steps perhaps....

And slightly more seriously, if the PL really to want to provide fans with an authentic experience, it's probably better to go the whole in terms of PGMOL officials and the use of VAR at this event.

The absence of both tonight may have changed the result but didn't affect what was a flag waving exercise for the clubs and the PL with a sideline in price gouging for the venue ($18.50 for beer, $9 for water). 

However, deployment of the VAR system and the PL refereeing mindset that accompanies it may well have brought a different scoreline to this game. The ticket prices were certainly authentic....


Page last updated 05 August, 2023