The 2014/15 Premier League season is less than a week away and Newcastle United’s pre-season preparations have came to an end. A 1-0 win over Real Sociedad on Sunday afternoon rounded off Newcastle’s globetrotting and now the Magpies can look forward to the domestic opener against Manchester City in six days time.

Alan Pardew’s side won five of their eight warm-up games and the Newcastle boss has plenty of positives to take from the past four weeks.

 

The new signings are impressing already

Newcastle have been busy in the transfer window. Nine new faces have arrived after Pardew was forced to overhaul his thin squad.

The men in charge of negotiations – Lee Charnley and Mike Ashley – have done well to get players for good prices and have signed in key areas such as attacking midfield and up front.

Siem de Jong and Jack Colback were the first through the door in July and both have settled quickly, de Jong scoring a stunning volley on his debut against Oldham in Newcastle’s first pre-season game. The Dutchman also impressed many on the tour of New Zealand, linking the play between midfield and attack with his clever movement and incisive passing. He also brings height to the Newcastle attack which makes him a threat when arriving late into the box for crosses and set pieces.

Ayoze Perez has also been bright, making a number of excellent cameos from the bench in most of the Magpies’ friendly games. He took his goal against Sheffield Wednesday brilliantly, timing his run through the Owls’ defence perfectly before confidently beating Chris Kirkland in goal.

Emmanuel Riviere took virtually no time to open his Newcastle goal scoring account and notched against Sydney, Schalke and Huddersfield which will give him the confidence to lead the line when the league kicks off next week.

Arguably the most exciting new boy though is Remy Cabella. The former Montpellier midfielder has looked excellent in his four pre-season outings and has Newcastle fans wanting to see more from their new playmaker.

Despite only playing two games, Daryl Janmaat looks to have settled into life at Newcastle quickly. Against Huddersfield and Real Sociedad, the right-back looked solid and equally comfortable in defence and attack, giving Newcastle’s back line some much-needed reliability in the wide area.

 

Pardew has options on the wing

One of the areas where Newcastle really struggled last season is on the flanks. Pardew never really had an out and out winger to select when his side was finding it hard to break their opponents down but now has two options thanks to a good pre-season campaign.

Gabriel Obertan is one of those options. The Frenchman was widely expected to leave the Magpies before the season starts but now has an outside chance of making an appearance against Man City next week. Pardew has clearly had a talk with the former Bordeaux man and challenged him to resurrect his Newcastle career and the winger has responded in kind. He was excellent against Sheffield Wednesday and was willing to help out his defence as well as make progress down the right wing and changed the game against Newcastle’s most difficult opponents, Real Sociedad.

However, the man that will be in Pardew’s thoughts the most is teenage winger Rolando Aarons. The 18-year-old was given his chance in the first friendly against Oldham and done well, before stealing the show in Newcastle’s impressive 3-1 win over Schalke 04. The youth team graduate brings serious pace to the Geordies’ flanks and also has the end product to match, as he proved with his wonderful cross for Riviere’s goal against the Germans. A sign of how much Pardew likes the youngster came when the squad numbers were announced for the new season: Aarons has been awarded the number 16 shirt, formerly worn by Ryan Taylor.

 

A formation seems to have been settled upon

With the signings of Cabella and de Jong, Alan Pardew seems to have decided on his formation for the upcoming season. A 4-2-3-1 system has been used in all of the warm-up games, with de Jong as the “number ten” when everyone is fit. Against Soceidad, Cabella played in the free role and was impressive, floating across the line and making space for the lone striker, Riviere.

Pardew may have to make a couple of changes when he picks his starting XI to take on Man City though, with de Jong and Cheick Tiote struggling with injury. The Ivorian will definitely miss out, while the former Ajax midfielder may make it in time to make his Newcastle debut.