Newcastle were given a harsh reminder of how difficult a season they face back in the Premier League, as the Magpies were brushed aside 3-0 by Manchester United.
United, who are 2/1 to win the Premier League, were comprehensive winners, though ominously for their title rivals, they hardly seemed to break sweat.
Old Trafford was never going to be the easiest place to begin the season, but Newcastle manager Chris Hughton will be disappointed with his side’s performance.
Last season’s Championship-winning success was built on defensive solidity and a midfield built to protect the back four.
This rigidity unravelled in the first half, however, as the Newcastle midfield allowed Paul Scholes far too much time and space.
The veteran playmaker duly punished the visitors with an incisive through ball which allowed Dimitar Berbatov to open the scoring with a clinical finish.
Patrice Evra was also given an alarming amount of space to tee up Darren Fletcher for the second, while Jose Enrique’s sloppy pass culminated in a wonderful volleyed goal for Ryan Giggs.
Newcastle are 3/1 to be relegated this season, and while they may not view fixtures like these as wholly significant in their quest for survival, Hughton’s side must improve defens