The Magpies are widely regarded as the overwhelming favourites to win the Championship title this season and make an immediate return to the Premier League following their tough relegation.
However, Rafa Benitez’s men made a poor start to life in the second tier as they were downed 1-0 at Fulham, with striker Matt Smith scoring the only goal of the game via a first-half header from a corner.
Newcastle had plenty of high-profile names out on the pitch, yet they struggled to get going with highly-rated forward Ayoze Perez putting in arguably one of his worst performances for the club.
|Shots on Target||Key Passes||Take-ons||Touches||Unsuccessful Touches||Dispossessed||Ball Recoveries||Mins Played|
As shown by the table provided by Opta, the former Tenerife ace disappointed throughout and it came as little surprise to see him hauled off with 20 minutes plus stoppage time of the encounter remaining.
Perez had two efforts on goal but failed to hit the target with either, while despite being tasked with a creative role he did not manage to record a single successful take-on or key pass.
But arguably the most disappointing aspect of Perez’s display was his general ball control, with a player of his evident ability losing possession on as many as five occasions via a bad touch or mis-control.
The 23-year-old has plenty of ability and enormous potential, with a recent report in the Sun even accrediting La Liga giants Barcelona with an interest in his services as they seek to further strengthen their attack.
However, it just didn’t happen for Perez at Craven Cottage, and now the Spaniard and his Newcastle teammates must go back to the drawing board and quickly put this defeat behind them.