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Opinion

Alan Shearer fails to address the Elephant in the room at Newcastle United

4 weeks ago
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Alan Shearer has been reflecting on Saturday’s game at St James Park.

The Newcastle United legend no doubt wishing yesterday hadn’t been his slot in the Match of The Day rota.

You get the odd goalless draw that is a classic, this though wasn’t one of them.

Gary Linker teased Alan Shearer about the great reception ‘a proper Geordie hero’ like Andy Carroll received when he came on as a late substitute.

However, on a more serious note, Lineker pointed to the lack of goals on show from both teams. Little wonder when no Premier League has scored less than NUFC’s four from six games and Brighton have scored only one more.

Alan Shearer admitted Brighton were the better team and Newcastle ‘really poor’, although he still pointed to Almiron having a shot saved and Joelinton putting a header wide.

However, Shearer failed to address the real Elephant in the room, we all know that Mike Ashley is always at the heart of the club’s problems BUT Steve Bruce is looking very much what the vast majority of fans thought, a Championship level manager who should never have been considered.

With Bruce being one of his best mates it puts Alan Shearer in a very difficult position but many more clueless tactics and displays such as this and Shearer will have no option but to point out the Head Coach’s obvious shortcomings.

Brighton didn’t score but they played some great football and cut through a very negative Newcastle formation at will. As Tim Cahill says, if they’d had any conviction once they got to the box then the Seagulls would have won comfortably.

Newcastle were shocking and whilst Shearer point out the two chances NUFC did have, the reality is that they were at home against another relegation contender and struggled to create chances as usual. Only 29% possession and Newcastle went into Saturday’s game averaging 33% possession in the first five games, the lowest in the division.

Against Watford and Norwich it was the same story apart from a 10-15 minute spell in the second half against the Hornets when Newcastle had a bit of a go.

When you consider those two teams have conceded 30 goals in their other 10 PL games, what chance will Newcastle have playing the likes of Leicester, Man Utd, Chelsea, Wolves and West Ham in their next five games?

There is little hiding space now for Steve Bruce. You can accept up to a point him doing Mike Ashley’s bidding and making laughable claims of attacking front foot football and clearing away Rafa Benitez’ supposed negativity BUT Bruce has to come up with some kind of plan, something that shows us that at least against relegation candidates such as Norwich, Watford and Brighton he has some kind of clue/strategy on how he is going to try and pick up wins.

The alternative of course is that we get another Mike Ashley patsy and if Steve Bruce was 11th on the list, you really have to fear who was 12th…

Gary Lineker on Match of The Day:

“Lovely reception (When Andy Carroll came on) for a proper Geordie hero!

“Two teams struggling to score, a bit blunt at the sharp end?”

Alan Shearer:

“Yes, you can see why.

“I thought it was a really poor game.

“Brighton I thought were the better team.

“Newcastle were really poor.

“But…still had two very, very good chances that they should have scored from.

“Almiron the first one, no confidence whatsoever.

“I never fancied him to score, desperately needs a goal, still hasn’t scored.

“Then Joelinton finds himself free near post, free header (from a corner) eight yards out, should score.”

Tim Cahill:

“Brighton on the attack, getting in great positions…I think they lacked the conviction for the finish.

“Brighton’s play today was great from the back, all the way through (apart from putting the chances away).”

Stats from BBC Sport:

Newcastle 0 Brighton 0 – Saturday 21  September 5.30pm

Goals:

 

Possession was Brighton 71% Newcastle 29%

Total shots were Brighton 16 Newcastle 11

Shots on target were Brighton 3 Newcastle 4

Corners were Brighton 3 Newcastle 5

Referee: Martin Atkinson

Newcastle team v Brighton:

Dubravka, Manquillo, Schar (Fernandez 80), Lascelles, Dummett, Willems (Carroll 82), Hayden, Shelvey (Ki 73), Atsu, Almiron (Saint-Maximin 73), Joelinton

Unused Subs

Darlow, Muto, Krafth, Fernandez

Crowd: 43,360 (Looked less than 40,000 actually inside SJP (1,500 Brighton))

(Match ratings and comments on all NUFC players after Newcastle 0 Brighton 0 – Read HERE)

(Brighton boss gutted his team didn’t win – Read HERE)

(Watch official match highlights HERE)

(Steve Bruce reacts to the performance and result – read HERE)

(Read instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to the game HERE)

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