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Newcastle United star catching the Steve Bruce bug ‘We were always a threat going forward’

3 months ago
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Steve Bruce was at his delusional best on Saturday, when commenting after the game.

The Newcastle United head coach claiming: ‘We had some unbelievable opportunities…The way we played I thought we gave as good as we got.’

Maybe in terms of effort you can say Newcastle gave as good as they got but it is embarrassing to suggest that this was anything but  an easy win for Chelsea, apart from the scoreline.

We have all seen plenty of game where luck goes for and against you, where the scoreline doesn’t really reflect the play and chances created, which is one of the reasons why we love football so much. It isn’t like most other sports where the team that has an overwhelming amount of the play and pressure, almost always wins easily. Sometimes your goalkeeper is inspired, defenders make great blocks and get lucky, the opposition miss easy chances, the woodwork saves you…

All of those things happened in the Newcastle penalty area.

In contrast, Newcastle struggled to get out of their half most of the 90 minutes, ending the game without any corners and not a single effort on target.

Ciaran Clark though appears to have had a few pints of what Steve Bruce has been drinking, when he claims Newcastle ‘were always a threat going forward’ on Saturday.

If you substitute the word ‘never’ for ‘always’ then you are on the money.

Confusingly, Ciaran Clark also admits ‘we didn’t really create a clear-cut chance’ against Chelsea and  the home side ‘having all of the ball’ in the second-half.

I understand wanting to accentuate the positives but Allan Saint-Maximin pressurising a poor Chelsea defence a few times in the first 20 minutes and Newcastle having good possession a few times outside the box, doesn’t equal much of a threat, if any, overall.

All of the positives were in the commitment of the team and the discipline of the defending which somehow helped keep Chelsea out for so long, with Ciaran Clark able to take great pride in his own display as Newcastle’s best defender.

Like every game this season, Newcastle rarely (if ever) looked like scoring.

Where the goals are going to come from, or even how chances are to be created, is a massive issue as things stand.

Whether this is a problem due to the head coach and/or the players is the big debate.

If it due to the lack of quality of both then we have real problems, gritty disciplined defending will only take you so far.

Ciaran Clark reflecting on Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to Chelsea:

“We were always a threat going forward with the pace of Max (Allan Saint-Maximin) and Miggy (Miguel Almiron).

“Late on we were chucking balls into the box hoping for that knock-down or someone to get a bit of luck but it never really happened.

“It was a bit too high (when the ball was crossed for Ciaran Clark late on and he headed over), I knew that there were other lads (in the box) and I heard Jamaal (Lascelles) shouting…but I just couldn’t get up and get it back into him.

“It was one of those. We didn’t really create a clear-cut chance (in the game).

“I think in the first half we limited their chances and we we have probably looked a threat ourselves going forward.

“But second half it seemed to be more one-sided and them having all of the ball, we couldn’t keep hold of it and we found it difficult to get out of our own half.

“It was just that one moment of lapse (for Chelsea’s goal).

“For a lot of the game we did limit them and there were some great blocks, we tried to keep them at bay but when it keeps coming back and back, we couldn’t really get out of our half as much as we did in the first half, we found that pretty tough.

“We put a good performance in, everyone worked hard and we did cause problems going forward in the first half.”

Stats from BBC Sport:

Chelsea 1 Newcastle 0  – Saturday 19 October 3pm

Goals:

Chelsea

Alonso 73

Possession was Chelsea 71% Newcastle 29%

Total shots were Chelsea 16 Newcastle 5

Shots on target were Chelsea 8 Newcastle 0

Corners were Chelsea 11 Newcastle 0

Referee: Andre Marriner

Newcastle team:

Dubravka, Yedlin, Schar, Lascelles, Clark, Willems, M Longstaff, S Longstaff, Saint-Maximin (Gayle 85), Almiron (Carroll 70), Joelinton (Atsu 83)

Unused Subs

Darlow, Dummett, Shelvey, Krafth

(Chelsea 1 Newcastle 0 – Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Saturday’s defeat – Read HERE)

(Steve Bruce verging on delusional after Chelsea 1 Newcastle 0 “We had some unbelievable opportunities” – Read HERE)

(Match ratings and comments on all players – Read HERE)

(Watch the Chelsea 1 Newcastle 0 official match highlights HERE)

(A negative display ends Chelsea 1 Newcastle 0 and Steve Bruce’s team back in relegation zone – Read HERE)

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