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Opinion

Never mind the tactics or quality of football, just feel the points!

11 months ago
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Everybody at Newcastle United deserves the credit for these results.

The players, the fans, the tea lady and yes…even Steve Bruce.

Winning football matches is the name of the game and that is the case whether you are Liverpool at the top of the Premier League, right down to Sunderland who are not in the Premier League, as well as everything in between.

If you win football matches then everybody is happy, it is mission accomplished at the end of the 90 minutes.

It is the way you measure success.

The most successful football clubs are the ones who win the most football matches. It really is that simple.

However, how is he doing it?

I am beginning to see Steve Bruce in the same light as Dynamo.

The magician is my very favourite and how he does those tricks, illusions, whatever, is just impossible, it just defies logic…

There is trickery taking place but I just can’t see it with the naked eye, I am being distracted somehow, the magician/illusionist is deceiving me but I am also enjoying the final outcome.

Much as you have to acknowledge the number of positive results and points accumulated this season by Newcastle United, you are also surely duty bound to say how the fu.. are we winning these games?

As a kid I loved Muhammad Ali and in particular his ‘rumble in the jungle’ with George Foreman.

Ali just lay back on the ropes and refused to attack, letting Foreman batter him, relying on his incredible ability to minimise the pain/damage by avoiding many of the punches thrown or at least soften them as much as possible.

George Foreman found it impossible to knock his opponent out and as Foreman tired, Ali rallied late and won the fight.

This is Newcastle United at the moment…against Sheffield United and Southampton I counted five serious shots on target, four were goals and the other one was Sean Longstaff’s shot that was saved today and Fernandez put in the rebound.

Steve Bruce has Newcastle lying back on the ropes and somehow the likes of Sheffield United, Brighton, Man City, Watford, Bournemouth, Southampton…have failed to properly take advantage.

The expertise of Martin Dubravka and his defenders preventing serious damage in most cases, massively against the odds.

Newcastle do have grit, determination, character and they maybe even have the basis of a decent football team hiding somewhere there.

However, we haven’t really seen it so far. We have seen the defensive resilience that we already knew existed and we have seen odd moments of ability, such as Carroll’s cross for Shelvey today, but we haven’t seen any proper sustained form.

Some people/journalists talk of Newcastle’s great form…it has been a run of great results but form? I honestly can’t even see a plan to try and score a goal in pretty much any game so far, the results achieved by a limited series of moments where the character of the team pushes them into areas where something happens, more often than not during or straight after a set-piece, when our defenders are up the pitch, as was the case with the Fernandez winner against Southampton.

Steve Bruce hasn’t got a cunning plan, instead he has his team continually sitting back so deep and saying to the other team try and score some goals. If there is a plan it is to then after the opposition have tired and become disillusioned with their many wasted chances, to belatedly pressure them and hope chances come along.

At the very start of Mike Ashley’s reign we wondered for a while if we had indeed misjudged the ultimate bluffer, Sam Allardyce. The football and tactics were largely rubbish but Newcastle won five and drew two of his first nine Premier League game, it all though quickly fell apart as the luck ran out, his final 13 matches producing just two more victories.

For me, Steve Bruce at the moment is like one of those gamblers who once in a blue moon have a run of form where they can do no wrong. Even if they try to back a loser it somehow ends up winning.

I have a feeling we are in a period of time where it is very much enjoy it while it lasts, lets enjoy it to the max while we can.

Never mind the tactics or quality of football, just feel the points!

Stats from BBC Sport:

Newcastle 2 Southampton 1 – Sunday 8 December 2pm

Goals:

Newcastle United:

Shelvey 68 Fernandez 87

Southampton:

Ings 52

Possession was Southampton 55%, Newcastle 45%

Total shots were Southampton 19, Newcastle 12

Shots on target were Southampton 4, Newcastle 6

Corners were Southampton 12, Newcastle 3

Crowd: 42,303 (1,400 Southampton)

Referee: David Coote

Newcastle team v Southampton:

Dubravka, Manquillo, Fernandez, Dummett, Clark (Schar 45), Willems, Hayden, Shelvey, Saint-Maximin (Atsu 81), Almiron (Sean Longstaff 85), Joelinton (Carroll 59)

Unused Subs

Darlow, Gayle, Atsu, Krafth

(Newcastle 2 Southampton 1 – Match ratings and comments on all NUFC players – Read HERE)

(Newcastle 2 Southampton 1 – Watch official match highlights and comeback goals here! – Read HERE)

(Toon For Change public statement after 10,000 Newcastle United fans protest today v Southampton – Read HERE)

(Ralph Hasenhuttl : Says Southampton robbed at Newcastle as played all the football and most chances – Read HERE)

(Newcastle 2 Southampton 1 – Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Sunday’s win – Read HERE)

(3 Positives and 3 Negatives from Newcastle 2 Southampton 1 – Read HERE)

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