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Alan Shearer refuses to discuss the biggest culprit in Newcastle 0 Norwich 0 shocker

9 months ago
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Alan Shearer was as gutted as any other Newcastle fan after watching the dross served up on Saturday afternoon.

Almost zero goal threat from the home side against a club rock bottom of the Premier League.

Norwich City somehow failing to do a deserved double over Newcastle United, as a series of missed chances and the brilliant Martin Dubravka delivered a very unlikely point to the Magpies.

A two or three goal win was the minimum that the Canaries deserved on balance of play and chances.

On Match of The Day, Alan Shearer tore into Newcastle’s front three.

The NUFC legend pointing out the failings of Joelinton, ASM and Almiron, only four Premier League goals between them this season.

However, Alan Shearer refused to include the person most responsible for the (latest) mess on Saturday.

It was only a week ago when Newcastle fans watched an almost identical display against League One Oxford, NUFC at home and carrying next to no goal threat. The two matches previous to that saw Newcastle not force a single serious effort on goal in the 90 minutes of each, only to then have outrageous luck with a combined three goals in added time bringing a win and draw against Chelsea and Everton.

This is what we have watched pretty much all season, with very rare exceptions.

So many journalists are clearly matey with Steve Bruce and that has proved a massive problem in terms of any level of objective reporting on Bruce’s NUFC this season. Even worse, Steve Bruce and Alan Shearer are best mates, so the former number nine clearly is in an impossible position when discussing (or failing to discuss) Steve Bruce.

Can you really believe that after this Norwich debacle, Steve Bruce was happy to declare that his game plan was: ‘We set ourselves up to be difficult to beat.’

Against the rock bottom club at home, really?

If this had been one of a number of the previous clowns Mike Ashley has appointed, Alan Shearer would surely have ripped into the manager/head coach for unbelievably negative tactics in such circumstances.

Joelinton is clearly not a great signing for Newcastle, at least not with a £40m price tag and as a supposed centre-forward. Yet the service he gets is all but non-existent a lot of the time.

As for ASM and Almiron, Steve Bruce has them playing as extra defenders most of the time, so when they get the ball they tend to be closer to their own box than halfway line.

Not forgetting how Steve Bruce said a striker hadn’t been a priority in the January window, especially as Carroll, Gayle and Muto should be back for Arsenal on 16 February. Even if you somehow believe Steve Bruce’s optimistic claim of all three back so quick, the fact that between them they haven’t scored a single PL goal this season tells you everything.

Newcastle sat back and defended so deep it was an absolute joke, why not press such a poor team? They arrived as a team who had conceded the most goals in the PL this season and the side with the worst away record, only five points from a possible 42. Why on earth would you be setting yourself up to be ‘hard to beat’ against such an opposition?

In a side that has so few goals and minimal creativity, you also have to look at Bruce’s team selection, as well as formation/tactics.

Why play three out and out defensive centre-backs against such vulnerable opposition? Surely an ideal game for Schar to be bringing the ball out of defence and surging up the pitch. Lejeune is the best passer of the ball out of defence and is also comfortable in possession, so why go with Lascelles, Fernandez and Clark?

Why go ultra defensive in central midfield as well with Hayden and Bentaleb, neither of who ever get forward. Bentaleb doesn’t even look fit (first league start in over nine months yesterday) and hasn’t scored a league goal (that wasn’t a penalty) since 2016.

Matty Longstaff might not be the finished article but in only 545 minutes of Premier League football he has scored two excellent goals, both times breaking from midfield and getting up into shooting/scoring positions, plus he also hit the bar against Man Utd at home. Matty is sour most productive goalscorer in terms of goals per minutes and yet he wasn’t even named in the squad yesterday, little wonder I suppose when Mike Ashley won’t even give him a decent contract – meaning the younger Longstaff could now sign a pre-contract with another club and NUFC would only get £400,000 development compensation in the summer if he left.

Players of course have to absolutely share a large part of the blame for this Norwich match but it is Steve Bruce who is the biggest culprit (after his mate Mike Ashley of course).

Gary Lineker:

“The front three for Newcastle this season Alan, four goals between them?”

Alan Shearer:

“Eighty million quid the recruitment paid for those players.

“This (free header six yards out) is a huge opportunity for Joelinton and it should be in the back of the net. It should be in the back of the net again from Almiron (after Tim Krul parried Joelinton’s header).

“But you are never going to score enough goals whilst you are content and happy with this.

“(Joelinton) Taking a throw-in and the lack of reaction (from Joelinton) to get into the box, you are just not going to do it.

“The ball eventually gets in there, he (Joelinton) is not in there (the penalty area) at all.

“Almiron works hard, never lacks effort, but not enough quality at times.

“Saint-Maximin, he shows flashes of brilliance but doesn’t show it enough and looks lazy at times also.

“I mean, Joelinton has no confidence whatsoever and basically never looks like scoring and the fans are entitled to ask and demand more of those three for £80million.”

Stats from BBC Sport (Half-time stats in brackets):

Newcastle 0 Norwich 0 – Saturday 1 February 2020 3pm

Possession was  Norwich 57% (54%), Newcastle 43% (46%)

Total shots were Norwich 19 (10) Newcastle 15 (6)

Shots on target were  Norwich 4 (3), Newcastle 5 (2)

Corners were Norwich 12 (7), Newcastle 8 (2)

Crowd: 52,204 (1,800 Norwich)

Referee: Martin Atkinson

Newcastle team v Norwich:

Dubravka, Yedlin (Lazaro 54), Fernandez, Lascelles, Clark, Ritchie, Hayden (Sean Longstaff 57), Bentaleb, Almiron, Saint-Maximin (Rose 79), Joelinton

Unused Subs

Darlow, Schar, Lejeune, Atsu

(Daniel Farke can’t believe Norwich didn’t win and jokes “Newcastle have so much quality up front” – Read HERE)

(Newcastle 0 Norwich 0 – Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Saturday’s dismal draw – Read HERE)

(Newcastle 0 Norwich 0 – Watch the official match highlights here as NUFC get very lucky point – Read HERE)

(Usual shocking negative tactics from Steve Bruce against rock bottom club – Newcastle 0 Norwich 0 – Read HERE)

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