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Opinion

As January window closed Steve Bruce said didn’t need a striker – Then this happened (couldn’t make it up)

9 months ago
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People say and do the funniest things.

For example, just look at Steve Bruce.

We are now over seven months into his role as Mike Ashley’s latest Head Coach (patsy, stooge…) and it just gets better and better. Not in a football sense of course, I was meaning the ‘funny’ things that the NUFC team boss says.

Just look at what Steve Bruce said on the final day of last month…

Steve Bruce asked on 31 January 2020 if it was a major worry that no striker/goalscorer had been signed in the January transfer window:

“I know in two weeks, probably for the Arsenal game (on Sunday 16 February), we will have Andy Carroll, Dwight Yorke (***He meant Dwight Gayle…presumably)  and Muto all available.

“I think if you look through our whole front line, we haven’t scored enough at the top end of the pitch.

“We understand that.

“But you know, that has been the case since the beginning of August.

“So you know, I don’t think there was out there, somebody who would realistically make us any better (up front).

“So if they aren’t better than what we have got, what is the point?”

You really couldn’t make it up, fact stranger than fiction.

None of the three of course were available for Arsenal, as yet again Steve Bruce misled the fans on when players would return.

Yoshino Muto of course didn’t even get into the squad at Palace despite being fit now.

Dwight Gayle only got 19 minutes at Palace, making it 198 Premier League minutes in total for the season. Steve Bruce keeps saying what a valuable player Gayle is and how much he rates him, yet has named him 14 times on the bench and only two starts in the league.

As for Andy Carroll, the most predictable of all, not even back in training never mind playing, despite Bruce’s over the top positive prediction on 31 January.

So what happened after Steve Bruce said at the end of January that there had been nobody better out there than the strikers Newcastle have already got?

February form of Premier League clubs:

Yes, that’s right, Newcastle United haven’t scored a single goal so far in February, only one day/game to go before we have a completely dry February for PL goals.

Norwich the only other Premier League club not to score in February so far, all the others scoring two or more.

Dominated by Norwich at home and not testing their keeper in any serious way in a very lucky 0-0 draw, hammered 4-0 at Arsenal with minimal attacking threat, then lucky to only lose 1-0 at Palace, the only two NUFC efforts on target from 25 and 30 yards.

Yes, difficult to imagine there being any striker out there in January who could have made Newcastle United more of a threat…

All the focus on Steve Bruce’s words at the end of the transfer window was him saying there being nobody better out there than what NUFC already had. However, just focus on these words, I hadn’t really put any emphasis on them before: ‘I think if you look through our whole front line, we haven’t scored enough at the top end of the pitch. We understand that. But you know, that has been the case since the beginning of August.’

So, a big part of the justification for not bringing in a striker(s) in January, was that Newcastle hadn’t just struggled to have any strikers scoring recently, it had been a season-long problem!

Am I missing something?

If it has been a problem all season then surely that tells you it was even more vital to do something in January!

It is funny that Newcastle United could go out and find a left wing-back who was instantly better than any other option at the club.

The same in central midfield and at right wing-back.

Certainly no Newcastle fans were saying central midfield was an absolute priority for a different option, especially when Bentaleb looks worse than what we already have. How Hayden must feel…

Indeed, none of the loan signings look fit, which is no surprise as they have hardly played this season. Yet they all appear guaranteed to start regardless, if available.

Lazaro looks a far worse defender than even Yedlin, never mind Manquillo. Whilst Danny Rose has  been really poor and looks disinterested, I doubt many, if any, Newcastle fans would be picking him ahead of Ritchie.

So positions where we weren’t really struggling that badly could all be improved, yet the area where we are absolutely feeble (one PL goal all season from four strikers), there wasn’t a single better option out there.

Another defeat and failure to score against Burnley will make it only one win in ten Premier League games and only seven goals in the last twelve. The pressure going up several more notches with no new options to go with, due to no strikers signed in January, even on loan.

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