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Steve Bruce further exposed on Sunday – No other Premier League club would have entertained him

5 months ago
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Steve Bruce had last managed in the Premier League in 2014/15.

No wonder he was amazed to get the Newcastle United job.

Relegating Hull City back in 2015, Steve Bruce then spent the next four years either out of work or in the Championship.

Little surprise that despite the conditions with which it came attached, Bruce grabbed Mike Ashley’s lifebelt with both hands when it was thrown to him last July.

Whilst his mates in the media persistently ignore the obvious, Steve Bruce clearly hasn’t got a clue.

Like a scene from Blackadder, Steve Bruce believes that if a cunning plan looks terrible 25 times, it is always worth trying once again.

Bruce has enjoyed incredible luck this season, as along with Martin Dubravka and the character of the players, it has somehow dragged NUFC to 31 points.

Those points/wins have come despite Steve Bruce’s influence/tactics, not because of him/them.

Lining up Joelinton as an isolated striker with a withdrawn ASM and Almiron is a terrible tactic/waste and yet Steve Bruce used it yet again at Arsenal.

Both Almiron and ASM showed some threat in the first half but that only came via isolated runs with no support from teammates, imagine if they were managed by somebody who knew what he was doing and incorporated them in an at least semi-attacking plan?

There is absolutely no plan from Steve Bruce, just the team going onto the pitch and trying to defend, with the hope that a goal will come from somewhere at the other end.

At the end of the transfer window on 31 January, Steve Bruce said adding a striker hadn’t been a priority because Carroll, Gayle and Muto should all be back for today’s match at Arsenal. To nobody’s great surprise, not a single one of the trio were even in the matchday squad at Arsenal and Newcastle didn’t have one striker on the bench.

Not a single player was bought in January and instead Bruce (Mike Ashley) brought in three short-term loans.

The likes of Rose and Lazaro using Newcastle to get fit for the Euros this summer after months with hardly any football for their clubs, players who have no intention of signing permanently at NUFC. Steve Bruce admitted after the 4-0 hammering that the loan players are still working back to full fitness.

With the loan players set to disappear in a few months time, what it does to the morale of the contracted players such as Ritchie, Hayden and Yedlin who are then dropped to make room for the temporary signings?

The media were keen to talk of an eight match unbeaten run before this Arsenal match but the reality now is that the last 12 games have seen one win in eight Premier League matches (three draws and four defeats), plus it taking four games and extra time to get past two League One clubs in the FA Cup.

Newcastle did ok (nothing more) in the first half at the Emirates against a very average Arsenal team, an Arsenal team that had only two wins in their last 17 PL matches.

Steve Bruce afterwards talked about the failure of Newcastle to take their two chances but that sums the Newcastle Head Coach up. Game after game he picks out the odd chance Newcastle have where they could have scored but anybody could say that about any team, very rarely do teams have zero chances.

Reality is that by the final whistle, this was the same as pretty much every other Newcastle match this season, the opposition having dominated possession and chances, though Arsenal punishing NUFC when a number of others have let the Magpies off the hook.

Steve Bruce and Mike Ashley are very fortunate that these last few rounds of fixtures have seen clubs below struggle to pick up points.

Survival is still thankfully the most likely end result but if that proves the case, it will be due to a number of factors, none of which are Steve Bruce.

Stats from BBC Sport:

Arsenal 4 Newcastle 0 – Sunday 16 February 2020 4.30pm

Goals:

Arsenal:

Aubameyang 54, Pepe 57, Ozil 90, Lacazette 90+5

Possession was  Arsenal 69%, Newcastle 31%

Total shots were Arsenal 15 Newcastle 10

Shots on target were Arsenal 7, Newcastle 2

Corners were Arsenal 5, Newcastle 6

Crowd: 60,188 (3,000 Newcastle)

Referee: Lee Mason

Newcastle team v Arsenal:

Dubravka, Lazaro (Hayden 74), Fernandez (Ritchie 75), Lascelles, Clark (Schar 83), Rose, Sean Longstaff, Bentaleb, Almiron, Saint-Maximin, Joelinton

Unused Subs

Darlow, Matty Longstaff, Lejeune, Atsu

(Arsenal 4 Newcastle 0 – Watch official match highlights here as NUFC collapse after decent first half – Watch HERE)

(Arsenal 4 Newcastle 0 – Match ratings and comments on all NUFC players – Read HERE)

(Steve Bruce desperate for positives after Arsenal 4 Newcastle 0 – Delighted with 2 players, pleased with Joelinton – Read HERE)

(Arsenal 4 Newcastle 0 – Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Sunday’s dismal defeat – Read HERE)

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