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Opinion

The fact that Steve Bruce thinks that this has only been a worry the last few weeks tells you everything

1 month ago
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On Friday, Steve Bruce has indicated he is set to make changes.

It appears he will be going with a back four instead of back five against Burnley.

The NUFC Head Coach telling Sky Sports on Friday morning that they have been working on a ‘new formation’ in training all this week.

Then in a clip released from the pre-Burnley press conference, Steve Bruce said…

“You know, we haven’t created enough and done enough (recently).

“And whereas we were a threat, I believe, you know, on the counter-attack.

“I just think that that has waned over the last few weeks for whatever reason.

“So we have to maybe try something different and see if we can obviously create more chances and score more goals.

“Because if we don’t, it is impossible to win a match.

“So, we will maybe think about doing something different.”

I must confess, I found it uplifting that Steve Bruce has finally became aware of the connection between creating chances/scoring goals and winning football matches, pointing out it is impossible to do so otherwise.

However, to me it says everything when Steve Bruce claims, or even really thinks, that Newcastle have only not been much of a threat these last few weeks, especially ‘on the counter-attack.’

When exactly have Newcastle scored proper counter-attacking goals this season in the Premier League? You know, ones where you are defending, win possession back, then sweep up the other end and the move ends in a goal? As opposed to gaining ground a bit like they do in rugby, to get close enough to then throw the ball into the box from set-pieces or in the aftermath of one, or gaining ground gradually or via an ASM run in open play?

I can think of Matty Longstaff home and away against Man Utd, Shelvey at Sheffield United, then after that I am struggling a bit.

I would say in recent weeks it has got even worse but that is from a starting point of having all but zero counter-attacking threat to start with.

Newcastle have scored not a single PL goal in February, or even really created many/any chance against Norwich, Arsenal and Palace, but before that…

Everton was abysmal and not a single shot on goal until NUFC slung two hopeful balls into the box in added time and Lejeune got on the end of both. The luckiest draw ever.

Before that Chelsea was the same, Kepa with not a save to make until the final seconds a hopeful deep cross was glanced in off Hayden’s face.

At Wolves, Almiron scored on seven minutes and then NUFC didn’t have another shot, hardly even got in their half.

The 0-3 at home to Leicester zero threat and we are then heading back into 2019!

There hasn’t really been a single game this season where Newcastle have carried any real threat all the way through any Premier League game.

Even at West Ham, Newcastle were a threat for 50 minutes or so and went 3-0, helped by their hopeless keeper, then Steve Bruce put the brakes on, told his team to retreat and handed over control, then left hanging on as West Ham came back with two goals and almost got a point.

Whatever changes Bruce does make, one thing is for sure, Newcastle can’t be any less of  a threat going forward.

Plus, despite such negative tactics, opposition teams are creating more and more chances, with even Norwich and Palace this month wasting a load of them.

Just maybe Steve Bruce will come up with a tactical masterclass against Burnley, there is a first time for everything!

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