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Steve Bruce self isolates Newcastle players going near opposition goal – Set to last 9 months

4 weeks ago
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Steve Bruce is a big subscriber to the idea that there are no easy games in the Premier League.

So much so, he has actually taken this to a whole new level.

Steve Bruce clearly thinks every single Premier League opposition is a brilliant, all but impossible to defeat, team.

We have seen this all before at Newcastle United of course.

The likes of Alan Pardew, John Carver, JFK and Steve McClaren going to such massive efforts beforehand to build up the next opponents.

Obviously doing this for two reasons: if Newcastle lose then refer back to how good you said this other team were, or if you get a draw or even a win, you can then make out that this is so incredible because of what you said ahead of the match.

This is what Steve Bruce said on Friday, pre-match ahead of playing Tottenham:

“I’m mindful of the fact that we need to be in a position where we can play a couple of formations.

“Most teams have that in their locker. It’s something we have been working on.

“We can’t think we can go and play against the top teams and match them just in a game of football – we have to do something different, tactically.

“We did it well against the top teams last year. Let’s hope we can do the same again this year.”

Then Steve Bruce post-match after Sunday’s 1-1 draw:

“My thought process was to stay in the game for as long as we could…it [the plan] was stay in the game but we need to do better than we did in the first half.

“I know Tottenham were good but we didn’t do enough in my opinion.

“The plan was to stay in the game and see what we could do on the counter-attack but it was difficult.

“In the first half, we found it a real struggle against a really good Tottenham team.”

Steve Bruce is creating an illusion, apart from Liverpool and to an extent Man City, there aren’t any really ‘top’ teams, certainly not ones where you need to all hide in a bunker hoping to simply survive.

The thing is, this all out defensive mindset is simply a continuation of what we saw almost all of last season and the early stages of this one, it only very rarely gets accidentally moved away from, when the opposition are so woeful on the day, such as the 4-1 against Bournemouth towards the end of last season, or to an extent West Ham this season, though the Hammers still had more possession, corners and shots on target.

Here are Newcastle’s most recent matches and how many shots on target NUFC had in each one:

Tottenham 1 Newcastle 1 (one)

Newcastle 0 Brighton 3 (zero)

Newcastle 1 Blackburn 0 (two)

West Ham 0 Newcastle 2 (two)

Newcastle 1 Liverpool 3 (two)

Brighton 0 Newcastle 0 (one)

That is eight shots on target in six games and Newcastle scored with five of the eight! I have left out the Morecambe one of course, yes it was 7-0 but against a side missing five first team players and which finished 89th of 91 league clubs last season. In the home match against Blackburn, the visitors totally dominated and had 65% possession!

It is quite incredibly brave of Steve Bruce to swim against the tide this season.

The goals and great attacking football are flowing like never before, a record 44 PL goals last weekend. This weekend in the other seven games played so far they averaged almost four per match (27 goals in seven games), only Newcastle attempted to go in the opposite direction. Steve Bruce camping his entire team around the penalty area hoping to simply sicken Tottenham, whilst having no intention / idea of Newcastle trying to attack. Spurs somehow scoring only once whilst Newcastle not a single shot on target until gifted the 97th minute penalty.

Steve Bruce self isolating the Newcastle players from going near the opposition goal –  These restrictions set to last 9 months…

Steve Bruce built up Tottenham as this brilliant team but what was the reality of their opening two matches?

At home to Everton, Spurs lost 1-0 in their opening fixture. The stats were Spurs 52% Everton 48%, Spurs 9 shots to Everton 15, on target 5 v 4, corners 5 v 3.

Steve Bruce made a lot of Tottenham scoring five at Southampton, winning 5-2 a week ago. The stats were Southampton 53% Spurs 47%, Southampton 14 shots to Spurs 9, Southampton 7 shots on target to Spurs 6, with Southampton 3 corners and Spurs 2.

In actual fact, Southampton were marginally the better team but everything Spurs hit, went in, five of their six efforts on target. Pretty much the exact opposite of Sunday’s match against Newcastle, where Spurs only scored with one of their 23 shots, only one goal from their 12 on target.

Spurs were very lucky to get top six last season on goal difference, this time I would very very surprised if they fluked it again.

Son and Kane are good but unless Bale hits the ground running, who else is above average. I see the likes of Leicester, Wolves and Everton as better teams than Tottenham, no doubt Steve Bruce will start talking about a ‘big ten’ or ‘top ten’ (or more) clubs where you just can’t expect anything unless you refuse to attack and pray the opposition don’t take their chances.

What is even more incredible is the fact Bruce’s mates in the media refuse to spell out how very very bad this is, that Newcastle now stand alone as such an ultra negative club.

What is more, Steve Bruce has been allowed a £100m net spend on players in the 14 months he has been at Newcastle United.

How much more would he need to spend to then feel confident enough to allow his players to do anything but defend against the likes of Spurs, Brighton, Blackburn and whoever?

Stats from BBC Sport:

Tottenham 1 Newcastle 1 – Sunday 27 September 2pm

Goals:

Newcastle United:

Wilson pen 90+7

Tottenham:

Moura 25

(Half-time stats in brackets)

Possession was Tottenham 66% (68%) Newcastle 34% (32%)

Total shots were Tottenham 23 (12) Newcastle 6 (2)

Shots on target were Tottenham 12 (5) Newcastle 1 (0)

Corners were Tottenham 10 (5) Newcastle 4 (2)

Referee: Peter Bankes

Newcastle United:

Darlow, Manquillo, Fernandez, Lascelles, Ritchie (Lewis 69), Shelvey, Hayden, Hendrick (Murphy 74), Almiron (Carroll 77), Wilson, Joelinton

Unused Subs:

Gillespie, Krafth, Yedlin, Sean Longstaff

Crowd: 00,000

(Steve Bruce admits Newcastle United star looks set for operation and four months out – Read HERE)

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

(Jose Mourinho takes vow of silence after Newcastle United spoil his super Sunday – Read HERE)

(Jamie Carragher loves what he sees in Newcastle match “Absolute disgrace. It is an absolute joke.” – Read HERE)

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

(Tottenham 1 Newcastle 1 – Watch official match highlights here incl every NUFC shot on target)

(Steve Bruce makes public his brilliant cunning plan that mastered Jose Mourinho – Read HERE)

(Tottenham 1 Newcastle 1 – Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Sunday’s unbelievable draw – Read HERE)

(Deserved penalty and first NUFC shot on target in over 3 hours – Tottenham 1 Newcastle 1 – Read HERE)

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