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Opinion

3 Positives and 3 Negatives from Newcastle 3 Burnley 1

2 weeks ago
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Saturday night ended Newcastle 3 Burnley 1.

A match where Newcastle were clearly the better team first half and Allan Saint-Maximim put them ahead at the break.

However, NUFC allowed Burnley allowed Burnley to take the initiative and then equalise early in the second-half, only for ASM to do his thing again, laying on a sitter for Callum Wilson to set Newcastle once more on the road to victory.

Ahead of each match we ask one of our writers to come up with 3 positives and 3 negatives following the game.

This time it is Billy Miller:

POSITIVES

Maximum Saint-Maximin

Two players were key in us staying up last year, Dubravka and ASM.

Dubravka made significantly more saves than any other keeper in the league and I thought his injury could hit us hard this season. Full marks to Darlow though, who has come in and done a solid job. Even more telling than the goalkeeper’s contribution last term, is that Newcastle only won one PL game that Allan Saint-Maximin didn’t start.

It’s not a small sample, either. In 15 games without ASM starting we won only 1 and lost 9. When we pumped Bournemouth in July, the stats showed that we had won 10 of the 18 games he had started, losing only 4. Our terrible end of season run dragged those stats down and he finished with the same 10 wins from a sample of 23 and having lost 7. However, that is still a win percentage of 43%, when he starts, and a lose rate of 30% compared to a win rate of 6% and a lose rate of 60%, when he doesn’t.

He gives us a spectacularly unique dimension. It sounds obvious but it would have been a different game without him on the pitch. A sublime goal and assist gave us the win. Burnley had no answer for him, and he appeared back to his best after an indifferent start to the season.

The way he’s going though he may spend more time injured than playing. He is easily the most fouled player every time he plays and he limped off again. His comments after the game suggested it was the constant Burnley battering that contributed to his early departure.

7 points from a possible 12 (and a quarter final)

I think we all would have taken that at the start of the season.

This doesn’t tell the whole story and we know the awful realities of the Brighton, Tottenham, Blackburn and Newport games. However, we deserved the wins against the two teams in claret and blue.

Let’s revel in our 6th place position whilst we can, which may only be until Arsenal play today. I think our run of fixtures from the end of the international break until December could be extremely tough and we may be looking at a completely different story as we prepare for Christmas.

We have a proper striker

Isn’t it nice to have a striker that can score goals?

In just 90 minutes, Wilson managed to match Joelinton’s record for Premier League goals for the whole of last season.

Take a second to digest that. In 4 games he has scored double the goals that our number 9 (our number 9!) did in 38 games last year. His work rate is brilliant, constantly closing the defence and keeper. He’s got a good touch and he gets in the positions necessary to sniff out the chances.

I guarantee if Big Joe had been playing as the main striker yesterday, he wouldn’t have been busting a gut to get on the end of ASM’s perfect pass.

Wilson’s got every chance of getting to double figures if he keeps up his current form. Although, I hope he’s not expecting many more penalties. We’ve already had more this season than last.

Having a natural striker appears to be relieving the pressure off of our bewildering Brazilian too. Maybe we’ll see a much-improved Joelinton this time out.

NEGATIVES

The transfer window hasn’t shut

It sounds like we won’t see any further arrivals but there’s every chance there could still be departures.

Sure, there are players we need to get out the club, but there is one that we desperately need to keep hold of. That same man I’ve praised as a match winner on the day and the biggest contributing factor to our wins last season, is completely indispensable. I wonder if Ashley sees it that way though.

We now have Almiron, Fraser, Joelinton, Murphy, Atsu and Hendrick (apparently) that can play on the wings (and let’s not forget Aarons, although it’s easy to do so). If Ashley is offered a chance to double his money on ASM late in this window would he take it? I think there’s more chance of my 7-year-old son ignoring an unguarded pack of Oreos than Ashley refusing a £40 million+ offer.

Injuries, injuries, injuries

We started the game without a centre-back on the bench.

It looks like it’ll be yet another year of a treatment room as crowded as a field hospital at the Battle of The Bulge. I do wonder what conversations went on between Schar and Bruce/the medical staff. Did Schar feel 100% before the game?

Did he feel he needed to come off after the awkward fall? Did he speak to the staff at half time and say he needed to come off?

If he did have any of these conversations, then it’s unbelievable that he kept being shoved out there. He finally came off before an hour was up and ASM limped off later. We’re fortunate that it’s the international break now as it’ll give us some time to get some bodies back in.

Steve Bruce’s embarrassing outbursts

He appears to be a man under pressure and completely out of his depth.

I always feel like anything good that comes from the team is despite him, not because of him. Maybe that statement will be considered harsh but it’s how it seems when you look at the vast majority of the team’s performances compared to the few games that we control.

The press conference rant on Friday was ridiculous. Telling the media they should be more balanced was a fair suggestion. However, most of the media have overwhelming backed Steve Bruce and should be more balanced in their criticism of him.

He said things like, ‘can you not explain to the supporters what we are trying to do?’ Well, Steve, why don’t you tell us what you’re trying to do? Because us simpleminded supporters just aren’t on your intellectual wavelength. Before the game he said that we could call the formation a 442 or a 4231. Why don’t you explain to yourself what you’re trying to do, Steve?

After the match he repeated a similar sentiment, stating, ‘I just hope the supporters can see what we’re trying to do.’

It was a decent performance, the players worked hard and there was a lot of pressing. However, it was against a side with zero points this season and I doubt the game would have seemed quite as easy if Saint-Maximin hadn’t been on the pitch.

This constant belittling of our ability to interpret what we witness week on week is an insult to the fanbase and makes me like the man even less.

We were destroyed by Brighton and Tottenham in the league and outplayed by lower league teams in 2 of our 3 cup ties. We probably have our strongest squad since we were relegated last but I can’t ever see us kicking on with Bruce in charge. It’s unlikely we’ll experience anything else until Ashley finally sells the club though.

Stats from BBC Sport:

Newcastle 3 Burnley 1 – Saturday 3 October 8pm

Goals:

Newcastle:

Saint-Maximin 14, Wilson 65, 77 pen

Burnley:

Westwood 61

(Half-time stats in brackets)

Possession was Burnley 52% (42%) Newcastle 48% (58%)

Total shots were Burnley 8 (3) Newcastle 10 (4)

Shots on target were Burnley 4 (1) Newcastle 5 (2)

Corners were Burnley 4 (2) Newcastle 3 (2)

Referee: David Coote

Newcastle United:

Darlow, Krafth, Fernandez, Schar (Manquillo 55), Lewis, Shelvey, Hayden, Hendrick, Joelinton (Sean Longstaff 90+3), Wilson, Saint-Maximin (Fraser 73)

Unused Subs:

Gillespie, Carroll, Murphy, Almiron

Crowd: 00,000

(Sean Dyche points finger at match officials after losing to Newcastle United – Read HERE)

(Steve Bruce can’t resist another nibble after Newcastle United beat Burnley – Read HERE)

(Newcastle 3 Burnley 1 – Match ratings and comments on all NUFC players – Read HERE)

(Newcastle 3 Burnley 1 – Watch official match highlights here incl all 3 NUFC goals)

(Newcastle 3 Burnley 1 – Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Saturday’s win – Read HERE)

You can follow the author on Twitter @billymerlin

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