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Opinion

Chelsea could be team to give Newcastle the hiding that’s been coming unless Bruce changes course

1 week ago
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I have got a bad feeling about this Chelsea match on Saturday.

Like a lot of other Newcastle United fans, there is a growing sense of a hammering coming along sometime soon.

Yes, we’ve conceded three to Brighton and four to Man Utd BUT in so many games the usual suspects have come to our aid to help keep the score down, including in those two matches, with Karl Darlow, luck, the woodwork and wasteful finishing by the opposition being relied on far too much.

Steve Bruce has his team sitting so deep with the whole team defending week after week, handing total control to the opposition and inviting them to pepper the Newcastle goal with shots, Karl Darlow having faced more than any other keeper, 132 shots (on and off target) in only eight Premier League matches.

Whilst at the other end, luck has also very much gone Bruce’s way, his ultra defensive tactics leading to only 20 efforts on target by NUFC in the Premier League, yet somehow scoring with 10 of the 20.

On Saturday we see the Head Coach with the most negative tactics up against the Manager with the most attacking team.

Buoyed by major summer spending, Frank Lampard’s team are free scoring and with 20 goals top the PL charts.

In total Chelsea have scored 34 goals in 13 games in all competitions and in nine of the matches have scored three or more goals, including in six of the eight Premier League matches.

The last two PL games saw Chelsea go to Burnley and win 3-0, the home side without a single effort on target whilst Lampard’s team had 64% possession with nine shots on target, the very last match a 4-1 home win over Sheffield United with 70% possession and 20 shots – nine of them on target.

The season’s possession stats show Chelsea averaging 59% and Newcastle 40% (source fbref site), those averages look sure to go even more extreme unless Steve Bruce can be convinced that all out defence isn’t a strategy that is working, only luck having prevented some right hammerings.

With 10 conceded in the eight PL matches, it is clear where Chelsea’s strength doesn’t lie and both West Brom and Southampton have scored three each, pointing towards what Steve Bruce needs to do – put more faith in the attacking players he has helped assemble, rather than simply sitting so deep and hoping the opposition don’t take one of their numerous chances.

Chelsea have had the second highest number of shots on target (48) in the Premier League and the second most passes (5,068), in contrast Newcastle with only 2,950 passes, the fifth lowest.

Chelsea will come to St James Park and attack, just like they do pretty much every match with this team Frank Lampard has assembled.

Newcastle United have become a bit of a bogey team for Chelsea in recent times with five wins, one draw and just one defeat in the last seven games at St James Park between the two clubs.

However, that alone won’t protect Newcastle and Steve Bruce has to allow his team to come out of their shell, or it’s very likely they will finally get this hiding that has been threatened in so many games this season.

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