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Mark Lawrenson has a new ‘awkward’ message for Newcastle United fans

4 days ago
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Mark Lawrenson confidently predicted that Steve Bruce’s expertise would enable Newcastle to get a draw at Southampton, claiming the Saints would find it difficult to break down a well organised Bruce team.

The reality of course was a dreadful ultra defensive set-up by Steve Bruce that perfectly suited Southampton, the talented Ralph Hasenhuttl sending out his team to totally dominate Newcastle, as the visitors sat so deep, it simply invited goals and defeat.

Sure enough, it took only seven minutes for Southampton to capitalise on Bruce’s negativity, the only surprise that it took until 82 minutes for them to get the second goal. The usual script as shots rained down on Karl Darlow’s goal and all but zero threat at the other end, a mixture of sheer luck, Karl Darlow, poor finishing and the woodwork keeping the score down.

Southampton dominating possession (61%) and with 15 shots to Newcastle’s four, eight on target to NUFC’s two, eight corners to Newcastle’s three, this was just another typical matchday for Newcastle fans.

Despite the terrible Steve Bruce over the top negative tactics and Southampton strolling the game, the following day on BBC’s Football Focus, Mark Lawrenson launched an astonishing attack on Newcastle fans. Lawrenson saying the NUFC supporters are ‘never happy’, expect to be in the Champions League and think they can win it (Champions League).

Almost two weeks on and now Mark Lawrenson has another message for Newcastle fans, saying they can expect their team to be even more ‘awkward’ than usual.

Well it certainly feels awkward watching Newcastle United play under Steve Bruce.

Mark Lawrenson explains ‘awkward’ as being Steve Bruce trying to make the team ‘much tighter’, which in reality is saying, Newcastle will be even more defensive than usual.

How they can be set up even more defensively than normal is a mystery to me.

However, Steve Bruce simply ordering the whole team to defend as deep as possible, isn’t in reality a great defensive plan. Under Rafa the defence was the seventh best in both PL seasons, under Bruce it was seventh worst last season. With 13 goals conceded in the first eight games and Karl Darlow’s goal leading such a charmed life when it could and should have been so many more goals, this isn’t a great defensive plan, let alone an attacking one…

Mark Lawrenson points out how good Chelsea are going forward and believes that despite Steve Bruce’s ultra defensive plan, Chelsea will win easily and Newcastle won’t score a goal (or even have a shot on target…?).

Why not try something different? Chelsea are top PL scorers with 20 goals but have still conceded 10, both Southampton and West Brom scoring three against them. Surely Newcastle have to target the Chelsea weakness, which is their defence?

Mark Lawrenson talks about Chelsea’s dominance in their last game, beating Sheffield United 4-1 and having 70% possession, 20 shots with nine of them on target.

As Newcastle fans I think we can all see how this one is almost sure to play out, especially against a team who have scored three or more in six of their eight PL games so far, three or more in nine of their thirteen games in all competitions.

Here’s hoping we will see a different Bruce / Newcastle approach on Saturday but in reality, we are all fearing the worst.

Mark Lawrenson talking to BBC Sport:

“Newcastle will be awkward, perhaps even more so than usual, after their non-performance in their defeat at Southampton last time out.

“Magpies boss Steve Bruce will try to make them much tighter and they will have to be to keep Chelsea out.

“Frank Lampard’s side were just hitting their stride before the international break, especially in attack – they created so many chances in their win over Sheffield United.

“Christian Pulisic and Kai Havertz are out of this game but that would still allow the Blues to name pretty much the same team that beat the Blades.

“At the back, Thiago Silva is a doubt because he has only just got back from international duty, but I’d still expect Chelsea to win comfortably.

“Prediction – Newcastle 0 Chelsea 2.”

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