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Sky Sports warning of Newcastle United ‘unsustainable model’ proved all too true

12 months ago

What do you think of Newcastle United at the minute?

What did you make of Friday night’s ‘performance’ down at Southampton?

I think in many ways, you just have to answer one question.

Did you think last night’s match showed up the lack of consistency at Newcastle United, as Steve Bruce claimed, or do you think it was simply a very typical performance from NUFC?

Steve Bruce has used this line repeatedly when Newcastle United are totally taken apart, both last season and so far in this one, making out that the problem is that one week Newcastle play really well, only to then play poorly the next. Then keep repeating that kind of pattern of up and down quality in matches.

It isn’t what I see and I guess isn’t what most of you see either.

Friday night at Southampton was EXACTLY as I expected because it is how Steve Bruce sets up his team every single week.

Everybody defend deep, hope the opposition don’t score with the countless chances they have as we allow them total control of possession, count on Karl Darlow, the woodwork and decisions from match officials to go our way, then hope somehow a chance is created by putting the ball into the box from one of the few set-pieces NUFC get in forward positions, or give the ball to ASM and hope he does something by himself.

That is what happened at Southampton and they easily won. A 2-0 victory but could have been 6-0 if they had taken their chances and luck had gone the Saints way with referee decisions, luck etc.

A week earlier, it was exactly the same against Everton. All out defence and Newcastle only had one chance in the first 55 minutes and that came about by Almiron doing brilliant work in the left-back position, working the ball to Wilson who had also been defending deep, he then sprinted up and passed to ASM who saw his effort saved.

Newcastle got to 55 minutes without conceding simply because missing their best creative players and attacking full-backs, Everton created very few chances against a packed NUFC defence. The game was heading for a surefire dreadful 0-0 until Wilson tricked a penalty with clever movement at a corner and Gomes didn’t see the Newcastle striker dart from behind him and in front, the Everton player swinging at the ball but hitting player first.

Steve Bruce makes out Newcastle battered Everton like Southampton did to NUFC but that is laughable to claim that.

Against Everton, once Wilson won and scored the penalty, the game did open up, but whilst Newcastle then had more space on the counter-attack for the likes of ASM, Fraser, Wilson and Almiron to run into, it was hardly great. It was better against a poor Everton side on the days and Newcastle got a few chances but Bruce’s side edged the win, it wasn’t like at Southampton where the gulf between the two sides verged on embarrassing. The preparation that clearly goes into their playing style and players knowing their jobs, trying to attack time after time and playing great stuff.

There is no plan for Newcastle to go out and try to score first, every single game it is only about trying to stop the other side scoring by keeping all the players back and have loads of bodies between the ball and the goal.

There is no transition plan, just Steve Bruce hoping that every so often Newcastle will get in the other half and at times get near the opposition goal, usually by hoping ASM will be able to run with it and beat players and / or get fouled.

That is our sophisticated game plan under Steve Bruce.

I was intrigued to see an article on The Mag on Friday ahead of the game at Southampton.

It featured comments from a Sky Sports betting expert (Jones Knows), who predicted what would happen in Friday night’s match and most importantly, why it would happen…

This is what the Sky Sports expert said ahead of Southampton v Newcastle:

“Sir Ralph has an opportunity to get where he belongs on Friday night: top of the pile.

“I’m fully invested in his managerial ability. If he takes Southampton places, he will take me along with them.

“Aston Villa got ‘Hasenhuttled’ last weekend courtesy of some rip-roaring midfield play and sensational finishing from James Ward-Prowse and Danny Ings.

“The striker will be a big miss over the next six weeks but it’s not a worry for this game.

“Newcastle continue to defy the performance metrics to pick up points.

“They have scored 10 goals from 18 shots on target this season – no side have had fewer efforts on target in the Premier League.

“Also, they have faced 117 shots this season – 13 more than any other side.

“It’s an unsustainable model.

“They do not scare me. Ralph will find a way through.

“Jones Knows prediction is Southampton 2 Newcastle 0.”

If only I had followed his betting advice…you have to admire his insight, couldn’t have been more correct in his analysis.

So now Newcastle United have scored 10 goals from only 20 efforts on target in eight games, yet again they had their regulation two last night. Joelinton’s header the only attempt that was really dangerous for the home side. Against Southampton, Newcastle rarely even got up the pitch and I can’t remember many shots in total, even off target ones.

In contrast, Southampton had 15 shots with eight of them on target, of the ones off target they hit the woodwork and should have scored with a few others, including Walcott shooting wide when it should have been bottom corner.

In eight PL games now, Newcastle have faced a massive 132 shots, far more than any other club in the division.

As the Sky Sports expert declares about what is happening at Newcastle United with Steve Bruce: ‘It’s an unsustainable model’…now with Callum Wilson set to be missing for a while with a hamstring problem, what exactly do we have now in terms of hoping to score goals from such minimal attacking threat?

The next two matches are home to Chelsea and away at Crystal Palace but that makes no difference to Steve Bruce, the same rubbish negative ‘tactics’ will be used in both matches, as they are in every other one, hoping for luck to get him through.

Stats from BBC Sport:

Southampton 2 Newcastle 0 – Friday 6 November 8pm




Adams 7, Armstrong 82

(Half-time stats in brackets)

Possession was Southampton 61% (64%) Newcastle 39% (36%)

Total shots were Southampton 15 (8) Newcastle 4 (2)

Shots on target were Southampton 8 (3) Newcastle 2 (1)

Corners were Southampton 8 (1) Newcastle 3 (2)

Referee: Peter Bankes

Newcastle United:

Darlow, Schar, Lascelles, Fernandez, Lewis, Hendrick (Matty Longstaff 61), Sean Longstaff, Murphy(Joelinton 79), Saint-Maximin, Wilson (Carroll 78), Almiron

Unused Subs:

Gillespie, Manquillo, Clark, Hayden

Crowd: 00,000

Ralph Hasenhuttl message rings loud and clear for Steve Bruce after schooling him – Read HERE)

(Southampton 2 Newcastle 0 – Match ratings and comments on all the NUFC players – Read HERE)

(Southampton 2 Newcastle 0 – Watch the key moments in the official match highlights HERE)

(Steve Bruce totally deluded claiming Southampton 2 Newcastle 0 was just inconsistency – Read HERE)

(Southampton 2 Newcastle 0 – Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Friday’s defeat – Read HERE)


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