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Opinion

3 Positives and 3 Negatives from Brentford 1 Newcastle 0

4 weeks ago
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Tuesday night ended Brentford 1 Newcastle 0.

Newcastle totally outplayed in the first-half as Brentford missed some great chances.

Then  NUFC fans expecting a reaction in the second-half. instead saw their team fail to have even a single effort on target after the break, not even offering anything after going behind on 66 minutes.

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 Davey Hat-Trick:

POSITIVES

Team selection

We picked more-or-less the team that most of us we would have wanted, given the Covid and injury-related absentees.

On paper at least, it looked like Steve Bruce was taking the competition seriously.

We can focus on the league

That might sound like a joke, but recent performances suggest we are genuine relegation candidates, regardless of our current points haul.

I expect us to get zero points from our next three fixtures, by which time it will be official.

So if defeat in the Carabao cup means we have more energy for our fight for 17th place, it might turn out to be a blessing in disguise…

It may just be the beginning of the end

Forget what you think of Steve Bruce.

I probably know what you think of Steve Bruce and I almost certainly agree with you. The fact is that before tonight, he was miles away from getting the sack. Mike Ashley seems to like him, and whatever the football looks like, Newcastle have garnered sufficient points to give credence to the notion that Bruce is doing a good job.

However, if Ashley watched this, or gets a match report, he might just begin to think that his team are heading for trouble. And if he is still hoping to sell the club, he might think a different manager will be better placed to maintain its value.

Defeat in our next three games might convert thought into action. In the absence of much else positive, it’s a straw I’m prepared to clutch at…

NEGATIVES:

It wasn’t a surprise

We lost to a championship team who rested six players, including two of their better ones.

It wasn’t down to bad luck, bad refereeing, a moment of genius or a cruel deflection. Nor was it because we rested 70% of our first team. We were just second-best for most of the game and we deserved to lose.

Yet it came as no surprise to me or any of my Toon-supporting mates that we lost so abjectly. We expected it. What a damning indictment of this club that is.

I’ve seen us play at Wembley, I’ve seen us play in Europe. I’ve watched marvellous footballers do incredible things in the black and white shirt. And now, in common with many fans, I just shrug my shoulders at this woeful showing. It was par for the course.

Steve Bruce is incapable of effecting change

Better Newcastle teams than this one have had poor halves, or even an hour when nothing goes their way. But in the past, we’ve had managers who can, and do, change things with a tactical modification, change of formation, inventive substitution, or even a half-time rollicking.

Even managers I didn’t like (Souness, Pardew, Joe flipping Kinnear) occasionally pulled a rabbit out of a hat. I don’t think this one has it in him.

The team is playing in a fog of nervousness, inferiority and negativity that Steve Bruce seems incapable of lifting. As fans, we moan about certain players, quibble about team selections, bemoan refereeing decisions and so on. But our problems go much deeper than that.

We have a manager that can’t get anything out of his players. We finished the game with four centre-forwards, none of who seemed to know what they were meant to be doing.

I don’t see any light at the end of the tunnel

If we’d given everything, gone down swinging, died by the sword (insert other clichés of your choice) etc, I’d be less concerned about this defeat.

I’m old enough to remember the Hereford FA Cup defeat in 1972, and I’ve seen us knocked out of cups by lower-league teams on more occasions than I care to remember. But in the majority of those cases, it was down to a bad performance by a good team, or a weak performance by a weakened team. I usually felt that things would improve.

The week after the Hereford game, we went to Old Trafford and won 2-0, for example. But for the life of me, I don’t see anything that gives me hope in this team. We were insipid, rudderless, passionless and seemingly talentless.

Almirón has gone backwards, Shelvey has gone backwards, Longstaff senior has gone backwards and St Maximin was going backwards before he got ill. Longstaff junior has disappeared completely.

If we had to choose a player of the season right now, we might well vote for a goalkeeper that was second-choice in most eyes this summer. That is how bad we are. I’d like to be wrong, but I see this getting a lot worse before it gets any better.

Stats from BBC Sport:

Brentford 1 Newcastle 0 – Tuesday 22 December 5.30pm

Goals:

Newcastle:

Brentford:

Dasilva 66

(Half-time stats in brackets)

Possession was Brentford 49% (46%) Newcastle 51% (54%)

Total shots were Brentford 14 (6) Newcastle 12 (5)

Shots on target were Brentford 5 (1) Newcastle 3 (3)

Corners were Brentford 7 (4) Newcastle 3 (1)

Referee: Robert Jones

Newcastle United:

Darlow, Yedlin, Hayden, Clark, Lewis (Carroll 80), Fraser (Joelinton 65), Sean Longstaff, Shelvey, Murphy, Almiron (Gayle 65), Wilson

Unused Subs:

Gillespie, Ritchie, Krafth, Hendrick

Crowd: 00,000

(Steve Bruce prepares for cup defeat backlash “We have to accept what is coming our way” – Read HERE)

(BBC Sport comments about Brentford 1 Newcastle 0 – Absolutely scathing but the truth – Read HERE)

(Brentford 1 Newcastle 0 Match Report -As Steve Bruce’s life raft floats away – Read HERE)

(Brentford 1 Newcastle 0 – Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Tuesday’s cup knockout – Read HERE)

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