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Rafa Benitez to be new Arsenal manager as they continue to prop up Newcastle and others?

9 months ago

Well, where do you start with the latest Newcastle United match against Fulham?

We can go into the ins and outs of it but once again you can’t deny we were awful for long periods.

Having not watched Match of the Day, as I’m not a glutton for punishment, I didn’t hear Alan Shearer’s comments on the match.

So imagine my surprise when I read some of them back this morning. Here he is talking a particular team’s survival chances:

“I wouldn’t be so sure.

“Not with that starting team and the attitude of some of those players.

“Awful, no creativity, players going through the motions, not working hard enough.

“There are a few players in that team who are not giving everything for the manager.

“(They) are never going to score goals playing like that.”

Now I didn’t know who he was talking about but eventually realised he was talking about Arsenal.

It’s obvious Arsenal are having severe problems by their standards but one thing is for sure, they won’t go down, but every word Shearer said, could easily have been attributed to Newcastle United. He did have similar comments to chuck at Newcastle platers but neglected once again to throw some justifiable criticism of the manager. Fat chance.

Back to our issues and against Fulham (much like the rest of the season) we were indeed “awful” with “no creativity” and indeed we won’t “score goals” the way we play. That’s down to the manager and the way he sets the side up and alarm bells were ringing as early as seeing the team selection.

We started the game with two players that have played little, or indeed no, football in DeAndre Yedlin and Paul Dummett. In fact, when I saw Dummett was named in the starting line up I nearly blew a fuse. Bruce seems intent on gambling with player fitness. Add into the fact that the severely fatigued Isaac Hayden came on in the second half for the injured Federico Fernandez and we had a VERY patched up and hotchpotch back four. Now it would be unfair to blame Bruce for the COVID troubles but overplaying players at this time of year is madness, something he simply never seems to get right, no matter which club he’s been at.

Going a goal down was unfortunate but nobody could say it wasn’t coming. But incredibly, once again Bruce was to be dealt a very lucky hand. For me, the penalty wasn’t one (something which in fairness was backed up by pundits like Shearer) and having been given a half hour against a ten man side fresh out of the Championship, Bruce didn’t use such fortune to his full advantage.

Much like midweek against Leeds United I’m left scratching my head at the responses from Bruce. Where was Andy Carroll? Both games he should have been utilised to disrupt a side that aren’t the most physical (Leeds) and against ten man Fulham. It’s negligent is what it is.

Bruce also has an annoying habit of coming out with the same claptrap every week without fail. “We didn’t see enough tonight, or the other night,” he said after last Saturday’s game.

Pardon me? So we didn’t see enough in one game against a newly promoted team, only to turn out the next game and STILL not see enough, the latter with half an hour and an extra man against another newly promoted team? Words fail me, I didn’t realise we were THAT bad.

More often than not, Bruce seems to be on repeat. For after most games he says “We didn’t do enough to win the game” and “We gave the ball away too cheaply” or “It’s not going to happen overnight” and “It’s a work in progress.”

Can someone in the media please ask him when “it” is going to “happen”? Because it has been over 17 months since he arrived and to quote Blackadder “We’ve progressed no further than an asthmatic ant with some heavy shopping.”

And the flip side to this? We were 12th on Saturday night with games still to play. How crazy is that? We can be this bad and yet be 12th?

Bruce apologists will drag that fact kicking and screaming and also add in that we are only six points off a European spot, but again, how crazy is that? In the space of three days we’ve been second best against one newly promoted side and been soundly beaten, only to follow that up by being second best against another newly promoted side until a numerical advantage arose and still couldn’t press home an advantage.

Interestingly, Crystal Palace got tonked off Liverpool 7-0 this weekend and yet we managed to beat Palace 2-0 and we are only a goal better off. That’s quite alarming in much the same way that last season Southampton got murdered by Leicester City 9-0, yet finished above us and with a much better goal difference. We don’t improve through time, the very same time Bruce goes on about requiring to change, whatever the hell he thinks he’s changing.

Back to what I said at the start, if you look at Arsenal you see a massive anomaly. Arsenal continue to artificially prop us and others up a place and this won’t continue.

I fully expect the Gunners to dispense with Mikel Arteta and wouldn’t be surprised if a certain Rafa Benitez were installed down there. Whether a Rafa Benitez appointment comes to pass or not is irrelevant, Arsenal will improve under any inevitable new management. Add in that Sam Allardyce will be looking to make his usual great escape attempt with West Brom and our survival isn’t as secure as many (including myself) seemed to think it is.

Arsenal and West Brom will get better, but Newcastle United? We’re getting progressively worse…


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