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3 Positives and 3 Negatives from Aston Villa 2 Newcastle 0 as NUFC make it 10 in a row

1 month ago
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Saturday night ended Aston Villa 2 Newcastle 0.

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 David Punton.

It seems best to start with the negatives after the latest in a long line of terrible losing performances from Newcastle United.

NEGATIVES

The manager

Steve Bruce remains at the helm.

How long are they going to allow this to carry on?

At some point they have to let a different manager have a crack at this job because the current incumbent is not getting results. Bruce would be the first to acknowledge that it’s a results business and he is now no wins from ten games. He can’t blame fan pressure and media coverage for that.

Like some of his predecessors who also failed at managing this club, I’m sure he’s not a bad guy, but the fact remains the football he is serving up is some of the worst we have ever seen and he is flailing about in press conferences for clichés and talking a good game but not backing that up with action.

Bruce actually said he was encouraged by last night’s loss. Let that sink in.

Body language

The players looked shattered at the final whistle last night.

What is going on in the dressing room? Has team spirit collapsed?

It certainly looks bad and a few of them looked near to tears. It reminds us of SAFC in the final Premier League days under David Moyes. Are there any leaders in there to get hold of this crisis and get the club through it? Jamaal Lascelles? It doesn’t seem so.

Toothless in attack with no supply lines

It’s a worry when a player like Callum Wilson, who has England caps, has seen the goals dry up. We are a team with one goal (a consolation effort in a home defeat) in over 12 hours of football. We don’t look like scoring even if a game was to go on all night.

Andy Carroll made an emotional return to the club but he isn’t quite the player he was, let’s face it, and Gayle is not the preferred pick, and that’s about it. I wont even mention Joelinton.

It’s made worse when the team is set up so narrow, no natural supply from the flanks for the likes of Wilson and Carroll to get on the end of.

There is no discernible brand of football at the club anymore. That ship sailed with Benitez.

POSITIVES

ASM

It is hard to find anything good to say about Newcastle United at the moment…but the return of Allan Saint-Maximin has to be a major plus point.

The flying Frenchman has apparently been wiped out by Covid-19 and he has been a big miss. The good news is that he’s back in training and we desperately need him. We need that spark he offers. He’s a box of tricks and he can get goals.

The seven point cushion

The only crumb of comfort is that the club remains seven points clear off the drop zone.

Teams below are the worry of course, but there is some room there, albeit it could be short-lived.

Nobody gets relegated in January on 19 points, so there is some time to turn the situation around.

Empty stadia

This whole crisis would be so much worse if fans were allowed into football grounds.

Steve Bruce has been kind of  hermitically sealed from the full wrath of the NUFC away ends / home faithful. The optics of that would be way, way worse.

The Covid era has created a truly bizarre backdrop for football. It is allowing Bruce to wriggle away from the reality of his situation.

If he is still there when it is safe to open grounds again then he is in for a shock.

Stats from BBC Sport:

Aston Villa 2 Newcastle 0 – Saturday 23 January 8pm

Goals:

Newcastle:

Aston Villa:

Watkins 13, Traore 42

(Half-time stats in brackets)

Possession was Aston Villa 59% (60%)  Newcastle 41% (40%)

Total shots were Aston Villa 14 (7) Newcastle 7 (4)

Shots on target Aston Villa 5 (3) Newcastle 1 (1)

Corners were Aston Villa 5 (2) Newcastle 4 (1)

Referee: Simon Hooper

Newcastle United:

Darlow, Schar, Lascelles, Hayden, Manquillo (Saint-Maximin 71), Hendrick, Shelvey, Almiron (Gayle 81), Lewis, Wilson, Carroll (Fraser 71)

Unused Subs:

Dubravka, M Longstaff, Joelinton, Ritchie, Krafth, Murphy

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

(Steve Bruce seeing the positives after 10 in a row “I have seen enough to be encouraged” – Read HERE)

(Pathetic, gutless, doomed – Aston Villa 2 Newcastle 0 Match Report – Read HERE)

(Aston Villa 2 Newcastle 0 – Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Saturday’s defeat – Read HERE)

You can follow the author on Twitter @DavePunton

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