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After 0 wins in 7 and 1 goal in over 8 hours – Steve Bruce sees ‘signs of progress’ at Newcastle

1 week ago
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Steve Bruce marches on to a relegation six pointer with Sheffield United on Tuesday night.

The Blades have picked up only two points in seventeen Premier League games, yet are the 6/4 favourites to win that clash, the bookies putting Newcastle United at 9/4.

Indeed, every game in January, Newcastle United are the outsiders to win, at the Emirates it was more of the same.

The fact they made it through to extra time was seen as a positive by some Newcastle fans but for anybody who watched the game it was dreadful, unless your standards have dropped to the level Mike Ashley would like them to fall to.

The majority of the games this season in the Premier League have seen Steve Bruce’s team have two or less efforts on target in a match. Against Arsenal in the FA Cup it was no different.

Indeed, the two NUFC efforts on target came within a couple of seconds of each other late in the second half. The 18 year old substitute Elliot Anderson seeing his effort saved comfortably by the Arsenal keeper, before then Andy Carroll wasted a real sitter and hit it straight at Leno.

That was pretty much it apart from another sitter from Andy Carroll that when one on one with the keeper, he sent it wide. That was pretty much that as an attacking force over the course of more than two hours of football.

For Steve Bruce though, he is seeing clear ‘signs of progress’…

Referring to this Arsenal match and the previous three Premier League games against Liverpool, Man City and Leicester, the NUFC Head Coach declares: ‘…the shift of getting higher up the pitch, they are getting used to it.’

Yes, after 18 months the players aren’t getting nose bleeds every time they cross the halfway line, give it another 18 months and Steve Bruce might even have the team getting into the opposition box more than a handful of times (at the most) every match.

Steve Bruce makes out that Arsenal are some great team, they aren’t at the moment, only nine days ago Newcastle were still above them in the Premier League and tonight the Gunners made seven changes, as Bruce did.

It is now seven games without a win (five defeats and two draws).

Only one goal in the last eight and a half hours of football.

Only eight efforts on target in these last eight hours of football.

Steve Bruce makes out like it is difficult to score against this Arsenal side, when in reality they haven’t kept a single clean sheet at home in either the Premier League or domestic cups, until now that is…

Yes we can take some comfort in that Newcastle weren’t embarrassed tonight but that simply reinforces where we are at, Mike Ashley and Steve Bruce having crushed any hopes and expectations, the NUFC Head Coach now with only a relegation battle ahead of him. A swift return to the Emirates in only nine days time awaits, with Sheffield United away on Tuesday in between, interesting to see just how much more progress Newcastle United will have made when the final whistle once again blows at the Emirates for Steve Bruce and his team.

Steve Bruce:

“We couldn’t have been more disappointed with [the] Brentford [performance].

“But our reaction, especially as we have played [Manchester] City, Liverpool, Leicester and Arsenal, the shift of getting higher up the pitch, they are getting used to it.

“I can see signs of progress…

“When you come here [to the Emirates], especially in a cup tie, and are presented with the opportunities that we had, then you hope we can take one.

“I couldn’t be more pleased with how they have gone about it but we needed to take that big opportunity when it came.”

On Jamaal Lascelles:

“He came off because of fatigue.

“With all the problems we’ve got, we left a few at home and hopefully they’ll be ready for Tuesday and we can freshen up the team.”

On Elliot Anderson:

“I thought the kid was very, very good.

“He’s been knocking on the door for a while now so it was good to see.

“He’s got a big future ahead of him.”

Stats from BBC Sport:

Arsenal 2 Newcastle 0 – Saturday 9 January 5.30pm

Goals:

Newcastle:

Arsenal:

Smith Rowe 109, Aubameyang 117

(Half-time stats in brackets)

Possession was Arsenal 61% (65%)  Newcastle 39% (35%)

Total shots were Arsenal 25 (7) Newcastle 12 (2)

Shots on target Arsenal 9 (3) Newcastle 2 (0)

Corners were Arsenal 8 (5) Newcastle 3 (0)

Referee: Chris Kavanagh

Newcastle United:

Dubravka, Krafth (Murphy 68), Lascelles (Ritchie 45), Clark, Dummett, Hayden, Sean Longstaff, Hendrick, Almiron (Yedlin 81), Joelinton (Anderson 81), Carroll (Gayle 105)

Unused Subs:

Gillespie, Matty Longstaff

(3 Positives and 3 Negatives from Arsenal 2 Newcastle 0 (AET) – Read HERE)

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

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