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Opinion

Is Joelinton the new Ali Dia?

10 months ago
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I read an interesting article on Thursday on The Mag, highlighting the current Newcastle United form.

Safe to say, it’s pretty bad. In fact it’s horrific.

Cut a long story short – it is the (joint) worst in the league along with Wolves.

As the slippery slope continued against Arsenal on Monday, we have started to ship goals now to go with the defeats we have now come to expect.

Now it would have been a stretch to witness a Newcastle team perform as badly against the Gunners as it did against Sheffield United the previous week, but despite some choice words spoken by Steve Bruce to the media ahead of the game at the Emirates, the Arsenal match bore no real difference apart from conceding more goals. But then again, the vast majority of us predicted this state of affairs as performances were telling us they were coming as early as last season..

I remarked a few weeks ago that Steve Bruce’s comments are merely designed to prolong his stay at the club: “Work in progress” and “Won’t happen overnight” are wishy washy comments and only hold meaning if progress is visible.

However, progress is NOT visible and things are getting steadily worse. The instruction for opposing teams will be simply to score and they won’t lose any game against this current Newcastle side, score two and the game is definitely over.

“The gloves are off” we were told and Bruce will be doing it his way from here on in, which begs a very important question, whose way was he doing it before Arsenal? No, seriously, which self-respecting manager comes out with that line? Effectively admitting that he hasn’t been either picking the team or the formation / set up? That’s before we get started on his other comments that effectively threw his players under the bus.

On the subject of the team. If Joelinton is still getting a game, then if the “gloves are off”, may I suggest a trip to Specsavers. We’re all aware of the famous story whereby Graeme Souness was sold a yarn about supposed footballer Ali Dia being a relative of George Weah. Well I’m now beginning to think that the Newcastle scouts were duped into buying the grandson of Pele when they sourced Joelinton. And still after all this, Bruce picks him.

Anybody who sees the Brazilian would question why he would make the bench, let alone the starting line-up, week in week out. That is unless Bruce is being forced to play him. But then that would surely not be doing it “his way” would it? Maybe a journalist should just come out with the direct question on the matter.

But as we stumble through game after game, defeat after defeat, our form has now taken a turn for the (much) worse. Where we once nicked the odd point here and there, now we are left scratching our heads wondering where the next goal is coming from, never mind the next point. Progressing the club Steve?

As you can see, in the first table we were already looking like sliding towards disaster but it’s in the second table that the disaster has become reality. We’ve started conceding goals but alarmingly we’ve stopped scoring as many if that were possible. We’ve scored two goals in the last six league games and to add further gloom to the picture, we have scored the same amount if you throw in both cup games against Arsenal and Brentford, one of which went to extra time, the other against Championship opposition. The gloom deepens.

Bruce probably held out much faith and hope in that Sheffield United match, that his side would get the three points that would have given him vital breathing space and another few weeks in the job. As it stands, I don’t think Ashley or Charnley will be pulling the trigger for a few games yet, as we have a seven point gap between ourselves and the relegation zone, which is at least a two game buffer between where we are now and when we could drop into the relegation zone.

If the trend continues for the next two games (Aston Villa and Leeds United) then I suspect the following game (Everton away) will be a last stand for Bruce, no matter how many points our relegation rivals have amassed in the intervening period, because I can’t believe the club would allow the rot to go on any further.

How did we get to this state of affairs you might ask?

I hate to say “I told you so” but I really wasn’t alone and it really didn’t require much skill in predicting…

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