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Sky Sports journalist exposes failings of the pundits discussing Newcastle United on Sky

8 months ago

When Newcastle United are discussed by a pundit on Sky Sports, rather than nodding your head in agreement, you feel more like smashing your head into a brick wall to make the noise go away.

The latest being Jamie Redknapp ahead of the Sheffield United match on Tuesday, declaring: ‘I like Steve Bruce. I have gone on record for thinking he is doing a reasonable job at the club. Newcastle fans will want more, they want possession based football, they want to be more exciting, but it hasn’t happened like that in years.’

The Sky Sports pundit adding: ‘Of course you want to be playing better football, getting up the pitch, making it more exciting, but so do a lot of clubs. This has been a by-product of Rafa Benitez. Newcastle fans will say it was better under Rafa, it wasn’t.’

To sum up the madness that we experience time after time with Sky Sports pundits, after talking about what a great job Steve Bruce is doing and how Newcastle fans have such unreasonable expectations, Jamie Redknapp then predicted defeat for NUFC to a team who hadn’t won a Premier League match for over six months, who had picked up two points out of a possible 60 in that time, plus hadn’t kept a single PL clean sheet in over six months!

Something didn’t / doesn’t quite add up…

Jamie Redknapp was actually proved correct…Newcastle United did actually lose on Tuesday night. Sheffield United got their first Premier League win in over six months, they also kept their first clean sheet in six months.

The thing is, if Redknapp had listened to one of his Sky Sports colleagues, he would have still got his match prediction correct BUT wouldn’t have any excuse for spouting the absolute nonsense that preceded it.

Writing after the match at Bramall Lane, Sky Sports journalist Adam Bate (read below) laid out exactly why it was no surprise at all that Newcastle lost and indeed why they are on an eight game run without a win.

His analysis explaining how all the underlying statistics AND your eyes have pointed to these results being all but certain to happen eventually, Adam Bate saying that it is the Newcastle United fans who alone have recognised this and been ignored and / or ridiculed whilst telling the truth. The Sky Sports man explaining how this Newcastle team is being set up to lose, handing total control to the opposition from the kick-off, whether they are Man City or Sheff Utd.

Separate to his analysis (which you can read below), Newcastle notched another ‘achievement’ on Tuesday night.

With Steve Bruce’s ultra negative tactics, a goalkeeper with a five man defence and three defensive midfielders, Sheffield United were handed the initiative, invited to control the game under no pressure, build up confidence and eventually score and win. It was a minor miracle that the Blades didn’t score before half-time but at the other end it was no surprise, Newcastle playing against the worst team in the division, didn’t have a single effort on target in the first half.

That is quite shocking BUT not anywhere near as shocking as the fact that now it reads, in 17 Premier League games so far this season, six times Newcastle haven’t had an effort on target in the opening half. Every match, Steve Bruce having his team defend so deep and showing no attacking ambition.

Another cracking statistic is the one that now tells you, between them, Brighton and Sheffield United have three wins in 36 PL games this season. Quite incredible.

However, not anywhere near as incredible as when you break that down…two wins out of two against Newcastle United, one win in the other 34 PL matches.

The thing is as well, that whilst Sheffield United totally outplayed Newcastle on Tuesday, in the defeat to Brighton it was far far worse. The Seagulls absolutely outclassed and outplayed Steve Bruce’s team, Newcastle losing 3-0 at St James Park and it could have been six or seven, with NUFC not having a single effort on target in the whole match, never mind just the first half!

Anyway have a read of this below as well, class stuff.

All Sky Sports pundits and presenters should be forced to read this before they next talk about Newcastle United and Steve Bruce, then if Jamie Redknapp or whoever starts talking out of their backside, the vital NUFC stats should be put to them on air and made to then answer them.

Now that would be something I’d happily pay to watch / hear…

Extracts from superb Sky Sports analysis by their journalist Adam Bate (on Twitter @ghostgoal) after Sheffield United 1 Newcastle United 0:

‘Newcastle supporters saw it coming a mile off. This was Sheffield United, without a win this season, without a win for six months. A team not only devoid of confidence but already down in the eyes of many. Of course they were going to get the better of Steve Bruce’s side.

What might have shocked even the Newcastle manager’s more fervent critics was how his side seemingly allowed the opposition to play their way back into form. They were the architects, foremen, builders and advertisers of their own downfall as they lost 1-0 at Bramall Lane.’

Setting the bar so low:

‘In setting the bar so low, Newcastle ducked under it. The lacklustre opening left them on the back foot as they allowed Sheffield United to enjoy the bulk of possession in the first 15 minutes when 40 per cent of the action took place around Newcastle’s own penalty box.

A passing accuracy of 68 per cent could only be partially explained by the sending off. It has been an issue all season with a 75 per cent pass completion rate putting them among the bottom three in the Premier League. This is not a team endeavouring to play positive football.

Bruce’s line about this being a work in progress, an attempt to buy time and inspire hope, has long since become a punchline. Eight games without a win tells its own tale. Progress? Even treading water looks like it is becoming a real struggle for this Newcastle side.’

Steve Bruce finally running out of luck…?:

‘…it is the possibility that Bruce is out of luck that could be his biggest problem.

That is not to excuse the form but to explain that, for a long time, Newcastle’s results were actually better than their performances.

Only Norwich had an inferior net expected-goals total last season – and not by much. The Newcastle supporters were not moaning without cause, they were just the first to see it. The decay long evident in their style of play is now manifesting itself in their results.’

Last season:

‘[Last season] Newcastle pressed less than any other team and allowed their opponents to progress further up the pitch when in possession than anyone else. It meant they had to start their own attacks furthest away from the opposition goal. Everything was a struggle.’

This was a club in need of a drastic change in direction if it were to avoid just this sort of run of results.’

Regression not progression:

‘Newcastle still allow more opposition passes per defensive action than any other side. They rank bottom for high turnovers and shot-ending high turnovers. Pressing remains absent.

Indeed, the attacking play has regressed in some respects. Newcastle are among the bottom three for sequences of 10 or more passes with only Burnley having fewer extended spells of possession that end in either a shot or a touch in the box.

This, quite literally, is not progress.

As for the net expected-goals tally, that suggests that Newcastle are, once again, among the worst three teams in the Premier League, with only West Brom significantly inferior.’

This is how it feels to watch Steve Bruce’s Newcastle United:

‘These statistics might not resonate with everyone but they offer some insight because they hint at how it must feel, regardless of the result, to watch Bruce’s Newcastle. Very few chances created, lots of chances conceded. It can grind you down.’


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