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Opinion

Steve Bruce vs Rafa Benitez- The New Narrative that we shouldn’t be hearing

1 month ago
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After the first half at Brentford, I said to my mate, I don’t mind if we lose this.

After the first half against Sheffield United, I said to my wife, I don’t mind if we lose this.

After Leeds, I was annoyed we scored two.

This is the most depressing part of being a Newcastle fan at the moment, the fact that some of us feel that it takes these types of performances to get our message across to the media outlets.

I have grown so frustrated with the lack of open criticism from pundits like Jamie Redknapp, Danny Murphy, Robbie Savage and any pundit on talkSport, that I was to an extent relieved when we missed out on a semi-final, because we need attention drawn to how bad we have been.

So going into the Arsenal game last night, I was glad that Carra and Neville on Monday Night Football HAD to talk about our performances. In recent weeks we have seen the narrative about Newcastle and Steve Bruce change.

Instead of analysing how Steve Bruce’s Newcastle team is performing, we are now comparing Steve Bruce against Rafa Benitez.

“They have been playing like this for years!”

“It was just as bad under Rafa”

“They play the same systems.”

These were the same pundits who told us to get over the fact Rafa had left the club. Don’t worry fellas, we are abundantly clear Rafa Benitez is no longer the manager.

This narrative occurred last night again. We see that Carra and Neville compare Rafa and Brucey for what seems to me, for no apparent reason.

We as fans miss Rafa and talk about him for the reason Sky Sports presenter David Jones said, he provided hope. We didn’t LOVE the football being played, we appreciated that it was defensive in nature, but there was a clear method in establishing a style of play.

Anyway, enough about Rafa. He is gone, so can we stop vindicating SB.

Kick off

So we go into this game against Arsenal, with a new formation and it being done Bruce’s way. First half, Almiron works hard, fights, plays really well actually, but is not helped by a formation that doesn’t work with this team.

When Carra reviews Newcastle’s performance of the first half, the only positives he can find is Almiron. Gary Neville is holding back laughter with this analysis and the positive spin that Carra is trying to force, because in Neville’s opinion we were awful.

Second half, well, was just as bad in my opinion as the first against Sheffield United. We lose 3-0.

Post-match analysis kept saying how poor a team we were, how much quality we lack and that we are expected to lose.

I was not expecting to win that game. Not because it was against Arsenal, but it was because of our team and management, I don’t expect to win any games at the moment.

How do you have Andy Carroll start, who needs service and crosses, and then substitute him with Jacob Murphy, someone who wants to cross and can provide a standard of service. That screams out at poor management. That is why I didn’t expect to win.

That’s a better way to lose said Carra afterwards and their analysis showed that there was a change in tactics from previous games. Yes, more players were getting into the box. Yes, we played with two strikers, but we still performed terribly, and players aren’t looking interested. Is that better, or just as bad?

Yet again, we haven’t laid a glove on them. Arsenal, like Leicester, Sheffield United, Brentford and Leeds before that, never were at risk of losing these games.

If you are Callum Wilson now, someone who joined on the basis he may be able to push into the England squad for Euro 2021, you must be livid.

“Embedded Failure and misery”

Over the past few weeks, you are seeing players’ heads drop earlier and earlier. They are a team that scream out about years of lack of investment. As much as I think Steve should go, the players we have are not up to standard. Our midfield is particularly poor. Shelvey was a ghost. Longstaff looked out of his depth, as did Krafth and Lewis. We continue to pass backwards and not looking up. No one touch passes. No confidence. No belief.

Gary Neville set out earlier in the coverage that failure was embedded at Newcastle and that the ownership has to change. He seems frustrated at how obvious the solution is, and is clearly bored rigid about talking about Newcastle’s biggest issue, ownership.

Mike Ashley has his eyes off the ball. When we went down last time, he came out and said that the failure landed at his door. If he is not careful he will have another interview to do. I appreciate that the takeover arbitration is bubbling away but there is no live bid on the table. The premier league is not formally considering a bid. Mike, we need you to take the reins. Bring in some players on loan, please, we need all the help we can get.

Where do we go?

To be honest, no one knows where we are heading. The whole club is a rudderless ship at the moment. We have an owner who is finally taking interest in the club, because he can finally get rid of it (maybe). We have a manager who is not taking players or the club forward, and we have a team which needs investment, which it will not get in this transfer window.

What worries me is that you see stories in the press setting out that Bruce’s job is “as safe as houses.” How could any manager be that safe based on the fact we have not won in nine games. We go to Villa this week and I do not expect a victory. Maybe we can find an even better way to lose there.

I hate being this pessimistic though. So downtrodden.

But remember, we were this miserable under Rafa, according to the pundits.

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