Alan Shearer says relegation is between these 2 clubs and Steve Bruce criticism is ‘warranted’
Alan Shearer has been doing a question and answer session ahead of the Newcastle United game against Wolves.
A crunch game ahead, with Steve Bruce somehow not sacked despite a run of 16 matches with 12 defeats and only two wins (plus two draws).
As well as two cup exits, this 16 match run has seen Newcastle United only pick up eight points in these last eleven weeks, meaning a drop to fourth bottom and the grim possibility of dropping into the relegation zone this weekend.
In the most recent 14 NUFC games, it is a woeful nine goals scored and twenty four conceded.
If Steve Bruce makes it 13 defeats in his last 17 games on Saturday night, then Fulham beat Crystal Palace on Sunday, Newcastle will be bottom three and favourites to go down along with Sheffield United and West Brom.
Though the questions posed weren’t all about the desperate situation at the club he supports, answering questions for The Athletic ahead of the weekend, Alan Shearer still had a fair share to answer about Newcastle United, potential relegation and his mate Steve Bruce…
‘Do you get frustrated at the ill-informed comments from a lot of pundits that we, as Newcastle United, fans, expect to be winning the league/challenging for Champions League places?’
“The whole point of pundits is to give opinions, to analyse and reflect and express their feelings. Nobody has to agree with them. You don’t even have to listen!
“I’ve got my views on other teams and clubs and perhaps they annoy some of my colleagues!
“It’s obvious some pundits will say things simply in order to get a reaction. Some are more informed than others.
“Of course I get frustrated when I hear people say things like, ‘I don’t know what Newcastle fans want’, because I don’t think it’s too difficult to find that out. It’s called research!”
As a mate of Steve Bruce, do you find it hard watching what’s happening at the club now?
Why did you tell Steve Bruce not to take the job and what was his response?
What would your advice be to him today?
“It’s not particularly nice reading and hearing the criticism he’s getting…but I understand it and it’s warranted.
“Why? Because Newcastle are fourth-bottom, three points above the relegation positions.
“True, we’ve lost our best player in Callum Wilson, but as I said about Liverpool, that can’t be an excuse.
“I didn’t think we were in a relegation battle until a couple of weeks ago, but Fulham have had a fantastic spell — you have to give them and Scotty Parker great credit — and Newcastle haven’t.
“This situation is precisely the reason I didn’t want Steve to take the job in the first place. It’s not impossible or impossible circumstances, but it’s very, very difficult. It’s a very difficult club, full stop. I’ve been there and done it, albeit for a limited time. I know how they operate and I didn’t want Steve to be part of it.
“Having said that, I took it all those years ago. I felt the pull. And so I can’t be a hypocrite and criticise him for wanting to have a go.
“When we [Alan Shearer and Steve Bruce] speak, it’s never about tactics or about players or anything like that.
“I don’t think that would particularly help. I don’t even want to speak about that stuff with him.”
‘Who do you think will finish in the top-four and who do you think will be relegated?’
“Manchester City are going to win the Premier League. Man United will get in the top four and so will Leicester. Then it’s between Liverpool and Chelsea. Relegation? Sheffield United are gone. West Bromwich Albion are gone.
“And then I think it will either be Fulham or Brighton. Probably Brighton. And if you can hear the sound of distant finger-crossing when you read these words, you’re not mistaken. There is a little bit of black and white coming out!”
This is how the Premier League table looks on Saturday morning ahead of this weekend’s Premier League games:
Steve Bruce wants to claim that half the Premier League are still in imminent threat of relegation.
However, looking at the table above, unless things dramatically change, you have to be looking at Fulham, Newcastle, Brighton or Burnley to be the club to join West Brom and Sheffield United in dropping to the Championship.
The bookies make the relegation betting at the moment: 1/50 Sheff Utd, 1/40 West Brom, 5/6 Fulham, 7/5 Newcastle, 8/1 Burnley and 11/1 Brighton. The rest (Palace, Southampton etc) are seen as 30/1 and 40/1 or higher by the bookies, basically not believing they stand any chance of getting in trouble.
If Newcastle beat Wolves then they start taking care of the problem themselves and can focus on looking up.
However, whilst Alan Shearer makes a bit of a joke out of it in not including Newcastle United as one of the most likely to go down, the two clubs he puts up as the ones battling it out to stay up, the simple fact is that whilst Newcastle have picked up 8 points in their last 14 Premier League matches, Fulham have accumulated 15 and Brighton 16.
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