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Opinion

3 Positives and 3 Negatives from Brighton 3 Newcastle 0

3 weeks ago
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Saturday night ended Brighton 3 Newcastle 0.

Ahead of each match we ask one of our writers to come up with 3 positives and 3 negatives following the game.

This time it is Jack Lacey-Hatton who has the job of finding the positives…

POSITIVES

Maybe Steve Bruce will no longer manage Newcastle United?

Ok, trying to come up with any positives after that pathetic, limp, excuse of a performance is near impossible, but here goes.

Just maybe, Steve Bruce will go. Sacked, resign, mutual agreement, it doesn’t matter.

Surely the chances of that have gone up?

Early press indications appear to say Ashley will stick by him, but with a two week break ahead to sort the mess out, you never know. It felt like the Bournemouth defeat in 2016 that made McClaren’s position untenable.

Deep down even Steve Bruce must see that performance levels are so low, it seems the only reasonable outcome. It’ll probably be too late to save our Premier League status now.

Fulham losing to Leeds on Friday night

That is right. I never thought the day would come where things were so bad, the only minor positive I can take is actually from another game played this weekend, but at least Fulham’s 2-1 defeat at home to Leeds on Friday, means we haven’t fallen into the drop zone.

There is a small chance things could still be salvaged if some big changes are made. Basically, this weekend might be rock bottom, surely they can’t be as bad again this season, and the fact that Fulham still haven’t managed to get in front of us is a poor reflection on them.

If things did turn after the international break, we still have a small points lead on the side below us. Somehow.

The Championship might be a good reset for us

It’s very dangerous to just expect us to come straight back up if we are playing Championship football next season.

Our last two campaigns were so successful in that division, it is an easy trap to fall into. In reality though, this time we don’t have a ready-made Premier League XI (2009/10) and we won’t have Rafa Benitez in charge (2016/17). It is just as conceivable that we could ‘do a Sunderland’ rather than gain automatic promotion.

Even if we don’t come back up, it might be the reset the club needs. Maybe the takeover will finally be approved? Maybe the entire squad will be rebuilt? With fans back in stadiums, we could have some great away trips all over the country.

Find that hope again, which so many have lost, and reconnect with our football club.

Oh and by the way, they don’t have VAR in the Championship.

Yes, I did say finding positives would be a hard task!

NEGATIVES

That was our chance to pull away from the dogfight.

If that is the sort of performance we turn in, for the biggest game of the season, you dread to think how we might do in future weeks. It felt like last night was the classic – ‘must win scenario’ – and we end up making Brighton look like Real Madrid.

It wasn’t just that the quality of our play was so low, but we made things easy for Brighton, for the second time this season. Unforgivable. If we do go down, and it looks like the writing is on the wall, the club only have themselves to blame.

The serious injury to Isaac Hayden

Just to top things off, another one of our few class players is stretchered off. Through a complete freak incident as well. We have had dire luck with injuries in recent months, although not in any way does that excuse the manager’s incompetence.

I feel for Isaac. One of our standout players the last few seasons. Along with Callum Wilson and Karl Darlow, I have spent most of this seasons saying I dread to think where we would be without him.

He has been asked to play a different role in recent weeks that I don’t believe really suits his game. Nevertheless, he will still be a huge loss, if he misses out on the run-in.

We are going down

Forget what I said about the positives in the Championship. In no way should we have to put up with the absolute tosh that was served up on Saturday night.

At a time when a lot of people in our fanbase need an escape from lockdown, their football club has actually been inflicting even more misery. This will be the third relegation in the last 11 Premier League seasons for NUFC. It is already our sixth serious relegation battle of the Ashley era.

Rafa Benitez gave us hope, stability and made sure fans weren’t served up the sort of performance we saw against Brighton. In less than two years since his departure, every foundation he put in place has been smashed apart.

As a club, Newcastle United should be doing more than becoming a yo-yo club. And yet here we are, seeing Brighton and Hove Albion run rings around us in what was supposedly our biggest game of the season, when we should be fighting for our lives. Disgraceful.

Stats from BBC Sport:

Brighton 3 Newcastle 0 – Saturday 20 March 8pm

Goals:

Newcastle:

Brighton:

Trossard 45+3, Welbeck 51, Maupay 68

(Half-time stats in brackets)

Possession was Brighton 66% (75%) Newcastle 34% (25%)

Total shots were Brighton 11 (7)  Newcastle 3 (1)

Shots on target were Brighton 6 (3) Newcastle 1 (0)

Corners were Brighton 3 (1) Newcastle 1 (1)

Referee: Anthony Taylor

Newcastle United:

Dubravka, Manquill0, Lascelles, Clark, Dummett, Willock (Murphy 62), Hayden (Hendrick 45+2), Shelvey, Almiron (Sean Longstaff 76), Fraser, Joelinton

Unused Subs:

Darlow, Ritchie, Lewis, Fernandez, Gayle, Carroll

Crowd: 00,000

(Sky Sports told that Mike Ashley is keeping Steve Bruce – Incredible reasons given to justify it – Read HERE)

(Brighton 3 Newcastle 0 – This was supposed to be a match report but in the circumstances…Read HERE)

(Newcastle fans group call for immediate Steve Bruce sacking after Brighton humiliation – Read HERE)

(Brighton 3 Newcastle 0 – Match ratings and comments on all the NUFC players – Read HERE)

(Brighton 3 Newcastle 0 – International breaks are prime time for sacking managers – Read HERE)

(Brighton 3 Newcastle 0 – Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Saturday’s dismal defeat – Read HERE)

You can follow the author on Twitter @JackLaceySport

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