Brighton 3 Newcastle 0 – International breaks are prime time for sacking managers
When Brighton 3 Newcastle 0 kicked off, it really wasn’t an over exaggeration to say that this result could very well shape the future of either club.
As expected, Steve Bruce did not go with my recommended team choices, keeping Shelvey in midfield and gambling on starting a fresh back from injury Almiron.
Obviously this did not pay off (I can consult for a very reasonable price Steve) and this defeat was a shocking performance that leaves us looking nervously over our shoulders, as the gap above grows ever wider.
Here are a few of my thoughts on the match…
Brighton were dominant from kick off, playing the free flowing football they’re becoming well known for.
Newcastle were reduced to chasing shadows and hacking balls clear, as they tried to keep defensively solid.
Fraser often seen sprinting back to his own goal to pick up a hurried half-clearance.
It was particularly damning to see Sanchez, the Brighton keeper, seeming very confident to stroll out of his own area and act as a sweeper with no real threat of a fast pressing counter. I’m happy to see a solid backline, but when it’s not accompanied by a consistent press from the front three, it really does invite the pressure and is just asking for trouble in my opinion,
This was then realised just before half time with Trossards’s goal. Brighton’s shot conversion rate is woeful but there’s no reason for us to allow them to try and improve those numbers!
Midfield impact (or lack of)
Again, the Newcastle midfield was looking particularly lacking, which obviously wasn’t helped by the injury to our most consistent midfielder Isaac Hayden. forced of just before half-time with a freak injury.
The defence tried to be solid and the attackers did their best to press at times with very little to work with, but the midfield didn’t measure up tonight.
Willock looked lost at times, Shelvey again looked far from his best, and losing Hayden was a particular blow, especially when he was replaced by the anonymous Hendrick, who as expected had no effect other than to create a void of inspiration on the pitch. Shelvey in particular was again such a disappointment, I expect Hendrick to be anonymous and have no impact on a game, but you should expect better from a player who has better ability to play in his locker.
Full back issues
While the goals from Brighton were all very good, they were certainly helped by our narrow defence.
While keeping the full backs tight has its benefits, when it comes to opposition like Brighton, who like to shift the ball all over the pitch, it really does afford them too much space.
Moder was given far too much space in the first ten minutes or so by Manquillo tucking in and the team never learned from it. Trossard and Welbeck had far too much space to cut in and take (admittedly very good) shots from outside the area.
Even the cross to Maupay for the third was due to the lack of space given. Obviously the midfield didn’t help them out, with very little tracking back (or effort at all really) given to help out wide, the alarm bells should have been going off from the start.
All in all, this game was a massive six pointer and we threw it away. Any positive effort and willingness to try and get something out of a tough match seemed to be absent here. A
s the game was taken further and further away from us, we did nothing to change and adapt. Even the substitutions we made were odd and ineffectual.
I wrote the game off as soon as Hendrick came on. But why is this even a surprise for fans any more? They know Bruce isn’t going to try and change things around in a positive fashion or instil any spirit in the team, just stand there and be as much a spectator as any of us watching from home.
International breaks are prime time for sacking managers, just a thought…..
Stats from BBC Sport:
Brighton 3 Newcastle 0 – Saturday 20 March 8pm
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
Dubravka, Manquill0, Lascelles, Clark, Dummett, Willock (Murphy 62), Hayden (Hendrick 45+2), Shelvey, Almiron (Sean Longstaff 76), Fraser, Joelinton
Darlow, Ritchie, Lewis, Fernandez, Gayle, Carroll
(Brighton 3 Newcastle 0 – Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Saturday’s dismal defeat – Read HERE)
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