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Michael Owen considers consequences for two heavyweights – Sam Allardyce v Steve Bruce

4 months ago
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Michael Owen has been looking at the big one on Sunday, the clash of the heavyweights.

A fitting description anyway for Sam Allardyce and Steve Bruce, even if not their respective clubs these days.

The heavyweight description applying to not just their physiques but egos as well, two of the countless homegrown managers who believe they haven’t had a fair crack of the whip when it comes to Premier League job opportunities.

However, fans would beg to differ.

The official Premier League site has thrown up a worrying stat…’West Brom manager Sam Allardyce has won 13 Premier League matches against Newcastle, two more than he has against any other opponent.’

Hmmm, I have always had the impression that he is desperate to beat Newcastle United more than any other club, certainly since we thankfully saw him out of the door at St James Park in January 2008.

Newcastle United winning only two matches against Sam Allardyce since then, both against West Ham, the 3-1 away win in January 2014 that proved to be Yohan Cabaye’s final NUFC game, then the 2-0 at St James Park in May 2015 on the final day of the season when Newcastle at last confirmed they were staying up, a match winning performance for the Argentine on what proved to be Jonas Gutierrez’ final NUFC appearance.

Overall though, since January 2008 the Newcastle United v Sam Allardyce record reads: Played 12 Won 2 Drawn 3 Lost 7.

The most recent quartet of matches making depressing reading, Allardyce winning 1-0 in both matches when he was at Everton, then even worse in 2015/16 when that joke of a referee / game saw Coloccini sent off and the Mackems win 3-0 when Steve McClaren was with Newcastle, then later in that relegation season Rafa Benitez got a 1-1 draw against Allardyce’s Mackems, thanks to Mitro’s late equaliser.

Michael Owen declares: ‘For me, Newcastle have shown enough that if they play at their best, they should be winning this. So, I’ll be siding with my old club to grind out a vital win.’

Predicting a 1-0 away win, I’m not sure where and when Michael Owen has seen Newcastle ‘play at their best’ this season, but it can’t have been very often…

These are the 15 match form lines for all six clubs at the bottom, going back these last three months or so:

Burnley – Won 4, Drawn 5, Lost 6, Points 17 Goals For 12 Goals Against 17

Brighton – Won 3, Drawn 7, Lost 5, Points 16 Goals For 12 Goals Against 14

Newcastle United – Won 2, Drawn 3, Lost 10, Points 9 Goals For 13 Goals Against 28

Fulham – Won 2, Drawn 9, Lost 4, Points 15 Goals For 9 Goals Against 11

West Brom – Won 2, Drawn 5, Lost 8, Points 11 Goals For 11 Goals Against 31

Sheff Utd – Won 4, Drawn 1, Lost 10, Points 13 Goals For 9 Goals Against 21

As you can see, dismal stuff these last three months, Newcastle United the only club to have picked up less points than West Brom these past 15 matches, even Sheffield United doing better!

Maybe clash of the deadweights would be a better description for this Fat Sam v Brucey clash.

Michael Owen clearly sees the position as hopeless for the home side regardless of today’s result: ‘West Brom can probably approach it more relaxed, as they’ve been effectively doomed for weeks now.’

However, Allardyce will be desperate to beat Newcastle regardless and will be telling his players a win today and West Brom only six points behind NUFC and off safety. A draw is obviously no use to the Baggies and with only a win in his sights, Allardyce has to attack and go for the victory, so at least we are likely to see a more entertaining match than many would suspect with two such negative managers. With the two worst defensive records in the entire Premier League going into this weekend, that should also ensure goals in this match.

When it comes to potential consequences for Steve Bruce, Michael Owen believes: ‘If the Magpies lose this, they are in deep trouble.’

Recent days have seen very fortunate defeats for Brighton, Fulham and West Brom when none of the trio deserved to lose and incredibly bad luck hit all three.

If Steve Bruce makes this only two wins in eighteen games (all competitions), then surely if he had any integrity he would resign.

On Friday he yet again though said that under no circumstances he would resign, no matter how badly Newcastle do today and beyond. It is widely reported that it will take as much as £4m compensation to be paid if Mike Ashley finally accepts he has to sack Steve Bruce.

It would be worth every penny.

Michael Owen talking to BetVictor:

“What a huge game this is at the bottom.

“An old-fashioned ‘six pointer’ awaits us and I’m expecting a cagey affair.

“If the Magpies lose this, they are in deep trouble.

“West Brom can probably approach it more relaxed, as they’ve been effectively doomed for weeks now.

“I think this could simply come down to who wants it more.

“For me, Newcastle have shown enough that if they play at their best, they should be winning this.

“So, I’ll be siding with my old club to grind out a vital win.

“Prediction – West Brom 0 Newcastle United 1.”

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