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Opinion

Newcastle United plan to avoid relegation has serious flaw

8 months ago
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Only seven weeks and nine games of the season remain, with Newcastle United in deep relegation trouble.

The round of matches before the international break saw results almost certainly confirm the battle for the final relegation spot, has changed from a three way fight into a two way one.

Brighton now six point clear of the bottom three after a seriously depressing performance from Steve Bruce and his players, against what were supposedly relegation rivals.

Even though Fulham are two points behind Newcastle, Steve Bruce’s NUFC team are the bookies favourites to go down with Sheffield United and West Brom, due to the remaining schedule of matches and the fact that Bruce has overseen a run of two wins in twenty matches AND Mike Ashley still hasn’t sacked him.

Nevertheless, we have been constantly fed a narrative these past weeks, that the Newcastle United route to safety is a straightforward one.

Steve Bruce successfully getting his mates in the media to claim that the biggest factor in Newcastle United ending up in such a worrying position, is overwhelmingly down to key players having been out for long periods.

This particularly so in attacking positions and so the Bruce / friendly narrative goes, once we see Wilson, Almiron and ASM all on the pitch, it should be pretty much job done.

The only flaw in this cunning plan, is that simply getting this attacking trio back on the pitch is no guarantee of anything, as this season has proved so far.

Far from being out long-term, the fact is that Miguel Almiron has been available for 27 of the 29 PL matches so far, Wilson for 22 of them and even ASM more than half (16) of them.

Out of a combined 87 (3 x 29 PL matches) selections, 65 times these players have been available.

The biggest problem as we all know isn’t which players are / aren’t available, it is the person who picks the team, tactics, formation etc…

Steve Bruce is so limited he actually left Miguel Almiron out of eight starting elevens this season and put him on the bench, around half of the earlier games this season.

Then in that feeble game at Brighton last time out, Steve Bruce had Almiron playing as a kind of false number nine, barely touching the ball.

In this feeble two wins in twenty match run going back almost four months, Wilson has scored in only two of the matches, Almiron in two as well, ASM only in one.

Indeed, the entire season the trio have only scored 16 PL goals, including four of Wilson’s being penalties.

I’m not blaming the players but how they have been used.

The biggest challenge in these remaining nine matches is Newcastle United staying up DESPITE Steve Bruce’s management and direction.

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