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Opinion

Steve Bruce ‘cavalry coming to save us’ message will relegate Newcastle United

4 weeks ago
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I am firmly of the belief now, that Steve Bruce is talking Newcastle United into an end of the season relegation spot.

The NUFC Head Coach’s actions have taken the club into a position whereby the threat of going down is all too real.

With now his words set to help push Newcastle finally over the edge and into the Championship.

Steve Bruce is on a shocking run of only two wins from his last nineteen matches and the way he is talking, it could end up as two from twenty eight by the end of May 2021.

There are many factors that go into getting or not getting positive results, with positive talking just one of them.

Since Callum Wilson picked up his injury and missed these last five Premier League matches, Steve Bruce only wanted to talk about how difficult (impossible) it made it for Newcastle to now score a goal. Losing the striker who has scored 10 of Newcastle’s 28 Premier League goals this season.

However, since the Wolves match, these last two weeks and two games (West Brom away and Villa home) have seen Steve Bruce make it almost entirely about who he hasn’t got available, rather than who he has.

The task of how Newcastle might manage a goal now, with four goal Almiron and two goal ASM now also out injured, getting more difficult (according to Steve Bruce) by so many more levels.

Steve Bruce previously constantly talked about this winnable set of games coming up ahead of the international break, with Wolves and Villa at home, West Brom and Brighton away.

Yet since we got in amongst it, the Bruce talk has ended up pre and post-match about how difficult it is to win any of them.

For example, this has been the Steve Bruce reaction after the last two poor games and results:

Steve Bruce after West Brom 0 Newcastle 0 – Sunday 7 March:

“If we had played Andy [Carroll] and Dwight [Gayle], then we would have to change the whole set-up, and I don’t think we had time to do that.

“We are getting used to playing in a certain way. It’s the way I want to play.

“Unfortunately, having come up with the system, we have been struck down by the loss of [Miguel] Almiron, Callum [Wilson] and Allan [Saint-Maximin].”

Steve Bruce after Newcastle 1 Aston Villa 1 – Friday 12 March:

“We have got three of our big players [missing] at the top end of the pitch.

“In the forward areas, believe me, where you have to create, score a goal, it is why they cost so much money.

“You know, we have been dealt a cruel blow…but we have to keep having to try and find a way.

“He (Joelinton) has come in for a lot of criticism but he has contributed to the team and his performance today…

“Of course, he needs to score a goal and be a bit of a hero for once. 

“…our big players are around the corner maybe in the next couple of weeks, that would certainly help, because we have been a bit hampered. To miss one is cruel enough but when you are missing three.”

I honestly think this Steve Bruce ‘cavalry coming to save us’ message will end up relegating Newcastle United.

Ahead of that Wolves match, Newcastle United still had 13 matches and 39 points to play for, now it is 10 games and 30 points still to compete for, with only three points banked out of these last three games from what we were told previously by Steve Bruce was a very possible nine out of nine.

Of these final ten matches, I only see Sheffield United at home as in the same kind of ‘winnable’ category as these last three matches. I hear you say Brighton and Fulham away but honestly, I think these are two of our hardest remaining matches as they are against sides absolutely desperate for the points and bound to throw everything at these particular relegations six pointers, plus they are both playing far better football than Newcastle and have better defensive records.

The other seven matches see Newcastle up against Tottenham, Burnley, West Ham, Liverpool, Arsenal, Leicester and Man City. The Burnley game should be more likely to produce points for Newcastle but the Clarets are at home and now all but safe, will throw everything at this NUFC match to make sure they finish the job early.

Steve Bruce should be talking our available players up and putting together a formation to get the best out of them. He should be talking about Carroll’s England pedigree and how Gayle has scored goals for fun in the past (albeit mainly in the second tier) and if Newcastle can get them the ball in scoring positions, the pair can get the goals.

Instead, what we have got is Steve Bruce just talking about the missing trio of attacking players and how everything will be ok once they are back. Whilst at the same time throwing Gayle in the deep end with a striking role at Chelsea where he was so isolated, drop him for the next three, then play him on the wing against Villa (‘split strikers’) and he ends up having less touches of the ball than anybody else who started the game. Meanwhile, Andy Carroll got the final 20 seconds at West Brom and came on in the 88th minute against Villa, these few minutes the only action he’s had over the course of the last four matches.

The same kind of story with the other players who should be the best bets to fill in for the likes of ASM and Almiron, players such as Murphy as Fraser. Steve Bruce not playing to their strengths and / or not playing them at all, trying to fit players into formations that don’t suit, whilst so reluctant to make any dynamic early changes from the bench.

As usual, Steve Bruce is making optimistic noises about the early return of missing players but we should all know by now that this is shown not to be the reality in terms of when back playing, or alternatively we get players risking longer-term injuries when Bruce gambles and loses.

The thing is, even when the likes of Wilson, ASM and Almiron were playing, goals didn’t exactly flow. A spell of eight games from December into January saw Newcastle fail to score in seven of the matches, only Carroll getting a goal against Leicester.

These last three ‘winnable’ matches and only two goals, both from central defender Lascelles. A lot of talk about Joelinton doing some ok work in non-dangerous places and then having zero confidence or idea what to do when getting some good situations in the box. Bizarrely, journalists and pundits loyal to the Head Coach want to blame Newcastle fans for Joelinton’s finishing failures, accusing them (supporters) of destroying the Brazilian’s confidence. I think you should be looking at what Steve Bruce says, making it sound all but impossible for the currently available players to score goals, whilst as for what happens in training….that is when Steve Bruce isn’t giving them half the week off!

I like Almiron, ASM and Wilson, so this isn’t intended to be criticism of them, just the reality of what has happened this season under Steve Bruce.

Just how confident can we be of goals simply because the cavalry of ASM, Wilson and Almiron get back fit, based on the below?

ASM has scored only one goal in the last five and a half months.

These last 19 games Almiron has scored in two of them.

As for Wilson, he has scored in only two of Newcastle’s last twenty matches, one of those games it was a penalty against Fulham.

Steve Bruce needs to sweep away this nonsense and stop talking about this mythical return of injured players that are bound to score the goals and save us.  Yes Newcastle will generally be better with the likes of ASM, Wilson and Almiron in the team but this season has shown, certainly the last three months, you can’t rely simply on them scoring the goals and winning the points.

The Head Coach has to pick his best team each match that are most likely to score and create goals, preparing them for each game with the tactics and formation that best suits.

Each game that goes by with ‘big’ players injured, I can just imagine Steve Bruce adding it to an ever growing pile of excuses as to why Newcastle United were relegated, instead of him getting on with the job in hand and throwing everything at each game.

Just how terrible was it, at the time and especially looking back, to see Steve Bruce playing for a goalless draw at West Brom??? The same and even worse when doing the same at Sheffield United in January and actually managing to lose that one.

No more excuses Steve, time to do what you are paid a fortune for.

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