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Opinion

Steve Bruce, tough schedules then winnable games but no goals in 236 minutes

4 months ago
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Steve Bruce is like that kid in your class who had an answer (excuse) for everything.

Though to be fair he hasn’t said that the dog ate his tactics (homework).

Yet.

No matter what the occasion, he can trot out various excuses.

Whilst Newcastle fans are incredulous with what he claims, his mates in the media just lap it up.

Four months since the virus outbreak at Newcastle United and Steve Bruce is still using that as one of his excuses for the terrible performances and results. He uses the excuse still and journalists dutifully say / write: ‘Steve Bruce is up against it, the Covid issues have badly affected Newcastle United BUT Steve Bruce doesn’t like to mention it…’, or words to that effect.

The last five Newcastle United results have been:

Chelsea 2 Newcastle 0

Man Utd 3 Newcastle 1

Newcastle 1 Wolves 1

West Brom 0 Newcastle 0

Newcastle 1 Aston Villa 1

Before and after the defeats to Chelsea and Man Utd, the journalists and pundits were happy to repeat Steve Bruce’s claims that this fixture list was so unfair on Newcastle, pitching these two away games together.

Bruce making out that they were impossible challenges and saying that he couldn’t wait for the more winnable games that followed these Mount Everest sized impossibilities.

We get to the ‘winnable’ games and we haven’t won any of them, draws at home against Wolves and Villa, as well as away at all but already relegated West Brom. The West Midlands Bermuda Triangle, where the excuses should just have disappeared.

However, they don’t.

Newcastle have rarely looked like scoring in any of these three winnable games and indeed, out of the blue Jamaal Lascelles has scored the only two goals that have came in over four and a half hours of ‘winnable’ matches.

Indeed, it has all been lost, because journalists and pundits are seemingly happy to let it happen, that during these ‘winnable’ trio of matches, Newcastle United went 236 minutes without scoring a goal. Lascelles scoring in the 52nd minute of the Wolves match, then again in the 90+4 minute of the Villa match, when you include the time added on at the end of halves, that makes it 236 minutes between goals, four minutes short of four hours.

Steve Bruce is keen to say how devastating it is to be missing these three attacking talents, however, he was going to drop ASM anyway before Covid struck in late November and has never been a fan of Almiron as an attacking force, leaving him out of the starting elevens in eight of the first seventeen PL matches this season.

He (Steve Bruce) quite literally makes it up as he goes along.

Callum Wilson is a very decent striker and always capable of grabbing a goal, though you do have to accept that only six of his goals this season didn’t come from the penalty spot.

My main focus though is on Bruce’s comments regarding ASM and Almiron, as though their return would instantly solve the lack of goals and wins. Between them they have scored only 13 goals in a combined 112 Premier League appearances for Newcastle United, it isn’t their goals that would be an instant cure. They are good players but ones who have been criminally wasted by Steve Bruce and won’t be instant saviours for NUFC whilst this Head Coach remains.

During his time at St James Park, the vast majority of it Steve Bruce has spent with the incredible plan of playing Almiron as an extra defender and his only attacking plan being to tell the players to give the ball to ASM and hope he can run from his won box and create or score a goal.

Steve Bruce is in his comfort zone with players he feels comfortable with, such as Championship plodder Jeff Hendrick, the invisible man. Perfectly fitting in with Bruce’s invisible tactics, which may or may not have been eaten by the dog, depending on what story / excuse Steve Bruce wants to use on a particular day.

Steve Bruce’s mates in the media have now fallen back on the tactic of claiming that it is so late in the season, there is no point making the change now.

Hmmm, difficult to imagine that if Bruce was removed, things could be any worse.

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