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This 2020/21 Newcastle United shocking Steve Bruce stat had to be wrong – It wasn’t

4 months ago
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Nothing surprises me with Newcastle United these days.

Nothing bad, that is.

A sad state of affairs but a natural consequence of having had Mike Ashley owning the club these past 14 years.

Then I saw this.

Surely this shocking Steve Bruce stat had to be wrong, but in 2020/21 this has really happened at Newcastle United.

Newcastle United have failed to score in the first half in 21 of their 28 Premier League matches.

This can’t be right, Steve Bruce swung into Toon on 17 July 2019 promising us that his Newcastle United team would always be on the front foot.

Then the legions of the media have told Newcastle fans this season that they are wrong, totally wrong.

They have lectured us that despite the evidence of our own eyes, Steve Bruce is actually a very attack minded manager, the football is frequently very good from Newcastle this season, still far better than under Rafa Benitez.

So how could this failing to score in the first half, 21 times out of 28, be true.

Hmmm, I had a look and I found these seven matches.

3 October 2020

Newcastle 3 Burnley 1 (Saint-Maximin 14)

17 October 2020

Newcastle 1 Man Utd 4 (OG Shaw 2)

12 December 2020

Newcastle 2 West Brom 1 (Almiron 1)

16 December 2020

Leeds 5 Newcastle 2 (Hendrick 26)

2 February 2021

Newcastle 1 Crystal Palace 2 (Shelvey 2)

6 February 2021

Newcastle 3 Southampton 2 (Willock 16, Almiron 26, 45+4)

21 February 2021 

Man Utd 3 Newcastle 1 (Saint-Maximin 36)

Yes folks, believe it or not, these are the only matches where Newcastle United have scored in the first half of PL matches this season.

If you wanted to be pedantic you could actually say it is only six of the 28, as Shaw scored an own goal when we got hammered at home by Man Utd.

The striking thing for me, is that even when we got off to an absolute flyer in games, scoring within two minutes against West Brom, Man Utd and Palace, there was never any attempt to really press the advantage home.

Even against Man Utd, having scored after only two minutes, our best chance of getting a positive result would have been to keep pressing and trying to get a second, not everybody retreat to the edge of our own box for the remaining 88 minutes.

However, particularly games like Palace and West Brom, plus you can add the Leeds and Burnley ones as well. Even when getting a first half lead on such rare occasions, Steve Bruce’s intention is still not to attack.

Against Leeds we just tamely folded, lost against Palace, a late winner against West Brom rescued NUFC after never looking like scoring most of the rest of the game, whilst it took an ASM moment of magic in the second half to put Newcastle 2-1 up against Burnley when we were going nowhere.

As for those other 21 first halves of football without a single Newcastle United goal, over 16 hours of football (once you include added time at end of first halves) and not a single first half goal.

Quite incredible.

Steve Bruce and his amazing tactics, trying to hang on to a goalless draw from the kick-off.

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