Mark Lawrenson believes Steve Bruce capable of this amazing feat after over 16 months gap
Mark Lawrenson eventually deserted Steve Bruce after blindly supporting the NUFC Head Coach and his football for the first five or six months of the season, predicting defeat for Newcastle United match after match as a shocking run of form showed no sign of ending.
However, after four wins in the last twenty four games, two of the victories in the last four matches, Mark Lawrenson is back with team Bruce.
So much so, that the BBC Sport pundit is predicting Steve Bruce to achieve an amazing feat on Sunday, by winning two Premier League home games in a row with Newcastle United.
Bruce has only ever experienced the euphoria of two PL wins in a row at St James Park on one occasion, December 2019 seeing victories over Southampton (2-1) and Crystal Palace (1-0).
Last weekend, Steve Bruce missed the chance to win three Premier League games in a row for the first time in over twelve years (January 2009 with Wigan was the last time he managed this), here’s hoping Bruce doesn’t miss the chance this time.
Mark Lawrenson points to a number of things in Newcastle’s favour, particularly Arsenal’s form. Arteta’s team have won only two of their last seven Premier League matches and they include failing to beat the likes of Burnley away and Fulham at home in that time period, indeed the 1-1 draw against Scott Parker’s team only came about thanks to a 97th minute equaliser.
The BBC Sport pundit points to the visitors’ priorities and this Newcastle match falls in between the two legs of Arsenal’s Europa League semi-final.
The Gunners can’t qualify through the Premier League for the Champions League and only have very faint hopes of Europa League qualification, so everything points to these Thursday matches as the priority over the one at St James Park.
Arsenal lost 2-1 last night at Villarreal, so the tie finely balanced before next Thursday at The Emirates.
When it comes to Newcastle United and picking up eight points in the last four matches, Steve Bruce says NUFC: ‘have their big guns back in attack and they have made a big difference.’
This is only very loosely based on any kind of fact.
Callum Wilson hasn’t been able to train every day as he still recovers from injury and in his sub appearances in recent matches, has struggled to influence them.
Allan Saint-Maximin has of course made a difference and won the match at Burnley single-handedly from the bench, after Dubravka had kept Newcastle in the game.
However, in actual fact it is somebody who Steve Bruce has dropped, who’s made the biggest difference!
Joe Willock has rescued Bruce in three of these last four matches, scoring in all three late on from the bench, avoiding defeat against both Spurs and Liverpool. Whilst the Head Coach’s inherent negativity had seen Steve Bruce go all out defence against West Ham in the second half despite being 2-0 up and with a man advantage, inviting the Hammers 10 men to dominate and score twice, only for the Arsenal loan man to save the Brucey bacon once again.
With Arsenal being the opposition this time, Joe Willock will be missing and indeed by the time we get to Leicester next Friday, it will be seven weeks without a start for the loan man.
So can somebody else step up and make the difference against an inconsistent and almost certainly weakened Arsenal, who will have their minds elsewhere?
Can Steve Bruce realise his dream of back to back Premier League wins at St James Park for the first time in over 16 months?
A game where surely Bruce has to allow his players to take the initiative and get at Arsenal…I hope so but I’m not convinced that will be the case.
Mark Lawrenson talking to BBC Sport:
“Arsenal’s priority has to be the Europa League now, because it is the only way they are getting into Europe next season.
“The Gunners are extremely inconsistent at the best of times and I just have a feeling Newcastle will come out on top here.
“Part of that is down to the Magpies’ form.
“They have won two and drawn two of their past four games – but they also have their big guns back in attack and they have made a big difference.
“Prediction is Newcastle 2 Arsenal 1.”
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