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Opinion

The final proof that Steve Bruce needs to be sacked by Newcastle United ASAP

1 week ago
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Steve Bruce watched on as his Newcastle United side gave one of their best performances of the season.

Newcastle taking the lead against Tottenham when creating a decent number of first half chances.

Then showing good character to bounce back after a quick double from Harry Kane had put Spurs in control, Joe Willock off the bench to equalise in the 85th minute.

I was intrigued to read all the various comments and reports that followed after Sunday’s match, especially regarding Steve Bruce.

So many of them making out that this 2-2 draw against Tottenham was some kind of great triumph for Steve Bruce, evidence pointing towards a belief that he should keep the job at least until the end of the season, potentially beyond…

I’m sorry but for me, yesterday simply massively reaffirmed the complete opposite.

That Steve Bruce is a disaster and every day he continues further at St James Park, the more likely it is that Newcastle will be relegated.

People will credit Bruce with his team selection, tactics, formation etc but honestly, it is just pot luck every time.

Steve Bruce week after week, match after match, picks his team, tactics and formation without the faintest idea of how any of it is going to work out, every week!

Time after time when the latest starting eleven is named, Newcastle fans on social media instantly question whether the names have been picked out of hat, so random are the team selections and then the tactics / formation they are employed in.

Steve Bruce has been at the club 21 months now and taken charge of some 80 or so first team matches, including 68 Premier League games, and he just hasn’t a clue. Random changes of players, formation and tactics, often wholesale alterations.

On Sunday it was switch to a back five and make five changes to the team. Steve Bruce brought in the likes of Gayle (only 2 previous PL starts all season), Ritchie (no PL starts for over three months), Sean Longstaff (1 PL start since 12 January) and Jacob Murphy (only 2 previous PL starts in 2021).

Newcastle United have now extended their run to only two wins in the last twenty one games and Steve Bruce is then supposed to get credit, for bringing in players who he has pretty much totally ignored for these past four months as Newcastle have failed to win week after week, players who helped to create a far better performance than we have being watching time after time.

Steve Bruce changing from the ultra negativity we have seen in the vast majority of games this season (and last), with a shaky Tottenham defence helping as for once Bruce allowed some attacking emphasis.

Just go back to that game at Sheffield United in January, the Blades were on a run of 20 Premier League games featuring 18 defeats and 2 draws, yet Steve Bruce played a back five and three defensive midfielders, only Fraser and Wilson given any real freedom to get forward. This was one of the eight games in the opening seventeen when Steve Bruce left out Miguel Almiron, the Paraguayan not even getting a chance off the bench as Newcastle lost 1-0.

Even more recently, what about that shamefully negative approach to the game at West Brom, Steve Bruce heading there to try and snatch a goalless draw. Which he then claimed as some kind of success after it did indeed end 0-0.

The two weakest opponents that Newcastle have played since the turn of the year and Steve Bruce went all defensive against them, only to then go on the attack and make five changes when up against a dangerous Spurs side, who I think would have still won if Mourinho wasn’t so negative himself, not encouraging his team to try and go on and make it 3-1 (and possibly 4-1) in that second half. Instead messing around playing out time and trying to keep possession in non-threatening areas, this after we had seen how fragile the Newcastle defence was when Spurs easily opened NUFC up for Kane to score twice.

Steve Bruce literally spinning the wheel of fortune and hoping things change for the better any particular week. At times shifting to new tactics and formation and blindly continuing with it for so many games even though clear to everybody else it isn’t working.

I have zero faith in Steve Bruce getting the team selection and tactics right against Burnley next weekend, again, it will be pure luck if he gets it right.

Look at the very start of this season, Newcastle catching West Ham at the right time and a decent steady performance topped by NUFC scoring with both chances they got on target. The very next game was Brighton at home and both fans and commentators astonished that Steve Bruce had kept Andy Carroll up front for this one. Sure enough, Brighton were totally dominant and two up in seven minutes, Carroll ideal for Brighton’s big centre-back and a liability when it came to defending from the front against Brighton’s possession football. Far too late when at half time Almiron came on for Carroll, Steve Bruce afterwards admitted he’d got it all wrong, saying he had felt obliged to start Carroll again because he had done ok at West Ham. Not a clue as to what was needed against very different opposition.

Yesterday was only the eighth time in 30 Premier League games this season, where Newcastle have scored in the first half. Such a usually negative approach that gifts control and often the first goal to the opposition. In the eight matches where NUFC have scored in the first half, they have picked up three wins, in the 22 where they haven’t scored before the break, only another four wins.

Sadly, Steve Bruce will still be in charge next weekend at Burnley and just like him, I haven’t got a clue as to what will happen, whether that be team selection, tactics or formation.

For the overwhelming majority of fans, whilst they don’t think this squad are world beaters, there has been an ongoing belief that they are a lot better than what we have seen this season, a team / squad that ends up on a run of two wins in twenty one matches. With these same players, I think any half decent manager would have had them at least safe by now, maybe a few notches better than just basic survival.

Newcastle fans having to retain faith in Fulham continuing to falter because with Steve Bruce set to take care of these next eight matches, absolutely no faith in Bruce getting anything right, other than due to luck.

Stats from BBC Sport:

Newcastle 2 Tottenham 2 – Sunday 4 April 2.05pm

Goals:

Newcastle:

Joelinton 28, Willock 85

Tottenham:

Kane 30, 34

(Half-time stats in brackets)

Possession was Spurs 59% (58%) Newcastle 41% (42%)

Total shots were Spurs 11 (4)  Newcastle 22 (11)

Shots on target were Spurs 5 (3) Newcastle 6 (4)

Corners were Spurs 3 (1) Newcastle 7 (4)

Referee: Craig Pawson

Newcastle United:

Dubravka, Murphy (Manquillo 83), Krafth (Willock 79), Lascelles, Dummett, Ritchie, Shelvey, Sean Longstaff, Almiron, Gayle (Saint-Maximin 71), Joelinton

Unused Subs:

Darlow, Clark, Matt Longstaff, Lewis, Hendrick, Anderson

Crowd: 00,000

(Mitrovic dumps Newcastle in relegation zone only for Trezeguet to pull them back out – Read HERE)

(Steve Bruce starts arguing with himself after making it 2 wins in 21 Newcastle matches – Read HERE)

(3 Positives and 3 Negatives from Newcastle 2 Tottenham 2 – Read HERE)

(Newcastle 2 Tottenham 2 – Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Sunday’s draw – Read HERE)

(Newcastle 2 Tottenham 2 – For a change, a match I didn’t hate watching – Read HERE)

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