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Opinion

Steve Bruce finally runs out of luck

13 seconds ago
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Unfortunately for Steve Bruce, the element of luck which we have enjoyed over the past four games (Liverpool, West Ham, Spurs, Burnley) was missing today.

Arsenal, who have been shaky in recent games, turned in a rather calm and composed performance to take all three points.

Another bad day for the magpies as we recorded our 16th loss of the season.

Here’s what I made of Newcastle 0 Arsenal 2 today…

Attack

Poor performance

Steve Bruce went without his lucky charm Joelinton up top.

This meant the long ball strategy was ineffective as Callum Wilson is far less of a hold-up player.

Unfortunately, Wilson could not latch onto any of the half decent crosses that were played into the box, and probably could have been better positioned for that sixth minute pass from Ritchie.

Poor game all round from him today.

Good performance

Hard to pick any one player for this.

We seemed really toothless up front.

Joelinton did look bright with his movement after coming on and playing on his preferred right side but that may have been down to the Arsenal players being in cruise control mode at the time.

ASM was our best attacker and dazzled at the start but was never given enough room to work. Boy, if that miss-hit had gone in…

Midfield

Poor performance

Shelvey played his usual sixth defender role, leaving our midfield vulnerable and making us disadvantaged with every attempt at attack.

As long as he got his usual Hollywood passes in, and knowing very well his place in the side is guaranteed, I’m sure he’ll feel he played great.

If I had a pound for every poor pass Shelvey has played this season, right now I’d be ringing up Amanda Staveley to broker a takeover deal!

Good performance

Miguel Almiron. What a player.

That goal line clearance bought us time to make something out of the game. He was all over the pitch as usual, but I feel he did more on the defensive side today.

He was as poor as anyone else going forward and delayed in making up his mind to play Wilson through more than once.

Defence

Poor performance

I’d have to hand it to Schar.

Having just returned to fitness, he only lasted a few minutes on the pitch before grabbing a needless red card from a reckless lunge. And yes, it was a red card.

This was his first red in nearly 7 or 8 years of club football, so it’s nothing to do with the player’s character.

I honestly didn’t see the need to bring him on today and it wouldn’t have done him any good to have gone right off again.

Good performance

Murphy was our best defender today.

He had to deal with the threat of Martinelli, then Pepe. He played well under pressure and was calm enough to play out of the back when required.

I hope to see more of him up the pitch however. Let’s leave the defending to Manquillo.

Goalie

He didn’t have much to do today but definitely should have done better with Elneny’s tame effort. That’s another goal he’s given up through an error.

It seems like Dubravka needs to feel the pressure of competition to get back to his best.

Manager

Typical Steve Bruce masterclass but he’s finally out of luck.

Whilst doing it his own way from now on, Bruce yet again opted for Rafa’s 5-3-2 setup from the kick-off, perhaps showing too much respect to an Arsenal side that fielded many off-form players.

Steve Bruce has helped Arsenal this season more than he has helped his own team, having gifted them six points in the league and a win in the cup, all victories coming when Arteta’s team had been on poor runs.

The substitutions today were confusing and meaningless and the absence of Joe Willock meant no last minute equalisers were scored.

Bruce went for 4-3-3 at the end and brought on two strikers, so I guess we can’t blame him for giving his all. Someone tell me what the tactic was today. I’ll be grateful for that.

Nonetheless, four games to go. FA Pup finalists Leicester and Champions League finalists Man City up next, before Sheffield Utd at home and Fulham away. One more win will guarantee safety.

Howay the lads.

Stats from BBC Sport:

Newcastle 0 Arsenal 2 – Sunday 2 May 2pm

Goals:

Newcastle:

Schar red card 90

Arsenal:

Elneny 5, Aubameyang 66

(Half-time stats in brackets)

Possession was Arsenal 62% (61%) Newcastle 38% (39%)

Total shots were Arsenal 19 (13)  Newcastle 5 (3)

Shots on target were Arsenal 5 (3) Newcastle 1 (1)

Corners were Arsenal 7 (4) Newcastle 3 (2)

Referee: Mike Dean

Newcastle United:

Dubravka, Murphy, Fernandez (Schar 72), Clark (Gayle 84), Dummett, Ritchie, Shelvey, Sean Longstaff, Almiron (Joelinton 73), Wilson, Saint-Maximin

Unused Subs:

Mark Gillespie, Emil Krafth, Jamal Lewis, Matty Longstaff, Jeff Hendrick, Elliot Anderson

Crowd: 00,000

(Newcastle 0 Arsenal 2 – Match ratings and comments on all the NUFC players – Read HERE)

(Newcastle 0 Arsenal 2 – Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Sunday’s defeat – Read HERE)

(Newcastle 0 Arsenal Reserves 2 – Total capitulation from Steve Bruce – Read HERE)

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