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Catch 22 decision for Steve Bruce in next 48 hours

3 weeks ago

A big decision coming up for Steve Bruce.

Newcastle United already in the relegation zone after defeats in both games, plus conceding a hefty six goals.

Whilst at the other end of the pitch, only four efforts on target so far and in reality, only the Wilson and Murphy goals were serious efforts on goal.

So what better than a morale boosting victory to lift everybody connected to NUFC, from fans to players and beyond?

However, it is Catch 22 for Steve Bruce, that morale boosting win against Burnley on Wednesday night is very much needed, BUT only some 65 hours after that League Cup game is scheduled to finish, Newcastle have a crucial Premier League match against relegation rivals Southampton.

The thought of going into the international break with just one or even worse, zero, points in the Premier League is just not worth thinking about. Though there again, zero points AND a League Cup knockout takes it to yet another level.

Steve Bruce marched into Newcastle United with a promise to take the cups as seriously as the Premier League.

The reality has proved somewhat different, though for some bizarre reason Bruce’s mates in the media have failed to mention it.

Far from fielding the strongest teams possible in cup matches, Steve Bruce has made more changes to his cup teams than pretty much any other Newcastle United manager in history.

His very first cup match with Newcastle saw Steve Bruce make seven changes, losing in the League Cup to Leicester who made only two changes.

Bruce’s second League Cup match was even more laughable when you consider his promises to play as strong a team as possible in the cups, making 10 (TEN) changes at home to Blackburn at this stage last season. The Championship side totally outplayed Newcastle at St James Park and NUFC very lucky to score a winner with their only effort on target, through Fraser.

Indeed, in the four League Cup matches last season, of 44 player selections Steve Bruce made an astonishing 30 changes. Very fortunate to get past League Two Newport on penalties after Shelvey’s very late goal in normal time saved them, though Championship side Brentford easily beat Newcastle despite fielding a seriously weakened team of their own as they concentrated on promotion.

So will Steve Bruce simply be concentrating on relegation and trying to avoid it, when picking his team against Burnley?

Or will his ‘principles’ and desperation for a win of any kind, force him to field a strong team as possible…unlike what he has done in every League Cup match so far at Newcastle United?

Sean Dyche has been unapologetic about his approach to the League Cup, fielding seriously weakened teams on a regular basis, as he prioritises Premier League survival.

Steve Bruce has never beaten a Premier League side in the cups since joining Newcastle United, losing all three previous matches, so this would be a real ‘highlight’ if he can pull it off this time.

Not sure if there has ever been a match where both Premier League teams make eleven changes in a League Cup match, just maybe Newcastle United will be making history in more ways than one under Steve Bruce.

Games between Steve Bruce and Sean Dyche have amusingly been dubbed ‘El Jurassico’ due to the boring tedious football style the pair are known for. This one on Wednesday could be the most classic / Jurassic so far, especially if Steve Bruce and Sean Dyche are purely looking ahead to the weekend, Newcastle home to Southampton on Saturday whilst Burnley have an extra day’s recovery (if they play any first team players) before Leeds at home on Sunday.


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