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A desperate Steve Bruce uses Joelinton to lift spirits of fans after delivering depressing news

1 month ago
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I am not saying Steve Bruce is desperate BUT when you are trying to use the alleged ‘form’ of Joelinton to raise the spirits of fans (and himself…?), you have to accept that the barrel is really having its depths scraped.

Referring to the Leeds match, Steve Bruce declaring: ‘Joelinton arguably had his best game for the club last week.’

You pay £40m+ for an exciting set for the top up and coming quality goalscoring centre-forward and 26 months later that Leeds game was his best ever…???

A match where Joelinton never even looked remotely like troubling the scorers despite accidentally finding himself in a couple of decent goalscoring positions.

Steve Bruce has repeatedly claimed the credit for all signings made since he arrived, saying all the signings were only allowed to happen after he had personally signed them off.

Although even Bruce did have to eventually go public towards the end of a first season for himself and Joelinton, admitting that it turns out the £40m+ Brazilian is neither a natural goalscorer, nor indeed a player who even likes getting into the box too much.

Now nobody would point all of Newcastle’s problems at Joelinton, but after 74 Premier League appearances have produced six goals and Steve Bruce claiming that the very average display a week ago was the Brazilian’s best ever for NUFC, you have to admit that paying a club record (twice as much as Newcastle have ever paid for any other player) for such a shockingly poor player is a big issue. Particularly at a club that two years after that record signing, Mike Ashley says that the club can’t even afford a free transfer signing or loan deal.

Of the players available for Watford, the entire potential matchday squad scored only 19 of Newcastle’s 46 Premier League goals last season.

This is after Steve Bruce brought us more depressing news ahead of Saturday’s match, new injuries that rule star players out until at least after the international break.

The NUFC Head Coach confirming that as well as no chance of Callum Wilson returning until after the next two matches, it is now the case for both Joe Willock (kicked the ground in training and hurt his toe) and Jamaal Lascelles (a muscle injury).

These to go with the longer-term injured of Dubravka, Dummett and Shelvey as well.

Amazingly / ironically, of the options available at Watford, Joelinton (four – along with Almiron) is the top scorer from last season, with Wilson (twelve) and Willock (eight) missing.

Allan Saint-Maximin comes next (after Joelinton and Almiron) with three PL goals last season.

Steve Bruce saying about ASM last week at Leeds: ‘I think it was his fifth [Premier League]90 minutes [in a row] and he didn’t do that through all of last season. You can see he’s playing at the top of his game but we need to find a threat from other positions too.’

Which is of course the problem as well, Steve Bruce has shown a number of times these past couple of years that he will play and play his better players, often leading to longer-term injuries that could potentially have been avoided if played more sparingly.

With Bruce’s only attacking plan being the other players giving the ball to ASM and then standing and watching, hoping he will do something, we really really have to hope nothing now happens to Allan Saint-Maximin.

With ASM having now added far more end product (two goals and two assists in five PL games so far), you just know that Watford will be waiting for him, both doubling up and potentially getting a few heavy tackles in early. After all, who else will they have to be worried about? Especially if Steve Bruce still refuses to allow Dwight Gayle to have an single PL minute this season, the only striker alternative in Wilson’s absence.

This is a flavour of what Steve Bruce said to the media on Friday morning ahead of Watford:

On the Leeds draw:

“We decided to go to a back four and match them up in the middle of the pitch which suited us, I believe.

“I enjoyed the game.

“It was difficult for us for 20 minutes but we responded well.

“I thought it was a terrific game so more of the same tomorrow.”

On Allan Saint-Maximin and Joelinton:

“I think it was his [ASM’s] fifth 90 minutes and he didn’t do that through all of last season.

“You can see he’s playing at the top of his game but we need to find a threat from other positions too.

“Joelinton arguably had his best game for the club last week.”

On Martin Dubravka:

“To be without him at the start when we didn’t see it coming was difficult.

“It’s good to see him back on the grass.

“We’ve just got to be patient and see where he’s up to but he’s just started training so it’ll be a couple of weeks away at least.”

On injuries generally:

“I think after the international break would be the return of most of them [injured players].

“Maybe next week is a bit too early so that [international] break up until the Tottenham game [on Sunday 17 October] will be needed.

“It’s difficult but when you’re without 5/6 of your big players it’s even more difficult.”

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