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Opinion

Steve Bruce bewildering decision – Leaves Newcastle United fans wondering…

1 month ago
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The match kicked off with chants from the travelling Newcastle United fans for Steve Bruce to go.

The final whistle bringing more calls from the away section for the NUFC Head Coach to resign.

It was the perfect balance because as well as making clear what they think of this latest Mike Ashley patsy / stooge, the packed away end gave superb support to the team, something which the players were keen to acknowledge after the final whistle.

Of course, the final whistle also brought the usual slot for Steve Bruce to make his excuses.

His big excuse this week was his players failing to finish chances against Watford.

To be fair, Newcastle did have a lot of opportunities to score this weekend and did only take one of them, however, Steve Bruce massively downplaying the fact that Watford also had their own decent number of chances.

Chances went begging for the likes of Joelinton, Willock, Murphy, ASM, Almiron and Sean Longstaff as well, although he did get the goal with one of his chances, that earned a draw.

However, what is completely bewildering, is that Steve Bruce moans about the inability finish, yet refuses to play his best available…finisher.

Now I’m not saying Dwight Gayle is a top class striker BUT get him in the positions and he will score goals at any level.

His career record in all leagues was 122 goals from 210 league starts (and 89 sub appearances) before Saturday’s match.

Steve Bruce had completely ignored him, not a single PL minute this season, then with Newcastle desperate for a winner yesterday, Gayle was finally allowed a massive seven minutes. He may indeed have won the game late on as his clever movement left him unmarked in the box and to be fair it wasn’t an easy ball to deliver, but Joelinton’s low cross from the left was all too easily blocked by a Watford defender.

Some of you may say that Dwight Gayle is not a Premier League level finisher…well who is at Newcastle United?

What I do know is that yesterday’s match was so open and the quality of the game probably more like Championship level, surely an absolute perfect chance for Steve Bruce to get Gayle on the pitch in a situation where he could thrive and have the space and opportunity to get into goalscoring positions.

I honestly think that even if Brucey had brought on Gayle after even an hour, Newcastle would have comfortably won this. Two points thrown down the drain.

Looking at the players who Steve Bruce was blaming for not taking all three points, these are their entire career Premier League goalscoring records: Willock (9), Almiron (8), ASM (8), Joelinton (6), Sean Longstaff (now 3) and Murphy (2).

Whilst of course Dwight Gayle has been most noted for scoring for fun in the Championship, he has still also got 26 Premier League goals, those coming from not a massive number of PL starts (64) as well as now 73 sub appearances.

Actually, now allowed on the pitch yesterday at all, Ryan Fraser has got 16 PL goals in his career, which in this Newcastle United squad makes him a bit of a heavyweight.

Much as we can all say if only Callum Wilson was fit, the reality is that he is injury prone and simply cannot be counted upon to play week in week out, last season he only started 23 PL matches and this time I can’t see him managing even that number. Not pessimistic, just realistic.

You look at Joelinton with now 75 PL appearances that have produced just the six goals. When the ball fell to him yesterday in decent positions you never ever expected him to score and he didn’t disappoint…

Steve Bruce needs to find goals from somewhere and if he is determined not to start Dwight Gayle then fair enough, BUT as one of only two strikers at the club alongside Callum Wilson, in matches where Newcastle need a goal…surely Gayle needs to be getting at least 30 minutes from the bench on a regular basis.

Stats from BBC Sport:

Watford 1 Newcastle 1 – Saturday 25 September 3pm

Goals:

Watford

Sarr 72

Newcastle:

Sean Longstaff 23

(In brackets the first half stats)

Possession was Watford 52% (50%) Newcastle 48% (50%)

Total shots were Watford 15 (6)  Newcastle 20 (11)

Shots on target were Watford 4 (2) Newcastle 6 (2)

Corners were Watford 5 (2) Newcastle 6 (5)

Referee: Jarred Gillett

Newcastle United:

Darlow, Manquillo, Fernandez, Clark, Ritchie, Sean Longstaff, Hayden, Almiron (Murphy 79), Willock (Gayle 83), Saint-Maximin, Joelinton

Unused Subs:

Gillespie, Schar, Lewis, Hendrick, Krafth, Fraser, Anderson

Crowd:

20,650 (2,200 Newcastle)

(Gary Lineker and Alan Shearer discuss Newcastle making history under Steve Bruce – Read HERE)

(Steve Bruce declares ‘We created enough chances to win three games’ (One would be nice…) – Read HERE)

(Match Report – Watford 1 Newcastle 1 – 35 shots, end to end game and an Aussie rules referee – Read HERE)

(Watford 1 Newcastle 1 – Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Saturday’s end to end draw – Read HERE)

(Xisco Munoz left ‘disappointed’ after failing to beat Steve Bruce’s Newcastle United – Read HERE)

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