Paul Merson claims on Newcastle United not based on reality
Paul Merson has been talking about Newcastle United.
The player turned pundit declaring that Newcastle fans ‘want to see good football’, following on from the much improved performance against Brentford, in Eddie Howe’s first game.
This thing is often used against Newcastle fans, as though it is something strange, when the reality is surely all supporters of any club are the same and want to see their team playing the best quality and entertaining football possible.
Amongst the many myths though put forward, in our case, the likes of Richard Keys and others claim that Newcastle fans actually prefer entertaining non-winning football, over football that gets results. This is just basically a lie, a total misrepresentation. The evidence used for this lie / misrepresentation is the Kevin Keegan era and to an extent the Sir Bobby Robson one.
This is why these media claims are especially laughable, the Keegan and Sir Bobby NUFC days did see Newcastle United play their best football of the Premier League era BUT they were also the years when our team played their most winning football!
After the 3-3 draw with Brentford, Richard Keys and others wanted to make out that Newcastle had failed to win due to too much reckless attacking at the expense of the defence, Keys ridiculing Newcastle fans for supposedly preferring that high scoring draw to what would have likely been (according to Richard Keys!) a ‘scruffy 1-0 win’ if Steve Bruce had been in charge. This claim ‘slightly’ undermined by the FACT that in Bruce’s final 55 Premier League games at Newcastle, he only had a single 1-0 win. Indeed, he had no wins at all in his nine games this season before he got sacked, plus not a single clean sheet in the league this campaign.
Reality is that Newcastle’s strengths are in the attacking half, little wonder when some £125m has been spent since January 2019 on Wilson, Almiron, ASM, Willock and Joelinton, whilst in the defensive half only £20m on Krafth and Lewis, plus Bruce completely sidelining £15m Jamal Lewis who hasn’t started a Premier League game since February.
This is why it was especially embarrassing to see Steve Bruce’s ultra negative tactics used the vast majority of the time, everybody back defending around Newcastle’s penalty area, simply in reality waiting for the opposition to score the first goal.
Another reality is that it wasn’t attacking recklessly that stopped Newcastle from winning last Saturday, instead it was mistakes and bad defending, with Karl Darlow especially having a nightmare, topped off by being badly at fault for the first and third goals.
Paul Merson predicts an easy 3-0 win for Arsenal on Saturday and supports this by saying the Gunners are ‘flat-track bullies’, meaning they struggle against the very best teams but easily beat the sides lower down.
Whilst it is true that Arsenal have lost to Man City, Chelsea and Liverpool, conceding 11 goals in the process and not scoring any. When it comes to playing the teams lower down, it isn’t how Paul Merson is portraying the story of the season, indeed many Arsenal fans have made clear that they think Mikel Arteta has carried a serious amount of luck in picking up the number of points he has.
When you actually look at Arsenal’s results and performances, they lost 2-0 to Brentford, got a 2-2 draw at home to Palace only due to a 95th minute goal. Beat Burnley only 1-0, whilst at home they have needed a second half goal to beat both Watford and Norwich by that same 1-0 scoreline.
None of this means that we can have total expectation that Newcastle will win BUT what it does say is that based on the facts this season, if Eddie Howe’s NUFC can have a decent amount of attacking play and score at least once, they stand every chance of getting a result if also tightening up in defence, with surely a returning Martin Dubravka set to be a massive positive.
Since Steve Bruce was sacked, Newcastle have only lost one of four games and that was to league leaders Chelsea.
The Premier League is so often about small margins and certainly based on what we saw last week against Brentford, it arguably won’t take much to tip the balance into a first win of the season for Newcastle United.
Paul Merson talking to Sportskeeda:
“I would expect Arsenal to get back on the horse against Newcastle.
“They proved that they’re flat-track bullies last weekend.
“They’ve played a game apiece against the top three and they’ve been completely and utterly blown away this season.
“It is a worrying sign but they have been winning games that they are expected to win.
“Newcastle didn’t get a particularly great result against Brentford the other day but they did have a good game.
“Their fans want to see good football from them but I don’t see them troubling Arsenal this weekend.
“Arsenal were on a 10-game unbeaten streak before Liverpool ended their purple patch.
“Newcastle showed signs of improvement against Brentford but will find it difficult to keep Arsenal at bay.
“Prediction: Arsenal 3-0 Newcastle United”
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