Updated: Feb 29
Crystal Palace 1-0 Newcastle United
Another abysmal performance from Steve Bruce’s men, this time away at Crystal Palace, can only add to the increasingly deafening sound of alarm bells at Newcastle United.
Just 1 win in 9 league games has seen the rhetoric around the ‘great job’ that Bruce is supposedly doing evaporate. For those who watch the Magpies week-in / week-out there is little surprise that we are here. For those in the press who continued to tell the fans who’d boycotted St James Park this season that ‘they should be grateful to have Bruce’ and that he has better stats than Rafa, things don’t seem to be quite adding up anymore!
For this game was yet another example of the shambles that is now Newcastle United, both on and off the pitch. A heartless and rudderless ship that bobs along with it’s Commander in Chief safely tucked away in his ivory tower in London, leaving all else to put their fingers in the increasing number of holes that are letting in water and sinking this great club.
7 months. That is how long Steve Bruce has been in charge. That time includes two transfer windows and this game saw half of the outfield players being his signings. Yet how often do we hear that the team ‘cannot play another way’.
I have nothing against Steve, he seems like a good honest man. Someone who genuinely cares fro this club. But nothing I have seen to this point tells me he has the nouse on or off the pitch to be in the job long terms.
Against a struggling Palace side, a side who started the game below United, Newcastle were second best for long spells. The insistence to stick with this formation, even after a winter break that afforded him the time to think and act, has further risked the Magpies future in this league.
A first half free kick just before the break the very least the the home side deserved going in at half time. Indeed Palace could and should have been out of sight by then. 27 shots for the home side, 10 for Newcastle tells its own story. And but for a late onslaught in desperation (again) the stats would have been worse.
During this late charge United even managed to expose themselves so far at the back that a break from Zaha was only ever going to end with Lazaro dragging him down and seeing a straight red.
Bruce’s men offered little going forward as usual, Joelinton with just two touches in the Palace box all game once again illustrating just how poor this team are. But I, for one, don’t believe this is the very best brand and effectiveness of football that these players are capable of.
We now have to wait to see if, with those behind us in relegation peril closing in, Steve Bruce can conjure up something different as he suggested he would in his post match press conference.
STARTING XI: Dubravka, Lazaro, Fernandez, Lascelles, Schar, Rose (Ritchie, 71), Almiron (Gayle, 71), S Longstaff, Bentaleb, Saint-Maximin, Joelinton
Full match report to follow…