Inept. Unorganised. Embarrassing.
Newcastle United 0-0 Brighton
20 years ago this week some of us were lucky enough to watch a Tino Asprilla inspired Newcastle United humble the mighty Barcelona at St James Park. That very season Brighton & Hove Albion finished 23rd, second bottom, of the Third Division. The bottom tier of the 4 divisions of English football.
Roll forward to today and you’d think, watching these two teams, that Barca had turned up in a Brighton kit and Newcastle had dragged 11 lads wearing replica kits from Leazes Park and invited them for a kick-about.
No one will really be sure how Brighton didn’t win this one. They certainly deserved to win it with 71% possession and 50% more shots than United. Newcastle a disorganised shambles, camped in their own third for most of the game, devoid of ideas and at times chasing shadows.
Only Dubravka, Schar and substitute Saint-Maximin had anything to shout about in terms of performance, although it’s hard to criticise the players when they’d been prepared all week in that formation, with those tactics and that mentality.
At one point Hayden was even heard talking to Bruce on the touch line, saying ‘this isn’t working’.
A lowest possession by any team in the league in fact, in front of the lowest league crowd at St James Park for almost 10 years.
I’m afraid there is nothing positive to take from this one but for the point.
Starting the game in the bottom three, a home fixture against a similarly struggling Brighton side seemed the ideal opportunity to put some much needed points on the board with fixtures against Leicester, Manchester United and Chelsea following hot on the heels of this one.
Instead, United fans, players and staff will all be extremely worried that the rot really has set into what is going to prove a very long and painful season.