Alan Shearer has called out a few individuals on Match of the Day, but the problem during Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Norwich was Steve Bruce’s tactics – simple.
Alan Shearer called out Joelinton, Saint-Maximin and Almiron on Match of the Day. He made a few good points, but it’s a cop out to suggest they are the big problem here when we set up SO negatively at home against the league’s poorest side.
We are sitting comfortably above the drop zone and at home to the side currently bottom of the Premier League, making this the perfect game for us to get on the front foot and make things happen, but we didn’t.
We sat deep and showed no interest in committing bodies forward, with Bruce’s post-match comments (saying “we didn’t get beat”) summing up his negative approach.
We have players in our club to be a decent footballing side. We have ball-playing centre-halves in Lejuene, Fernandez and Schar, wing-backs like Rose, Ritchie and Lazaro who are comfortable on the ball and capable of getting forward – yet Ritchie was rarely allowed to get into the opposition half on Saturday, leaving Saint-Maximin to do it all on his own.
Midfield players like Shelvey, the Longstaff brothers and Bentaleb can play a pass and keep possession well – but they’re too deep and set to protect a ‘5-man defence’, not get forward and support our isolated striker.
Going forward, Saint-Maximin and Almiron have pace to burn and love to drive forward – so it baffles me why we consistently play awful, hoofball and negative football that comes across as “Let’s just sit back and hope for a lucky roll of the dice.”
We may be sitting 12th in the table (we were somehow in the top 10 after Saturdays’ draw!) and 7 points clear of the drop zone, but that says more about the current state of the Premier League than anything else – think how bad the likes of Bournemouth and West Ham must be!
Without Martin Dubravka’s performances, some decent fighting spirit and a HUGE dose of luck we would be sitting in that bottom 3 alongside Norwich – and that’s a fact.