Brentford 1-0 Newcastle: Bruce out – Absolutely awful, yet entirely predictable

That was absolutely abysmal, yet anyone who watches Newcastle United regularly won’t be the slightest bit surprised by how bad we’ve played tonight.

Brentford were without several of their star players, below their best and there for the taking, yet an almost full strength NUFC had no answer. No identity, no game plan, no drive and no idea.

The team picked had bags of pace and our top marksman up front, yet we somehow made a Brentford side with wholesale change look a far more fluid and competent side.

We were abysmal and too many individuals performed well below their best, but this one lies at the managers door…again.

Bruce “hoped” we’d have enough before the game and said “let’s have a crack” in his pre-match interview as if we were EFL minnows hoping for a giant-killing at Man City. He talked like a beaten man before a ball was kicked, and that’s how his team played.

On paper it seemed we were taking it seriously and out to win this. In reality we were outmuscled, outworked and outscored by a second tier side playing their second team.

The game itself was a turgid affair and there to be won if either side wanted it.

Wilson may have had a big chance in the early stages and only just missed out on a brilliant Fraser cross, but we were fortunate to be level on the half-hour mark.

Ghoddos hit the bar from a cut-back that beat everyone but him, Pinnock headed over from a corner he had to score from and then headed back across goal from another set piece minutes later – only for Canos to get his angles all wrong and glance wide.

The pitch was awful (anyone remember that fake putting green inside American Golf?!) and the conditions not much better, but our our passing was dreadful – often going long to Wilson or rushing it forward without any controlled possession – and we were defending like a Sunday League side, gifting the hosts a few big chances via a total lack of marking.

We did, however, have a decent end to the half in terms of openings, with Fraser having a stinging shot tipped over and Wilson almost getting in behind after bullying the Brentford back line, but the odd moment where a half chance fell to us was as good as it got.

Going into the second it felt like the game was there for us to win. They weren’t at it and a rare place in a cup semi-final was there for us to grasp. Possession, for once, wasn’t a major issue in the opening stages, but our lack of quality on the ball and one dimensional way of attacking (lump it long to Wilson and hope for the best) was once again painful to watch.

Brentford weren’t at their free-flowing best, yet they didn’t have to do much to create very decent openings – and that was our undoing midway through the second half.

Yedlin hesitated to let Canos get in between him and Hayden, and the Spaniard’s cut-back was driven home by Da Silva. Not for the first time we allowed an easy ball into the box and once again a Brentford player was given far too much space in the box. Schoolboy defending…again.

Bruce’s response to going 0-1 down? Throw on every striker we own, continue lumping it long and hope for the best.

Don Goodman said we were ‘really going for it’ at this point, yet to me we continued to look lacking in ideas and so, so limited in possession.

Bruce doesn’t do tactics – we know that – but his ploy to do nothing other than shove four up top and hang long balls up to Andy Carroll late on was frankly embarrassing for an ‘experienced Premier League manager’ who demands respect.

The full-time whistle went and with that went our hopes of a cup semi-final.

It’s time Mike Ashley came to his senses and realised that Steve Bruce’s luck has well and truly ran out.

Absolutely awful, yet an entirely predictable result and performance.

Bruce out.

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About Olly Hawkins

Olly has been a Junior Magpie from birth. As a season ticket holder and avid Newcastle United fan - he eats, sleeps and breathes all things NUFC.

51 thoughts on “Brentford 1-0 Newcastle: Bruce out – Absolutely awful, yet entirely predictable

  1. if ashley wants to protect his investment and keep asking for 350 million as a premiership side because he will be lucky to get 100 million in the championship he needs to act fast and get rid of the cabbage cause i dont think these players care anymore, looks like he has lost the dressing room only players who want new contracts seem to talk him up


  2. At least one pundit sees what were are seeing. Mick Quinn says Bruce is not good enough. Although the Chronic again called him a LEGEND. That debases true NUFC legends like Keegan, Supermac and Jackie Milburn.

    Mick Quinn played his entire NUFC career in the 2nd division and was pushed out almost immediately on Keegan’s appointment as Manager. I would hardly call that legendary. He was also given a free transfer to 4th division Stockport earlier in his career with his former Manager saying he wasnt good enough for the 3rd division.

    I am OK with Quinn having his say and he probably made the most of the little talent he had, just dont call him a legend. Actually beIlend would be appropriate most of the time.


  3. We better get ready for an unhappy Xmas but still most pundits will be defending Bruce. We have:

    Dec 26 Man City
    Dec 30 Liverpool
    Jan 3 Leicester

    My prediction is 13 goals against and 2 goals for, although I might be high on the 2 goals.

    I am just wondering if this will push most fans over the edge and whether there will be a campaign on Jan 4 like there was with Pards. I suppose he has the pandemic excuse but I am not really sure if he would have chosen a much different team today even with a full squad. Remember there were calls on social media for our best player – St Max – to be dropped even before the covid outbreak. Wraith and his lot on Youtube were pretty much as one for that. They usually are OK but I thought they had collectively lost their minds.


  4. I think we were actually around mid-table when the got into full swing. It was the dire football and frequent hammerings that had NUFC fans finally turn. Ring a bell??? The only reason we have avoided the hammerings is Dubravka and Darlow. That is probably about to change although letting in 5 against Leeds probably counts as we were lucky not to concede 7 or 8.


  5. I won’t watch another NUFC match while Bruce is in charge. I may miss one or two half decent wins – coz the sun shines on a dogs arse now and again. But I’m pretty sure I’ll be less p!ssed off by avoiding the games like the last 2 for example – there’s been obviously, but I don’t have the care anymore to reference them all really.

    I can’t even be bothered to get annoyed by his post match interviews anymore.

    He should be pleased we are still tier 3 coz I think we’d struggle to convince 2000 fans to go back to SJP at the moment.


  6. Sharpy, mate. I might give Man City a miss as well. The way they set up is a perfect storm to crucify a Bruce team:

    * High press, foul when they lose possession. That means we will not get out of our own half.

    * Send players out wide to hit low crosses into the box. Our full backs have probably been our weakest position this season, and that is saying something.

    * 2 clinical strikers when they are on their game in Aguero and Sterling. Darlow’s reflexes better be spider-man like as they like to go for tap ins.

    * Geordie killer in Aguero. He loves to score against us. I dont know the numbers but I think he got 4 one game.

    * De Bruyne to take set pieces. I would probably play Andy Carroll just to defend corners 🙂 We know we are not getting beyond half way so why not.

    This just sets up perfectly for a massacre. Maybe we should save Wilson for the next game. Oh, sh!t, that would be LIverpool and their gegen press!!! How about just give him the whole week off, including Leicester. Brendan plays his version of the high press as well. Perez hattrick anyone 🙂


  7. Stuart: You havent had to live through 2 years of campaigning and the Orange-Man-Baby now losing his mind and talking to conspiracy theorists to try to cause a military coup and overthrow a democratic election. Even you would say that is bad.

    Trump has just pardoned 20 people and none of them are his family YET. They are mainly criminals and this is after uber-criminals like Roger Stone, Gen Flynn with Paul Manifort still to come. They were all connected to Trump’s campaign. If this happened in any other Western country he would be marched out of office.

    And this is just the start. I make no apologies for pointing out the Madness of King Donald because I see it up front every day and whatever you believe it affects the UK.


  8. And Stuart: Trump is a danger to the world so you should take notice. He has the nuclear codes and sucks up to Putin… and so much more which I will not get into here because it is a football site. But, that said, you have politicized and covid-ized this blog as much as anyone so you might want to get off your high horse.


  9. The players are not fit. Longstaff blowing like a whale after only ten minutes. The fact that the players are not physically fit means they are also not mentally alert. What are the coaches doing?


  10. I dont care what formation Bruce says he is putting out for City we all know it will be 9-0-1. Reckon he will play our best defensive players and will be forced into playing some who are “fatigued” in his words. Looks like it is St Max and Manquillo who have covid bad so the team shouldnt be that hard to predict. I reckon he will drop Miggy.


    Krafth Fernandez Clark Dummett

    Hendrick Shelvey Hayden

    Fraser Wilson Ritchie


  11. I have looked at the fixtures and the only really winnable game before February is Sheffield at home. I have watched Arsenal and they are not what they were but they have enough quality to beat us at The Emerates. We actually might be Arteta’s lifeline in the cup and league.

    What happens when we go on this nightmare run? Will Bruce be under pressure? I know he will be from the fans but Ashley/Charnley stuck with Pards, Ugly John and Schteve. Who is available and who would take the job?

    I have seen Eddie Howe mentioned but he got Bournemouth relegated and how does he get on with Fraser and Wilson?

    Bruce has a bad habit of going on death spirals. Covid and the fixtures have conspired against him for the next month or so but morale will be at an all time low come February and I dont think he is the man to turn it around.


  12. Just realised that if we do play a front 3 of Fraser, Wilson, Ritchie they are all ex-Bournemouth. For what that’s worth. Maybe they should advise Bruce on how Howe got the best out of them.


  13. the main problem that affects all the players is central midfield. We have four who all play the same game and none of them ever carry the ball forward. Run with the ball and attack, play with the forwards. Sean could but is told not to’, and stay there all game. Keep to the position I wrote down for you says Bruce.


  14. georgio:
    the main problem that affects all the players is central midfield. We have four who all play the same game and none of them ever carry the ball forward. Run with the ball and attack, play with the forwards. Sean could but is told not to’, and stay there all game. Keep to the position I wrote down for you says Bruce.

    Georgio – you’re right mate. Jose seems to be playing a similar style to Bruce – but with Hojberg & Sissoko holding that midfield & LeCelso getting forward they can do it far more effectively – I don’t think I need to mention Kane & Son 🤷🏼‍♂️.

    I think Hayden is really quality but can’t do it on his own. Shelvey is just Shelvey – I don’t believe any manager could get more out of him. He is a one trick pony & only produces that trick 1 in 10 games.
    Longstaff is awful. He only has a right foot & gets caught on the ball way too often – he contributes little to nothing . Hendrick – well Burnley let him go for nothing – need I say more?!. Play him on the right & he seems to do a bit more – 2 goals & an assist so far from that side. But he’s no central midfielder.

    We allowed Barlaser to leave in the summer & he was the only midfielder we had that could do something different.

    I would push Almiron back into midfield. He is zero threat as a 10, but can run with the ball.


  15. 2 days to Christmas and you look at the news – it’s police fighting with lorry drivers in Dove – or breaking up house party’s in Leicester & London 😡

    Merry Christmas 2020 🖕🏼🖕🏼🖕🏼


  16. SHARPY i stopped watching them ages ago,thought why put myself in a bad mood,but dont think jabba will sack him he doesnt like paying combo
    it will cost him more in the long run or maybe he thinks he wont have the club then???????


  17. icedog:
    SHARPY i stopped watching them ages ago,thought why put myself in a bad mood,but dont think jabba will sack him he doesnt like paying combo
    it will cost him more in the long run or maybe he thinks he wont have the club then???????

    Ice – he’s too busy licking his fat lips at the prospect of buying up fallen high street companies to even notice we are playing I reckon mate.

    The fact there are no fans in the crowds is only benefiting Bruce at the moment I reckon. Ashley will not care about social media criticism – but if there was 45-50k fans making their feels known in televised matches – that could be negative for a sell & he might be more likely to do something then.

    The fact the pundits are asking him about fans wanting him sacked is only a good thing for us though.

    No way the players are playing for him from what I’ve seen in the last 3/4 games like.

    ASM little video message was weird the other day too. I definitely think there’s been a fall out.


  18. I would play Miggy there too. He has the energy, speed and attitude. It would cost a lot to buy someone else.


  19. I thought Chopra had forfitted the right to comment on NUFC after that takeover fiasco.

    The Chronic are putting up more negative articles about Bruce now. There’s supposed to be a meeting. Who will be in it and what will it matter if Ashley is not there?

    The Chronic are also saying that a new manager would need to be assured of a sizable January transfer budget. I am not sure about that. We have the 2 loans available and any manager worth his salt could look at our squad and think he could get more out of them. Dean Smith at Villa got them promoted in the same season as Bruce was sacked.

    There are a few problems with sacking Bruce. You really cannot hand a new manager our fixtures over Xmas and Jan but if you dont he will start with a demoralized squad. It is a catch 22 and we all know how long it takes NUFC hierarchy to make a decision. They waited too long with McClaren and look what happened.


  20. This is going to get really ugly. It has been 4 1/2 years since McClaren was sacked and since then Twitter has exploded. Rafa didnt get any stick and all of the ire was directed at Ashley. Bruce will not be so lucky and twitter seems to be full of anger which is why I am not on it. The papers and some blogs put up feeds and snapshots so I do see some of it.

    Man City have had a few strange results this season but seem to be getting into their stride again. And Liverpool putting 7 past Palace who play a lot like us is ominous.


  21. Simon Bird at The Mail has turned completely now. I have always considered him a decent journalist and I think he may even be a NUFC fan. But he held back, as they all did out of hope that a better squad and with points on the board that we would play a bit more expansive football. They have all realised this will not happen under Bruce. Even Ryder. Jonathan Liew at The Guardian. All that is left is for Bruce’s pundit pals to see the reality and the next stretch of losses may even see that happen.

    But what will it take to get Bruce out? Simon Bird says that fans actually want us to lose. I am not sure if that is true but my opinion is that if we are going to lose anyway we may as well lose by a lot. A total humiliation by City and/or Liverpool may actually get through to Ashley. We have already seen this by Brighton, Southampton and Leeds that wasnt fully reflected in the scorelines. City and Liverpool do not usually stop if they have their foot on your throat.


  22. georgio:
    I would play Miggy there too. He has the energy, speed and attitude. It would cost a lot to buy someone else.

    Georgio – I’d go buy Victor Wanyama. He’s out in Montreal at the moment, so would probably just at the chance to get back to the PL – and he’s still only 29 so has a good 3-4 years as that big strong holding midfielder I think we are missing.

    Him with Hayden to the right and Almiron to the left of him would be a decent 3 man midfield I reckon.

    Then ahead of them, ASM left and Fraser right of Wilson.

    I’d go get Jetro on a free to play LB and give Lewis a chance to learn from him & develop a bit coz he still looks a bit early for it at the moment.


  23. Phillip Billing would be another shout for that holding midfield role alongside Hayden and Almiron – but he looks part of Bmths plans and their promotion push, so may be harder to get/more expensive.


  24. Did getting beat by Brentford save us from an even worse fate. They will now face Man City, Spurs or Manu/Everton.


  25. Eric Sykes:
    Did getting beat by Brentford save us from an even worse fate. They will now face Man City, Spurs or Manu/Everton.

    Eric – I know that’s a tongue in cheek question, but that is going to be the real challenge of any club wanting to win a trophy. You could quite easily replace Brentford with Liverpool or Chelsea in those Semi Finalists because ALL of the top 6 clubs take winning trophies seriously. Particularly the ones who don’t really have much chance of winning the league but can achieve top 4. Wenger (or the Arsenal fans more specifically) has made it that a top 4 finish is not enough for it to be seen as a successful season – but that coupled with an FA or Carabao Cup means the likes of Jose & Ole will really go after them.


  26. I don’t think Bruce picked a bad team last night – I think he took it seriously & on paper that team should have been strong enough to get through.

    The players did not perform well enough. They haven’t for numerous games now – that’s partly on them, but Bruce is not getting the best out of these players.

    He now faces a brick wall of fixtures. He needs to continue picking up points to avoid a relegation battle & should be hoping for at least around 10 points over the next 2 months & looking at the fixtures he’ll do well to get 5 or 6 imo.

    If the other teams struggle through that period as well & don’t pick up points, and we stay out of that battle, then I think Bruce stays safe.
    But if we get pulled into it then I think the heat will crank up on Bruce.

    It’s whether Ashley has learned his lessons though – coz he left it too late bring Shearer in, and then left it too late bringing Rafa in … will he make that same mistake again if Bruce doesn’t turn things around?!.


  27. Sharpy: you have all of the big guns desperate to win the league cup.

    Spurs havent won anything in over 20 years and that was a knock on Pochettino even though they did play good football. Even he lost the dressing room and I think they were like 14th when he was sacked and they have much better players than us.

    Then you have Ole who will want a cup so his friends can validate his continued employment.

    The you have Pep who won it last year but nothing else. That is below his minimum requirement at City but it is something.


  28. I did read an interesting theory that NUFC were so bad at passing and off the ball movement against Brentford because they generally have such low possession they are not sure what to do. You could say the same about Fulham after they went down to 10 men.

    There could be something in this as all they are used to now is the low block. It doesnt totally explain how crap we are though. Bruce does not have a plan or a style of football. If you only have a few chances every game it might be likely you snatch at them. There is no excuse for hitting the 1st man at corners and the Shelvey floater. That should be worked on every day and the ball is stationary and there is no-one pressing you. Also, the overcommittment there leaving us open for a quick break is down to Bruce.


  29. Interesting that most fans have now given up on Bruce. One fan in Olly’s article said what I had said earlier in this thread that with our next 3 to 4 games a new Manager was on a hiding to nothing. They went further though and said if you sack him now you give him and his pundit Pals an out because we are 12th.

    We have to give Bruce the Man City and Liverpool games. He might seal his own fate with them.

    I know Leicester is our bogey team but that is not so much of a forgone conclusion because they have some inconsistency. Look at how they finished last year.

    Then there is Arsenal who have been crap at home.

    I fully expect us to lose all 4 and by probably large margins. But you have to let Bruce prove just how shyte he really is and give a new Manager a fighting chance at the start of his tenure.


  30. Then there is who could we appoint? His couches must go as well so we would have nobody to step in. Stevie G? I am not sure about Eddie Howe either as his relationship might be broken with the 3 ex-Bournemouth players. If an established Manager would not take this on the only one i can think of is Duncan Ferguson.


  31. Dreading the a Christmas schedule for us, cannot see a single point for us tbh.
    The players look lacklustre and incapable of stringing a few passes together, our once assured defense under Rafa looks a distant memory . We may of been a bit boring under Rafa but we were hard to beat .

    Is it the effects of players out with covid and a lack of training ? well it won’t of helped but i fear there is more to our downward curve than that.
    Bruce cannot settle on a formation and i do think there have been words between him and certain players, this doesn’t look a contented team to me and i can see a few transfer request going in come January.


  32. Well I wonder what 2021 has in store for us. Can it get any worse?! Whatever it is I’m sure it will be met with the stoicism we come to expect from the Woke folk.

    I’ve had an idea though to get us on our way to a speedier recovery.

    Keep schools closed for January and turn every school into a vaccination centre. Could even be song the lines of a walk in centre. This can only be done if the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine is approved but we must put every bit of effort and resources we have in the vaccine.

    Merry Christmas one and all.


  33. Stuart79:
    Well I wonder what 2021 has in store for us. Can it get any worse?! Whatever it is I’m sure it will be met with the stoicism we come to expect from the Woke folk.

    all the best to you Stu,surely it cannot be worse than this one
    I’ve had an idea though to get us on our way to a speedier recovery.

    Keep schools closed for January and turn every school into a vaccination centre. Could even be song the lines of a walk in centre. This can only be done if the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine is approved but we must put every bit of effort and resources we have in the vaccine.

    Merry Christmas one and all.


  34. I don’t ever remember a year where Christmas felt less Christmasy than this one.

    I hope you and your families all stay safe & well over Christmas & you manage to enjoy tomorrow whatever your plans 🎅🏻🎅🏻


  35. Yes, lets hope 2021 is better for us all.
    My 10 wishes for Christmas
    1 The world beats Covid
    2 Everyone has the vaccine, it won’t work unless enough have it.
    3 The vaccine works on the new strains
    4 Folk who have lost jobs/homes due to covid see better days
    5 Bruce GTFOOH
    6 Club get took over ( anyone will do at this point )
    7 Our on field displays get more entertaining for us, not just the oppositions fans.
    8 We don’t get relegated
    9 Lewis stays healthy
    10 I finally get a bungalow , third time lucky

    Hope you all get what you wish for and thanks for keeping me sane all year, well mostly sane 🙄
    Merry Christmas one and all.


  36. Ice: I think I might delay this Florida trip. The plane ticket is good until June 2022 and the hotels are refundable. There are some pretty dire warnings about travelling over here. I also realised I have been to Florida 8 times for business or pleasure. The Keys sounded good though.

    Instead I am going to go to Maine in April. Hopefully I will be vaccinated by then. It looks like a posher combination of the NE Coast and West Coast of Ireland. Never been so it will be different.

    This is the first time I have been really worried about putting myself in harms way with Covid. It is the main story on TV news every day and the NUFC outbreak does not help as that gets me thinking about it even when I am trying to distract myself from it. They said the winter would get really bad but the Mad Man in the White House has made sure that came true. He’s still having mass parties and rallies with nobody wearing masks. This after 60 people have caught it in the WH and Congress.


  37. Oh, Merry Christmas.

    I think Covid might give Bruce just enough cover for his Pundit Pals still to back him even, as we all expect, we have a very un-Merry Xmas in terms of NUFC results and performances.

    Some have turned though. Mick “the legend” Quinn. John Gibson, who I thought he was friends with. Even Wor Lee has been uncomplimentary. Same with Simon Bird, so there is a groundswell of BRUCEOUT and journos expressing in print what they may have been feeling in private.


  38. I am actually very surprised that nobody has died in Govt. There are a lot of old white men who are in very stressful jobs and unfit.

    Anyway, I think it is just as bad here as in the UK, although there arent as many restrictions in place. Bars still closed in Chicago. NYC are still letting Brits in (for now) but you have to have a negative Covid test. Canada will not even let Yanks in.

    Going to get even worse before it gets better as most seem to be ignoring the travel warnings and I dont think the full effects of Thanksgiving have hit yet.


  39. I might be overanalysing but here are my predictions for the holidays:

    Man City 4 NUFC 0. Man City are away to Everton after us so they may ease up.

    NUFC 1 Liverpool 4. The Red Bindippers are home to West Brom before us. We actually didnt look too terrible against Liverpool last year but as soon as they brought on their proper forwards they strolled it. I think Klopp will not hold back this time. I might be being generous here as they beat Palace 7-0 away and we play a very similar (non) style.

    NUFC 0 Leicester 3. The Foxes have almost a week off before they face us. We will probably be knackered after chasing Man City and Liverpool around in the previous 2 games. Not to mention Covid.


  40. That’s the hidden negative of Bruce-ball, our players are knackered after chasing every team around for 65% of the game. Not only for the last 20 mins but from game to game. No wonder they are complaining, or are rumoured to be.

    I watched Lee Clark and Steve Howie on Wraith yesterday. They were comparing how they set up under their managers and how Bruce sets up. Their take was the biggest problem was the midfielders dropping back on to the toes of the defenders. This stifles both and causes Darlow to play hoofball. Then of course you have 3 of the opposition defenders on 1 isolated attacker so it comes straight back. I think we have all been saying this all year.

    I am sick of mentioning the 9-0-1 formation. And now we dont even have Miggy or St Max trying to bring it out. It has been hit and hope for the most part with defenders scared of the ball like a current version of Mike Williamson (apart from Clark).

    Didnt we lose the last 5 games last season? We are looking like that team again.


  41. Eric -I’ve watched every game this season and there hasn’t been a good performance yet.

    merry ho ho
    God Jul


  42. It is interesting that City have named their players who have CV-19. No citing medical privacy or anything like that. I think NUFC are the only club to take that stance. I think it says more about secrecy and lack of communication at NUFC than any thought of protecting the players. We knew it would all come out in the end anyway. I said so on here, but it was obvious. There are just too many eyes watching who is in the squad and they publish training photos.

    In the brave new world of twitter you are just going to fuel speculation, gossip and conspiracy so why not nip this in the bud like every other team has done? Yet more evidence that our club is a shambles if you needed anymore after seeing Joelinton.


  43. At least NUFC never came out with any BS that it would tip their hand on team selection if they named names. I was almost sure they would, but at least they are not that stupid.

    The Chronic have turned negative on Steve Bruce now. They have been pretty supportive up until now with only the odd article about possession stats and lack of shots. They couldnt have been listening to any of their readers and certainly werent reading the comments section on their own articles which pretty much called all of their journos clueless.

    I think they are trying now to get ahead of the curve before our next 4 games as there will most likely be a full on mutiny amongst the fans. I think most were taking a wait and see approach as to how the new arrivals would change our approach. I still contend we dont have a bad squad so it must be something else. Covid hasnt helped, but it was going downhill before that.


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