Gabby Agbonlahor has put his nomination in for most shameless pundit, with his brilliantly mindless take on the Newcastle situation.
According to the former Aston Villa striker, “Pep Guardiola couldn’t get any more out of these Newcastle players”. Yes, honestly. He said that.
He claims that Bruce “needs his players to deliver” and that’s that. For him, it isn’t a case of Steve Bruce being poor with tactical decisions or consistently a bad manager, no, Newcastle are bad because our players are not delivering…
This of course goes against what Bruce has said in the past when stumbling through his list of excuses because apparently his players have put in lots of effort in the past and that they were “buying in” to what Bruce wanted to do.
As statistically proven by Jamie Carragher on Monday, Rafa Benitez got “more out” of a worse version of this squad, so is Rafa Benitez a better manager than Pep Guardiola? If Benitez is a better manager than Guardiola like your logic dictates, then doesn’t that mean Newcastle fans should be rightly upset that we have settled for a manager worse than both Guardiola and Benitez? Why have you criticised Benitez in such a fashion in the past when you believe him to better than Guardiola? In your bizarre rationale of manager ratings, where does Steve Bruce rank and why?
This statement makes no sense because it assumes that every single thing that is bad is down to the players alone and, if that is the case, why are we bothering with managers at all?
Agbonlahor then goes into great detail about why Bruce is good and the players are bad because… well… because “He played 4-4-2”… that’s it. That is his defence of Bruce and attack on the players. Bruce played 4-4-2 which is “an attacking formation” and therefore it’s the players fault we lost. Oh what a simple, magical world to live in.
“With Steve Bruce, he needs his players to deliver.
“Pep Guardiola couldn’t get any more out of these Newcastle players because they’re not showing good performances.
“He played 4-4-2 against Arsenal, I didn’t see Joelinton turn up. He was like a ghost player, he didn’t do anything, he didn’t take anyone on, he didn’t involve anyone else in the game.
“Callum Wilson was quiet. Carroll was quiet. Miguel Almiron did a couple of things but was quiet.
“He’s playing the formation of an attacking team but he’s not putting in the performances for him.
“I do feel for Steve Bruce and if you asked himself he’d say ‘I’m doing my best with this group of players and some of them just aren’t performing.’”
If Agbonlahor bothered to pay any real attention then he might have spotted that this brilliant 4-4-2 team had a few managerial inflicted problems in it:
- Our wingers were Joelinton and Almiron. Two players who have proven that they play better in their actual positions.
- Even if Joelinton and Almiron were natural 4-4-2 wingers, they are completely different in style and pace, therefore unbalancing the team.
- Our right back and left back also unbalanced the team as Krafth is slow and more of natural defensive player and Lewis is quick and more of an attacking left wing back.
- Shelvey and Matty Longstaff have no chemistry together in the middle of the park.
- There was no link or clear idea in which the two strikers could be brought into the game.
- When Bruce brought on a player that could bring the strikers into the game, he did so by taking one of the strikers off who would have benefitted from the player replacing him (Murphy for Carroll).
These five points, and I’m sure there are more, highlight that it isn’t really as simple as shrugging and saying that we played a certain formation.
There seemed to be a bit of realisation from the media recently after the Sheffield United game, but it seems like Steve’s been on the phone to a few of his mates and asked for some backup.