Newcastle 1-2 Leeds: Too little too late as another defeat leaves Bruce ELEVEN without a win

Steve Bruce celebrated his 450th game as a Premier League manager by losing his 200th.

An improved second half display and a deserved goal for Miguel Almiron, but another game without a single point as newly promoted Leeds came away from St James’ Park with a 1-2 win.

The visitors are known as one of the most energetic teams in the league and possibly England so, of course, Bruce elected to start Jeff Hendrick and Jonjo Shelvey in the middle to combat that.

Both teams were considered to be in a “slump” before the game but Newcastle had created a bit of a habit of losing to teams sitting in 12th (and everyone else) and, of course, that’s where Leeds sat in the league before the start of the game.

No team (not even us) had a conceded more on the road than Leeds so this was a match in which Callum Wilson should have been provided with more opportunities.

Attacking wise, Fraser and Almiron supplying Wilson was a lot more appetising than the previous Carroll partnership but it quickly became apparent that Fraser was basically a straight swap for Carroll, with the former Bournemouth winger(!) playing in a No.10 role behind Wilson.

Lewis and Murphy as the full backs also added to the concept of an attacking line-up but a lot of the fear created from the line-up before the match was that it was simply too open.

This was the sort of line-up that allows Bruce and his pundit best friends to claim that the team can’t afford to be attacking because of this and that, whilst completely ignoring the fact that Bruce is deliberately missing out on players who could combat the openness.

The match started off quite fiery with tackles flying and Schar experienced a nasty tackle within the 2nd minute which led to him falling on shoulder. Schar had previously had a nasty injury with his shoulder before, so this was very concerning.

Concern for injuries continued in 9th minute as Hayden went down injured and had to be looked at, but ultimately carried on.

Leeds too had problems as Llorente was forced off to be replaced with Struijk.

Leeds took us apart during the 11th minute with some silky one touch play but Harrison somehow missed a golden opportunity to smash the ball into the net and instead let it skid off his foot.

While Leeds were tearing apart through Newcastle with clever passing and movement, we took to whacking the ball into strange directions in hope that something would happen of note.

The passing led to Leeds opening the scoring in the 16th minute with absolutely awful, open defending started by Murphy losing the ball poorly in the middle of the park. Raphinha was left open just inside the box and comfortably slotted it in the corner. Let it be known that 7 of 10 Leeds outfield players were in the box as we allowed Raphinha all the space and time in the world to score.

The terror stat of just NINE passes in 17 minutes became apparent and we were only afforded 20% of the ball.

We somehow won a corner on the 20th minute and with Leeds known to be weak at defending set pieces, we of course made sure we headed the ball wide for them.

Newcastle’s midfield was clearly struggling as we hit the 25th minute with Hendrick only having three touches. Newcastle also had also made 35 passes to Leeds’ 127, with 19 of those being accurate (Leeds’ managed 109 successful passes).

Shelvey continued to be absolutely pointless in the 31st minute after blazing a ball over the bar from a free-kick in which everyone and their nan knew a goal wasn’t going to come from shooting.

Murphy nearly got in for a ball after a wonderful cross from Fraser (from the wing where he’s used to) but unfortunately missed the ball but whacked the Leeds keeper in the face.

Murphy returned the favour to Fraser on the 38th minute but he blasted it over the bar after latching onto a decent cut back.

The shape of the team had started to change after Leeds’ goal and it seemed as if Murphy had taken to playing on the wing and Hayden at Right Back as we moved to more of a 4-2-3-1 that allowed Fraser to go to the left and Almiron move up to more of a No 10 role.

The intent could be seen too as Schar put in an exciting through ball for Murphy to catch on the 42nd minute but it was cleared for a corner.

Newcastle’s play was described as “off the cuff” in the first half and I think that sort of description tells a million stories. What on Earth is being covered in training? Where is the plan?

Funnily enough, when Newcastle changed to a formation where wingers were playing in the correct position, the attack started to look a lot more potent but the fear of being slice open still remained due to an utterly static centre-midfield. Shelvey and Hendrick had made a grand total of 0 tackles whilst Kalvin Phillips had managed 3 by himself.

As much as it could be claimed that Newcastle were pushing forward for a goal, this was the EIGHTH time in twenty games this season that we had failed to have a shot on target in the first half and 225 minutes of football since one.

Though there were no changes to personal at second half, Almiron seemed to move up front with Wilson meaning we were playing a more 4-4-1-1 formation.

There was a scare in the 48th minute as Leeds scored a freak goal which was quickly ruled out for a handball. It was an early warning sign that Leeds weren’t going to sit back and protect their 1-0 lead however.

Our first shot on target was a tame Almiron effort five minutes later, but we soon went one better.

A goal?! On the 56th minute we actually scored a goal! Excellent pressing and passing actually happened by players in black and white resulting in a goal! Almiron was the on the end of a wonderful piece of movement from Shelvey and Wilson which resulted with him seemingly having all the time in the world to whack the ball into the back of the net to equalise the score.

Leeds very quickly took the lead again in the 61st minute with poor defending meaning that Jack Harrison was left by himself in the box so he could set himself and casually swing the ball into the bottom corner.

Newcastle kept pressing with Shelvey and then Schar attempting mazy runs through the Leeds defence resulting in Murphy just missing the goal with a cracking shot from outside the box.

Saint-Maximin was thrown on for Murphy on the 64th minute and, to be fair, it seemed like a good time to try and take advantage of the leaky Leeds defence.

Lewis caught the top of the bar in 65th minute after being set up brilliantly by the magical Saint-Maximin. Newcastle’s performance was starting to improve.

Lascelles was the next to hit the bar after heading a corner, with help from a defender, on the 66th minute. The Newcastle attack was pressing but the gap behind was growing and the fear of being caught on the break was a real one.

As the commentators mention on the 74th minute, if Newcastle were able to put in a performance like this in all the other games we’ve played then we’d be in a much better position in the league.

Shelvey nearly scored with a free header from a Fraser corner in 75th minute but it was well saved. Another big chance missed from a corner.

In the 76th minute, Bruce decided to take one of our best players, Fraser, off for Dwight Gayle. He hadn’t played a full match for a long time so there was some logic but the fear of being unbalanced again was a legitimate concern.

Schar was clearly on one again and ran through the whole Leeds team to force a save in the 80th minute.

A coming together with Schar and Rodrigo in the 85th minute led to Schar having to get fixed up with a bleeding mouth. Both players received a yellow card after the fiery Swiss centre-back put his head towards the Spaniard.

The chances started to dry up towards the end and we ran out of steam, allowing Leeds to sail through added time and come away with a 2-1 win.

The game started off like so many of our matches, with the first half being absolutely woeful but the second half hinted and showed you what our team could be if released to their full potential, but it was too little too late.

I’m not really sure what this result tells us about what’s going to happen going forward now. Ultimately, it’s another loss but the more energetic performance in the second half could be something that encourages the hierarchy to stick by their man.

One swallow doesn’t make a summer, however, and it has to be wondered whether the players were simply trying to show that they’re better than what they’ve been described as. There’s good players in this squad and, if they’re utilised properly, we could have a dangerous team worthy of a lot more than what we’ve forced to watch recently.

Next up, the small task of Everton at Goodison Park on Saturday lunchtime.

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125 thoughts on “Newcastle 1-2 Leeds: Too little too late as another defeat leaves Bruce ELEVEN without a win

  1. Quotes in The Chronic today from Simon Jordan saying Bruce is done. He goes on to say he doesnt care either way and doesnt care about NUFC full stop. Then why the fck do you keep talking about us then? Yours is probably one of the most heard voices about NUFC. You and Danny Mills.

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  2. They show replays of every PL game in the US so I watched Everton. What a howler from Pickford. Southgate was watching on as well. I dont know why Carlo sticks with him. In the moves leading up the goal T-Rex was all over the place as well. It is not just that he is a mistake waiting to happen it is the way he treats his teammates like everything is their fault. I really think he is the worst goalie in the PL, even beating out Fabianski.

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  3. What about Wilson then? I’ve been very impressed but I’m now starting to wonder. I stand to be corrected but I can’t remember him having a shot yet – 20 games in. A CF who never gets a shot away?

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  4. Georgio, to be fair he’s not had much in the way of service really. He has 4 pens 3 or 4 from open play and a few assists so not too shabby. Yeah he should get a few more but he needs service.

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  5. Hendrick has been talking to NUFC-TV and apparently he thought he had a good game on Tuesday. No wonder we are so shyte if that’s what passes as a good game.

    Wilson was streaky at Bournemouth as well. Hopefully he gets better service soon. You just have to look at our stats except 2nd half Leeds to know he has been isolated. However, he has had a couple of headers he should have done a lot better with and that would have helped him and us in this mutual slump. Cant be relying on just 1 player though as we certainly will go down.

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  6. I would lock this new coach in the video room and force him to watch every one of our games. I know it would be painful, but he has to see where we are and not just on the training pitch. I can explain what he will see – that as soon as we come under any pressure we revert to 9-0-1 and Bruce even starts a lot of games that way which cannot give any player any confidence.

    Then there is the preferred option of a backpass to Darlow that puts him under pressure and he has to hoof it, often badly. Of course there is the less the 40% possession but also the inability to hit a 10 yard pass. You have a lot on your plate Mr. Jones. Dont worry though Bruce is there to help you clean it especially if it has Greggs’ steak bakes, bacon sarnies and probably donuts. Hmmm donuts!!! What was that Homer Bruce?

    Maybe he can figure out how to use Shelvey? And Hendrick? And Lewis? And Matty Longstaff? The question is are they just bad or are they being used badly?

    As I have said before, I hope Sean gets a loan. Maybe he can live in Ritchie’s house in Bournemouth like Andy Carroll did with Nolan in Ponteland? Did they ever catch the people who burnt Carroll’ silver Range Rover when it was in Nolan’s driveway?

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  7. Article on Rob Lee and Lingard looks too late. He is talking to West Ham and the sticking point is the loan fee which is apparently 1.5 million. I am sure they will reach an agreement.

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  8. Eric Sykes:
    Article on Rob Lee and Lingard looks too late. He is talking to West Ham and the sticking point is the loan fee which is apparently 1.5 million. I am sure they will reach an agreement.

    Eric – Rob Lee knows his stuff mate 😉😂.

    We would be so foolish to not get Lingard at a cost of £1.5m. I know ultimately it’s his decision if he came or not, but he would make a difference in our relegation battle & would get game time for us.

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  9. Olly: I can make an educated guess at what the dispute is between Sean Longstaff and Bruce. I do not think it is about wastes of space like Hendrick playing ahead of him or even jealousy about his brother. I think it is about Bruce using him as a defensive midfielder. I think he has been responsible for 2 goals with his dawdling in and around our box. I think Sean thinks he is an attacking mid slash number 10. He is probably right as he has looked shyte in the Bruce system.

    However, we cannot afford to risk letting Sean Longstaff rediscover/discover form in our situation and we cannot be pandering to any one player even though we all know Bruce does not know what he is doing. Anyway, even if Sean started as a 10 you know for a fact that as soon as we came under any pressure he would be on the edge of box where he has proved to be a liability.

    For his own sake, he needs a loan. He is also not valuable/proven enough to be starting arguments with the Manager, whatever he thinks of the Manager’s decisions or ability.

    He also got that fancy super agent who is probably filling his head with notions that he is better than he is at this point in his career. He has not shown anything for 18 months at NUFC. If we could get 3 million for him I would sell him as long as we had a 25% sell on clause.

    Bruce Out
    Longstaff Out

    I would like to be proved wrong but doubt I will be.

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  10. Sharpy: you need to give up on Lingard 🙂 Yes, he is better than what we have if he replaces Sean, Shelvey or Hendrick. I do fear he could be another one of these Man U players who prove they only worked in a Fergie team. Nicky Butt, Darren Gibson, Tom Cleverly. All internationals like Lingard.

    I would really like to see what he does without his entourage/instagram. He needs to get away from Pogba as well for the sake of his career. I think he is probably a bad influence. He should be more mature at age 28.

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  11. Eric Sykes:
    Sharpy: you need to give up on Lingard 🙂 Yes, he is better than what we have if he replaces Sean, Shelvey or Hendrick. I do fear he could be another one of these Man U players who prove they only worked in a Fergie team. Nicky Butt, Darren Gibson, Tom Cleverly. All internationals like Lingard.

    I would really like to see what he does without his entourage/instagram. He needs to get away from Pogba as well for the sake of his career. I think he is probably a bad influence. He should be more mature at age 28.

    Eric – if he was a bad influence he’d have been out the door ages ago mate. He wouldn’t replace your 3 he’d be in ahead of Joelinton, Ritchie and Murphy for me – he’s a player that plays off the striker, not central midfield.
    I hear what you’re saying about it being a bit of a risk and he may turn out to be the next Danny Welbeck – but for £1.5m is it that big a risk?!.

    Who else is available to loan as a forward who could make the difference or is better than we have?.

    I think it’s a minimal risk £1.5m mate – and if he’s **** we send him back. Can’t be any worse than Kenedy 😂

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  12. Sharpy: I dont think Lingard is a bad influence. I think he has an entourage who are bad for HIM. Plus he sees Pogba and all that social media crap and thinks he can be the English version.

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  13. Would any other club tolerate 2 points from 27? If that was Mr Roy at Palace would he still be there? Maybe Sheffield Utd because they came up from League 1. I even think Ole would be gone with that record. And what if we lose on Saturday? That will be 2 from 30. Would even Big Fat Sam survive that? No way would Potter at Brighton or Parker at Fulham.

    How is Bruce still here? Someone must have the balls to take this job. We have a decent squad. Why wouldnt Stevie G want it? There must be some ambitious Portuguese who would want it.

    You could look at our players and say, I could keep them up and then there would likely be a takeover. If you think like that why not Lucien Favre?

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  14. Has anybody in the history of football ever survived with 2 points from 30? I think Mcclaren got like 3 or 5 in his 1st 10 games. Ugly John had a run like that. I think that is the point. It doesnt happen anywhere else, only at Ashley’s NUFC and this is at least the 3rd time because Rafa also went on a terrible run but he was too expensive to sack.

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  15. Eric Sykes:
    Sharpy: I dont think Lingard is a bad influence. I think he has an entourage who are bad for HIM. Plus he sees Pogba and all that social media crap and thinks he can be the English version.

    Eric – well it’s all irrelevant now anyway coz he’s joined WH. Missed a trick there imo but let’s see how he gets on.

    I just think it’s mad when Bruce knows Joe offers nothing, Ritchie has a foot out the door & he doesn’t play Gayle.

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  16. kimtoon: Is that permanent Ice ?

    Kimtoon: Liam Kennedy of the Shields Gazette was saying yesterday on Wriath’s show that Graeme Jones is Carr’s guy. The Fat Man must still be foaming about Joelinton and maybe even Lewis.

    Mick Lowes who used to do the radio commentary said Joe is the worst buy in the history of football. That is going over the top a bit, it is Kepa at Chelsea, Joe is only second.

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  17. Sharpy: I would have taken Lingard. The risk/reward was much better with him than with Wilshere. I wish Jesse luck in London, it is not like there is much to get him into trouble like clubs, free loaders, girls looking for a ticket to fame in the tabloids. Nah, nothing like that.

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  18. You know what will be the next thing that could bite Bruce on the arse? His comment about not having been able to put out his best team. We have Clark and Dummett back in training and ASM and Fraser with game time. If we do not get a result at Everton this will be yet another foot-in-mouth moment as if there havent been enough already. I am assuming that Bruce thinks Shelvey would be in his best team, same with Lascelles. He could therefore start this team:

    Darlow

    Manquillo Lascelles Clark Dummett

    Shelvey Hayden

    Fraser Miggy St Max

    Wilson

    I think perhaps Manquillo might be a stretch but I am sure that the rest are Bruce’s best team. And very close to mine as well. He has said he hasnt been able to play his best players (lie) but if we lose to Everton his world should come crashing down.

    Everton are overrated in my opinion anyway.

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  19. By The Way – which manager gets to play his best team all of the time? Look at Liverpool. They have Van Dijk among others out and are playing midfielders at centre back. Bruce is such a wuss.

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  20. I’m starting to get p1ssed off with the TV channels. Why do they put us on early in the weekend? It just ruins the weekend. I expect we will go with a flat back 8 again and get hammered about 3-0.

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  21. So Jones gets a full 8 minutes on NUTV. Has Bruce been stood down? Responsible only for media duties? He’s certainly (useless) unhappy about something. Jones is Carr’s choice for new (and very cheap) manager. We’ll see.

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  22. Bruce saying it may be too early for Clark and Dummett bit who knows, he lies all of the time. Assessing them in training today he says.

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  23. I dont know how Bruce can keep a straight face when he talks. He equates Everton’s “bad run” earlier in the year with what is happening with NUFC. We are not having a bad run, we are having a bad season. We have the points we have through mostly good luck and can count the decent games we have had on the fingers of one hand (not inc thumb). Bruce seems to think a decent half is a turnaround and cause for celebration. We still lost Fat Boy and Leeds had as many chances as us in the second half.

    Then there are the stats. No wins in 11, the goalless minutes played, the number of goals, the possession, the shots on target. We all know what they are, but even more they translate to boring and attritional football that has fans saying they refuse to watch. But it is NUFC so we watch anyway through our fingers with clenched teeth (and sphincter in most games).

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  24. And who is writing Bruce these “encouraging” letters he supposedly has? I got a copy of a couple of them:

    “Hi Steve, just want to commend you on the great job you are doing. Sincerely, Steve Agnew”.

    “Whatsupppp Stevereno, banging job you did second half on Tuesday. Taking off Fraser was genius. Am I still Assistant Head Coach? Following you around from job to to job foe 12 years like a puppy, love, Steve Clemence”.

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  25. Why did Bruce feel it necessary to tell the media he had received messages of support from fans. We all know he has lost all credibility with fans and any letters he got were probably jokes, tongue in cheek or from Mackems. I would like to see them. And if everything is hunky dory and this is just a bad run then why ban print journalists from the press conference. And do we really believe they talked about extra help a few months ago? I bet he fought it tooth and nail until it was foisted upon him as Old Man Carr slowly got back in the picture. A couple of months ago we had not gone on a run of 2 points from 27 so he was in a healthier position to object even though most predicted we would sink like a stone. I think my guess was 4 or 5 points from the last 9 games. Sharpy thought we would get that by the end of Feb I think 🙂

    He loves to dig his own grave. Now we will have lettergate on top of him saying things will pick up now he can do it his way, has his team. Banning the print press will not make them your friends Steve. And does anybody really think he wanted Graeme Jones?

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  26. If I could post a picture on here it would be that one of Neville Chamberlain on the steps of the plane with a letter from Hitler and having Steve Bruce’s cabbage heed photoshopped on it.

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  27. I’d be shocked if these people writing letters to Bruce haven’t already been found and returned to their institute.

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  28. so Williams hasnt played enough, yet he wanted Linguard who has played twice this season,the mans a joke

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  29. More letters to Brucie have been leaked:

    “Doing a great job, son” Your Mam

    “Chin up” Alex Bruce

    “2 points from 27 is not a sackable run. Those Geordies are delusional. Apart from you, your press conferences always make perfect sense” Danny Mills

    “You played me when no sane Manager would have, thanks Boss” Joelinton

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  30. icedog: house move any closer mate??

    Not really mate, still trying to sort the drain issues at the bungalow and my buyers survey on my house is a bit crap, suspect he’s gonna want me to drop a fair bit. Trouble is i can’t even begin to negotiate with him because i have no costings on drains yet at the bungalow.
    Praying the Government extend the stamp duty holiday on monday when they debate it in parliament as it would massively help me.

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  31. Willems hasn’t played enough says Bruce. What does he think – blokes been injured. Besides Lewis has already played too much.

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  32. kimtoon: Not really mate, still trying to sort the drain issues at the bungalow and my buyers survey on my house is a bit crap, suspect he’s gonna want me to drop a fair bit. Trouble is i can’t even begin to negotiate with him because i have no costings on drains yet at the bungalow.
    Praying the Government extend the stamp duty holiday on monday when they debate it in parliament as it would massively help me.

    will keep my fingers crossed for you,new year hopefully new house

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  33. I shouldn’t be surprised but I am a little but even for the mafia state that is the EU for them to ban the export of life saving vaccines to Northern Ireland after it invoked article 16 in the Northern Ireland protocol. I’m pretty sure even Kim can’t stick up for them.

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  34. Effectively they’ve put up a border on the island of Ireland. They’ve been telling us for five years that the most important thing in the whole process of Brexit was not having a border. Now they have done it!

    Jeez they’re making Euroscepticism easy.

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  35. icedog:
    so Williams hasnt played enough, yet he wanted Linguard who has played twice this season,the mans a joke

    Ice – he’s a bloody idiot mate. Williems was one of his best performers before he got injured last season.

    The only thing I hope is they are trying to get him free. He has a club paying his wages & we take him now & we pay a loan fee. But if his current club think they have to keep him they may well release him & save on his wages – then we pick him up free.

    I may be giving them too much credit there, but I hope it’s not a deal dead in the water.

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  36. Do you think Graeme Jones will be on the sideline on Saturday? How many Steves will there be?

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