Saturday night ended Manchester City 2 Newcastle 0.
Ahead of each match we ask one of our writers to come up with 3 positives and 3 negatives following the game.
This time it is Paul Patterson.
Well I have to say I’m pleasantly surprised.
Or at least as pleasantly surprised as someone can be at losing a game of football 2-0 that we were always going to lose before a ball was kicked.
I often find positives hard to glean from any defeat but away at the Etihad? Here goes:
We kept the score down
Ok, it’s a false positive, but those are the circumstances we face.
Put simply, you expect to get battered here more often than not and we didn’t. I’m not about to praise the Head Coach for avoiding a hammering but it’s better for everyone connected with the club that we don’t get embarrassed on television, even though we should be used to it.
Chasing shadows for 90 minutes against City is nothing new for this club and partially understandable as going toe to toe would end up very messy indeed.
Doing the same against Fulham and Brentford, the former with ten men and the latter a Championship side, is far less forgivable and is where I get annoyed with the manager’s negativity and lack of tactics.
The continued form of Karl Darlow
Put simply, without this lad we would be in deep clarts.
The fact that the bottom clubs aren’t riding up on the rails behind us is saving our skins and it’s more to do with those clubs being poor than us surviving on merit.
In Karl Darlow we have a brilliant goalkeeper and in Martin Dubravka we have a great player ready to come in if needed. It would be nice if they got a little relief from the team. That’s now up to the manager.
We haven’t dropped many places . . Yet!
Leeds have leapfrogged us with their win over Burnley on Sunday and depending what Arsenal do on Tuesday against Brighton, we will drop further, but the positive is that there is still a cushion between us and the bottom teams.
The trouble is we’re languishing, stagnating and any buffer that is there, WILL evaporate through time. Any prolonged period of failure to pick up points will be a massive worry.
I still think we will survive but this slide could be alarming if not halted quickly.
Treatment of Matty Longstaff and Isaac Hayden
Why in the hell did Matty start this game from out of nowhere?
He hasn’t been seen on a pitch for nearly two months (Southampton away) and now he’s expected to come in and play, away from home, against a team like Manchester City, and do what exactly?
The only possible thing I can come up with is he was played to get some minutes of football and that his performance didn’t matter. You simply don’t play a young player who is lacking fitness (and experience) against a side like City for any other reason.
Not a disaster if his replacement has a good game next time out. The Champions Liverpool? Good luck with that.
As for Hayden, he needs a rest and then brought back for a more profitable game. I’ve got no answer to who would play instead but I would have used Sean Longstaff again last night despite his poor form and kept Hayden in reserve for Liverpool/Leicester.
Our midfield is a major problem and it still doesn’t look like Bruce is getting it right.
Coming up next..
There’s no skirting the issue, a defeat is a defeat.
We have Liverpool and Leicester coming up and with Arsenal looking like turning over a new leaf we are going to start dropping places. That’s never good in the long run and as soon as confidence is shot and a club gets into a rut, it’s very hard to stop the slide.
There’s a game coming up on January 12th against Sheffield United away and if we don’t pick up a win, alarm bells shouldn’t just be ringing, they should be causing sonic boom-like noises to even the most staunch Bruce apologist.
We currently have one point from a possible nine in the last three PL games (as well as defeat in the League Cup at Brentford), if it were to continue and we pick up onw point from a possible 15 by the time that Sheffield game comes around, then that’s relegation form as we plough into January. Be afraid.
More Bruce excuses
From “That’s what the Premier League is” to “We don’t want to make excuses but . .” they keep coming.
To go with those two from last night we also heard “We gave it (the ball) away too cheaply” which is another often trotted out line throughout Bruce’s time at the club.
You would think that in the 17 months he’s been here those “cheap” mistakes and “excuses” he doesn’t want to make, would become less frequent, but they don’t.
The progress that “won’t happen overnight” and the “slow process” he keeps bleating on about, is indeed the most irritating part of all. There is no pattern to our play and no discernible change in attitude or style, no matter which side from which division we play against.
When the Head Coach comes out with “My remit is to keep Newcastle in the Premier League” you know that ambition and that progress he keeps talking about is well and truly off the menu.
To add in that he blasted the “Hysteria” that followed the defeat to Brentford (and failure to beat Fulham) in his pre-match interview on BT Sport, then he really doesn’t get it. Once again, he’s a Championship standard manager and proving it week by week.
The pundits may mockingly ask “What do Newcastle fans want?” The answer is emphatically- “NOT THIS!”
Regardless of what transpires in the coming weeks, may I take this opportunity to wish everybody involved with The Mag (friend or foe) a more positive and prosperous 2021. Lord knows we need it and with economic uncertainty in the face of the pandemic, the health of all of you is more important than the prospects of failing multi-millionaires.
We all wish for a better Newcastle United and that means major changes in future. New manager? Obviously. New ownership? Definitely!
Look after yourselves and have a happy new year.
Stats from BBC Sport:
Manchester City 2 Newcastle 0 – Saturday 26 December 2020 8pm
Gundogan 14, Torres 55
Possession was Man City 76% Newcastle 24%
Total shots were Man City 11 Newcastle 7
Shots on target were Man City 6 Newcastle 2
Corners were Man City 7 Newcastle 3
Referee: Andre Marriner
Darlow, Yedlin, Fernandez, Schar, Clark, Ritchie (Lewis 66), M Longstaff, Hayden, Murphy, Almiron (Gayle 82), Joelinton (Carroll 71)
Gillespie, Wilson, Krafth, Manquillo, Elliot Anderson, Sean Longstaff
(Pep Guardiola has had his say about beating Newcastle United – Steve Bruce loving it… – Read HERE)
(Alan Shearer puts Steve Bruce right after Head Coach accuses Newcastle fans of ‘Histrionics’ – Read HERE)
(BBC Sport comments from neutrals about Steve Bruce and Newcastle after Man City – Says it all – Read HERE)
(Manchester City 2 Newcastle 0 – Match ratings and comments on all the NUFC players – Read HERE)
(Steve Bruce confirms Mike Ashley Newcastle United plan – Read HERE)
(Manchester City star after stroll v Newcastle “Did it quite well and could have scored more” – Read HERE)
(Manchester City 2 Newcastle 0 – Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Saturday night defeat – Read HERE)