“Pub team manager”, “shambles”- These Newcastle fans put blame for defeat on one man

It was a game that meant a lot more to them than it did to us given their circumstances.

Unless of course you think there’s a very long shot that we might be able to sneak a European place, but in reality we’re just going through the motions at this point, perhaps with an eye on next season.

The Mags fell 2-1 to Watford this afternoon, after Dwight Gayle had given us the lead in the first half, two penalties from Troy Deeney condemned us to our second defeat in a row and third overall since the restart of the Premier League.

Will Bruce be in charge next season?





And whilst I may not be overly concerned with the result, the same cannot be said for other Newcastle United fans when the final whistle went, where there was a lot more animosity that the fans wanted to get off their chest, with boss Steve Bruce coming in for the lion’s share of the blame.

What about you? What did you make of that result?

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Opinion: Time’s ticking for goal-shy Newcastle man, drastic change needed

You know your time could well be up when three strikers, one of whom has chronic injury issues and is yet to score, are ahead of you in the pecking order.

That is the dilemma currently facing Yoshinori Muto. The Japanese forward made a rare cameo on Wednesday evening, adding seven minutes to his total of 208 in the Premier League this season, while possibly reminding some Newcastle fans of his existence in the squad.

It was the Japanese international’s first appearance since January, and he has utterly fallen out of favour under Steve Bruce, with two-goal Joelinton accumulating over 12 times the number of Premier League minutes this term. Even with Andy Carroll’s relentless injury absences, which have caused him to miss more than 95 days of action and Dwight Gayle only making his first start on Boxing Day, Muto was still overlooked.

Worse yet for the 27-year-old, both Gayle and Carroll have begun to find form since the restart, with the former opening his account, scoring twice, while the England international has become the Toon’s leading assist provider with four. Muto cannot catch a break in the northeast, and it is easy to see why with the striker taking on a pitiful 0.1 shots per match this season. Even on the rare occasions where the former Mainz striker has started, Muto’s failed to exert any notable influence on proceedings.

Bruce has promised to rotate his side, meaning Muto could be offered an opportunity to show what he is capable of in the last four Premier League matches. However, having scored once in his 25 Premier League appearances, without providing a single assist, highlights just how ineffective he has been since arriving from the Bundesliga.

With Carroll, Joelinton and Gayle, who Newcastle reportedly considered selling in January, all in starting contention ahead of Muto, his route back into the Magpies’ starting eleven appears to have reached an impasse.

When he does feature, no one can fault his determination to recapture possession, or his reliability on the ball, with an 84.4 per cent pass accuracy, but a striker who does not score nor assist is of little use to any top-flight side. His record in Germany, with 30 goal contributions in 66 matches suggest he could be of use to a top tier side, but he has failed to replicate those numbers with the Toon.

Unless drastic change happens, and rapidly, time is ticking away for Muto’s Newcastle career.

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Opinion: New Saudi measures indicative of their Newcastle takeover ambitions

A promising development in the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund backed bid to takeover Newcastle United serves to highlight just how committed their interest in the Premier League club is. The Arab state has taken further measures to combat piracy in the region, which has been a sticking point in passing the Premier League’s prospective owners and directors test.

The piracy of Premier League matches from neighbouring Qatar has been a stumbling block in proceedings but the new measures, which include raising awareness of the value and importance of intellectual properties, enhancing respect and enforcement of intellectual property, are a sign of progress between the two parties.

The World Trade Organisation’s report determined that Saudi Arabia had not done enough to tackle piracy in the Kingdom. These latest steps show how not only has their attitude to the problem has changed, but they are also taking action to rectify the issue.

BeIN Sports were one of the numerous campaigners for the Premier League to block the proposed takeover, writing to the chairmen citing that the pirate network had caused ‘huge damage‘ to their revenues.

Although, instead of blocking the deal, the changes to Saudi Arabian policy suggest that the Premier League has used the takeover as leverage to clean up their act, which may help to explain why negotiations have been so drawn out. Nevertheless, the fact that the Saudi’s have obliged and cracked down on piracy is a strong indication of just how committed they are to taking ownership of St. James’ Park.

In the past, the Premier League has tried on numerous occasions to take legal action against those in Saudi Arabia for pirating games, which has reportedly left the top-flight’s legal team in a precarious position.

However, now action has been taken, firstly with the removal of hundreds of sites found guilty of piracy, as well as further measures to educate and ensure it does not continue to be an issue. Initially, the Premier League were waiting for assurances of just how serious the Kingdom was with regards to fighting the problem.

But it appears with these new measures they have their answer, as do any Newcastle fans who may have questioned the commitment of the Public Investment Fund’s takeover ambitions.

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Opinion: Newcastle’s proposed £5m swoop is more sensible than £90m splash

As takeover talk continues to rumble on at St. James’ Park the list of names touted to be on the Toon’s radar is ever increasing. Many are reportedly only likely to occur if the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund backed takeover is completed, and one of those reported transfer targets is Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly who’s asking price is £90m.

Although another considerably more sensible option which the Magpies may be able to pull off is the permanent signing of on-loan defender Danny Rose from Tottenham Hotspur for £5m. The England international has already discussed how he feels he is currently playing for his future while temporarily in the northeast, hence his availability at such a reasonable price.

Once his loan expires the only players capable of playing left back remaining in the Magpies’ squad would be Paul Dummett and Javier Manquillo. The Welshman arguably does not have the speed required to fulfil the role, though, and has looked far more comfortable when deployed in the centre of defence, while the Spaniard is the first choice right-back.

Therefore Roses’ addition makes perfect sense given he is available at a snip of his £14.4m valuation, (Transfermarkt). He would also add a wealth of valuable international and Premier League experience having represented England on 29 occasions along with making 191 top-flight appearances. Having already spent the last six months on Tyneside, Rose would not require a bedding-in period and could seamlessly plug a gap in the squad as he has done while on-loan.

Meanwhile, there can be no doubt Koulibaly is an absolute juggernaut in defence, but at 29-years-old he is narrowly over the apex of his value which Napoli are well aware of, hence the £90m asking price. Queens Park Rangers’ bonkers transfer window of 2012/13 should act as a warning to anyone willing to splash the cash in the Premier League, as the star-studded arrivals formed a dressing room divide with the players who earned promotion.

Newcastle only need to search back as far as last summer for another reason not to bring in a massive marquee arrival. Joelinton obliterated the St. James’ Park transfer record with his £40m move but has been much maligned after delivering a meagre two Premier League goals.

An approach for Rose seems like a sensible course of action to begin the Toon’s summer dealings while attempting to prize Koulibaly away from Napoli for an astronomical fee could end up backfiring.

This article was originally posted here

Opinion: How Newcastle’s mercurial finisher came back from the brink

Often Dwight Gayle is pigeon-holed as a striker who is ‘too good’ for the Championship, yet he doesn’t cut the mustard at Premier League level. It is hard to argue with the numbers, as the 29-year-old has an outstanding 0.59 conversion rate in the second tier, which drops off significantly in the Premier League to 0.19.

His time spent with Newcastle United has been a microcosm for Gayle’s perception, as the dramatic decline in his output has seen the striker score eight times across two top-flight seasons, having bagged 23 goals to get the Magpies promoted. His incredible performances, finding the net on 24 occasions, while on-loan with West Bromwich Albion last season only act as further evidence for the theory.

With the arrival of Joelinton and Andy Carroll, Steve Bruce scarcely chose Gayle for the bench in the first half of the campaign, making his first Premier League start on Boxing Day. The situation was so bleak that in January the club was reportedly ready to consider £15m offers for the 29-year-old, with a host of second-tier suitors linked.

However, six months on, Gayle’s standing in the northeast is arguably as strong as it has ever been in since Newcastle achieved promotion, featuring in five of the Magpies’ six matches since the restart. The Englishman has grabbed the opportunity Bruce has offered him with both hands, scoring twice and assisting once to draw level with Joelinton on goals for the season, having played 2,041 fewer minutes than the Brazilian.

Drawing level with Newcastle’s misfiring record signing is no sensational achievement, but given Andy Carroll is yet to find the back of the net since returning, Gayle’s importance to the Magpies has increased dramatically. Newcastle’s backline has also weighed in with such a telling goal contribution this term, only Jonjo Shelvey, Miguel Almiron and Allan Saint-Maximin have had a hand in more goals than the 29-year-old’s four.

As his career reaches the wrong side of its apex, Gayle will not get many more opportunities with Premier League clubs. The striker appears to have come to that realisation and has begun to rediscover his goalscoring form. His strike against Aston Villa was his first in over a year; he followed it up with another against Bournemouth to score in consecutive matches.

Bruce has a dilemma to contend with this summer. Newcastle are desperately short of a reliable goalscorer, and with Joelinton, Carroll, Gayle and Yoshinori Muto at centre forward at least one may have to make way for any incoming signings this summer. If Gayle can continue his scoring run during the sprint finish to the end of the season, he may have done just enough to secure his space on Tyneside next season.

This article was originally posted here

Some Newcastle fans express takeover impatience but remain convinced “Ashley wants out”

Steve Bruce has done an outstanding job on Tyneside considering the challenges he has come up against during his first season in charge. The Magpies are well clear of the drop and made it to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup for the first time since 2006, but despite this, some fans are not satisfied.

If Rafa Goes We Go reminded supporters on Twitter of the success, both domestically and on the continent, that Newcastle enjoyed in the 13 years before Mike Ashley’s ownership, relative to what has come since he became the owner at St James’ Park. The desire for the Saudi Arabian backed takeover to be announced as quickly as possible was reiterated too, which has now been trundling along for months with few indications as to when the deal may be completed.

The process has now been going on for such a long period of time that some Newcastle supporters appear to have given up hope on the deal ever being completed. The test is said to take up to four weeks to complete, usually taking a fortnight, but the Magpies have been stuck in limbo for months anxiously waiting for a decision.

Meanwhile, other fans remain resolute and insist that even if the existing agreement is not signed off by the Premier League, other suitors will be interested, as with the reported American buyer lined up to complete a move if the Saudi bid falls through.

Some supporters directed their disdain in the direction of the Premier League as opposed to the current owner of the club, blaming the division for the extensive length of time it is taking them to come to a decision. Recept reports do suggest that the Premier League are making progress in their battle against piracy in the Kingdom though, which may be the cause of the hold-up.

But some believe that the club is stuck in a mediocre mindset where the objective is to seal Premier League survival then coast to the end of the season, using the abject Manchester City performance as evidence. Embarrassingly for the Toon, the Citizens broke the record for the highest pass accuracy in the Premier League on Wednesday, only misplacing a minuscule 6.3 per cent of their 840 passes.

This article was originally posted here

Opinion: Newcastle must reassure star after agent’s worrying claim

When he arrived in the summer for £16.5m from Nice, there was a bubbling degree of anticipation surrounding Allan Saint-Maximin on Tyneside.

It is fair to say he has lived up to expectation, often being the most eye-catching member of Steve Bruce’s squad, lighting up defences with his flair, trickery and pace.

Once he began to add goals to the mix Saint-Maximin’s status as a cult hero amongst the Toon army was well and truly cemented. A recent flurry of assists against Bournemouth has seen the Frenchman register seven goal involvements in 19 Premier League starts. No other Magpie has been more prolific, with top scorer Jonjo Shelvey the only other player to have had a hand in seven Premier League goals for Newcastle.

Although worryingly for Newcastle fans, the 23-year-old’s electric displays have caught the eyes of some potential suitors, reportedly including Arsenal, Napoli and Paris Saint Germain. Meanwhile, additional concern for fans comes via the fact Saint-Maximin’s brother and agent has spoken of his desire to play in Europe.

What did he say?

Speaking to Calcio Napoli Kurtys Saint-Maximin dismissed links with Gennaro Gattuso’s side, saying: “I have never talked to them about a possible transfer of Allan Saint-Maximin. Even in the past, there has been no contact.”

Though he added: “Of course he likes Naples, it is a great club like, Juventus, Inter and Milan are in Italy as well. I still don’t know his future; it is too early to talk about it, but surely he will want to play as a starting player and participate in the Champions League.”

Troublesome times

Cause for concern comes via the fact Newcastle will almost certainly not be able to offer Saint-Maximin Champions League football in the foreseeable future, given the Magpies last qualified for the competition in 2003, when Partizan Belgrade embarrassingly dumped the Toon out in the third qualifying round. Meanwhile, the clubs he has been linked with could feasibly offer the French winger the prospect of midweek European clashes.

However, one thing Saint-Maximin will be afforded at St. James’ Park is a starting role as one of the first names on the team sheet. The only reason he has been limited to 19 appearances this term is due to injury and rest after a reoccurring hamstring issue.

Players such as Yohan Cabaye and Hatem Ben Arfa are two other Frenchmen whose varied routes to PSG passed through Tyneside, and it’s difficult to suggest it worked out for either player in the capital. It is now down to Newcastle to reassure Saint-Maximin that remaining at St James’ Park for at least another season is what’s best for his development.

This article was originally posted here

Opinion: Deploying Newcastle man out of position epitomised Bruce’s negative thinking

When you line up against Manchester City you know that you are in for 90 minutes of unrelenting pressure from the opposition as they ferociously hammer on the door, typically tending to burst through.

While Southampton opted to reinforce the entrance to their home with bricks and came away deserved 1-0 winners, Newcastle chose straw and were absolutely slaughtered for it.

A mitigating factor for Steve Bruce is that the Magpies were without the injured Allan Saint-Maximin, Jamaal Lascelles and Andy Carroll. However, that does not excuse electing to play Fabian Schar alongside Nabil Bentaleb in midfield. The Swiss international centre back may have performed admirably out of position, but his inclusion set the tone, with the Toon attempting to sit back and hope to keep them out.

It is safe to say Newcastle’s attempts to drop deep and form a blockade in front of their goal utterly failed. Before the encounter Emil Krafth, another Newcastle player operating out of position having been deployed at centre back, said that if the Magpies did not stay tight, narrow and keep the ball, they would be in for a long night. Neither of those three pleas came to fruition as the visitors were mesmerised by City’s 93.7 per cent pass accuracy, a Premier League record, and dispatched five past Martin Dubravka.

Facing Manchester City is a test few Premier League clubs pass, but in the reverse fixture, Bruce did mastermind a captivating 2-2 draw between the two sides. The Magpies had a meagre 24 per cent possession on that occasion, even less than Wednesday, but they were incredibly dynamic when in control of the ball, which resulted in scoring twice.

Schar is a silky defender with a fabulous passing range, highlighted by winning the northeast Footballer of the Year for 2018/19, but a pairing of him and Bentaleb in midfield could hardly be less mobile and more defensive. Bruce’s thinking is understandable, attempting to use the duo as a screen for the defence, but in reality, City sliced through them without flinching, completing 840 passes.

Had Newcastle not recently played the Sky Blues, the result would be somewhat tolerable. But given this was an even more abject display in the same vein as the recent FA Cup defeat, coupled with the knowledge that Southampton pressing City high proved so effective, Bruce has no excuse. Krafth’s comments show that the players knew what they should have been doing, but their managers’ selection in midfield made implementing a high press almost impossible.

By selecting Schar in the engine room, Bruce permeated an air of defensiveness and negativity with his team selection, and Manchester City duly punished Newcastle.

This article was originally posted here

Opinion: Newcastle issue ultimatum to out of contract star

One of the great success stories at St James’ Park over the past two seasons has been the emergence of Sean and Matthew Longstaff.

The brothers in arms have each had marvellous moments to savour together, with the younger of the duo making a particularly memorable Premier League debut, scoring an absolute peach of a strike to see off Manchester United. Few players can say they celebrated their first game and goal in the top-flight alongside their siblings, but there is a genuine risk that could be the highlight of their brief time sharing the St James’ Park turf.

Matt’s contract situation has been an issue looming in the background at Newcastle for some time now, and as the extended season draws nearer to its conclusion the club have reportedly issued a “wonderful” offer, and it is up to the player whether he signs. Seeing the 20-year-old depart would be a heartbreaking moment for the Toon faithful as he would not only go for a fraction of his value based on a tribunal but potentially realise his enormous potential elsewhere.

Few players have emerged from Newcastle’s academy of late, and the Longstaff brothers have been an exception to that rule – the only other graduates in the current squad are Andy Carroll and Paul Dummett. It would leave a bitter taste in the Toon Army’s mouths to see one of their own depart because an agreement couldn’t be reached on a new deal.

Udinese appear to be the favourites to sign Longstaff should he depart, and the £30k-a-week contract which has been offered up to the player vastly outweighs his £850-a-week youth team deal that is due to expire.

Steve Bruce has revealed that unfortunately no progress has been made with negotiation between the club and the player’s agent stuck in a deadlock. The Magpies boss let his opinion be known that the club had offered Longstaff a “wonderful” deal, but admitted the ball was now in his court.

At 20-years-old Longstaff is the youngest player in Newcastle’s Premier League squad and alongside his brother, one of their brightest prospects for the future. Bruce awarded the player his top-flight debut and has rewarded his performances with a further six starts.

The decision to depart is in his hands with Newcastle and Bruce having offered what they deem to be fair. Still, it would be gut-wrenching to see Longstaff walk away from the club he supports just one season into his professional career.

This article was originally posted here

Opinion: Why Newcastle should allow £5.85m-rated dynamo to depart

Rumours have surfaced that DeAndre Yedlin’s representatives are set to hold talks with Newcastle this week, with the speedy defender angling for a move away from St James’ Park this summer. Had it emerged before the Premier League’s restart that the right-back was thinking about his future elsewhere there may have been reasonable cause for concern amongst the fanbase.

However, given the switch to a four-man defence, where Steve Bruce has tended to favour Javier Manquillo, with Emil Krafth as deputy, it might be time for the Toon to cash in.

As a wing-back, Yedlin, valued at £5.85m (Transfermarkt), was a vital asset to the Magpies, with his frightening pace allowing for rapid transitions from defence to attack down the right channel. However, the recent success with a switch in formation has limited the USA international’s opportunities to bomb forwards when he has appeared and thawed his usefulness.

One issue with Yedlin has always been that the defender is outstanding at driving the ball into attacking areas, but often lacks the composure to threaten opponents, epitomised by his 0.3 key passes, with no assists this term, via WhoScored. Furthermore, he may be lightning quick, but it is rare to see the defender dribbling around opponents, doing so on 0.1 occasions per 90 minutes. Fundamentally, for Yedlin to be effective, he needs a clear passage to steam into and an easy pass available once there, which is an incredibly scarce occurrence.

Though what is even more suspect is the American’s defending. Per 90 minutes, Manquillo completes 0.7 more tackles, 0.2 more interceptions and 1.1 more clearances than his fellow right-back, truly dominating Yedlin when it comes to turning over possession and dispensing the ball from danger. The Spaniard has proven himself to be the more reliable of the duo in defence and as a result, Bruce has rewarded him with the majority of Premier League starts this term.

Though Manquillo does not offer the same attacking release as his USA international teammate, he has provided an assist this term from the same number of key passes per 90 minutes, 0.3, indicating he displays greater composure in the final third.

If Yedlin is not content with his current standing on Tyneside, then he should be allowed to leave the northeast. His Spanish teammate has staked his claim for the right-back slot courtesy of his reliability in the position and with Krafth available as an option for rotation, Newcastle would not need to search for cover.

Yedlin has fallen victim to Bruce’s tactical switch, but if he does not wish to remain and fight for his place in the starting eleven, then it’s time to search for a new suitor.

This article was originally posted here