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Pundit Points To Duo As Primary Issue In Palace Defeat

Last Friday, Paul Merson wrote a column in the Daily Star stating that he was desperate for Newcastle to stay up this season.

He acknowledged that he had a somewhat contentious relationship with the fans but also admitted that he thought they were a vital part of the Premier League. He even went as far as to call them magnificent.

In the article, which was before the Crystal Palace fiasco, Merson wrote that he thought Newcastle would stay up but asserted that it would not be an easy task.

After Saturday’s loss, Merson served as a pundit on Gillette Soccer Saturday. The Chronicle have published some comments from him about the Crystal Palace defeat.

The former England midfielder thinks Newcastle’s primary problem was with the midfield pairing of Longstaff and Bentaleb not coping with the Palace midfield.

He was asked if he thought Bruce set up to negatively at Selhurst Park. This was his response:

“No, not really. They played Joelinton, Almiron, Saint-Maximin and they were lively up front.

“But the two in midfield just got overrun. They played Longstaff and Bentaleb in midfield against the three of Palace and they just got overrun.

“I thought Steve Bruce should have changed it quicker, and the keeper kept them in the game if I’m being honest.

“Saint-Maximin was the only one who was really a threat. It was a bad day at the office. They probably played worse than they did at Arsenal.”

We agree with a lot of what Merson said about the midfield duo. Both Sean and Nabil really struggled on Saturday, which is why we think Isaac Hayden will be back in the team against Burnley.

Bruce also waited far too long to make adjustments to address the problem. He eventually made some substitutions and pushed Fabian Schar further forward. However, it had little impact on the proceedings.

The game was an anomaly in that Newcastle had the bulk of possession at 56%. However, they struggled to do anything when on the ball resulting in a tepid attacking display.

The following shot map from @Caley_graphics shows just how awful Newcastle were in creating chances on Saturday. Therein lies Newcastle’s primary issue.

24 comments so far

  • NY Mag

    Feb 24, 2020 at 11:29 PM

    Comment #1

    Just caught up……It’s been a bit feisty on here today

  • Jail for Ashley

    Feb 24, 2020 at 11:33 PM

    Comment #2

    NY Mag,
    Has it foot, just another day at the office!

  • coming home

    Feb 24, 2020 at 11:34 PM

    Comment #3

    Peter withe, David Kelly or joelinton
    Who would you take now ?

  • Tonyd3b54

    Feb 24, 2020 at 11:37 PM

    Comment #4

    Bringing in Hayden won’t solve anything if the midfield is still out numbered 3-2. Could be mitigated if we actually played our wing backs as wing backs when with out the ball instead of a line of 5 defenders.

  • martoon

    Feb 24, 2020 at 11:39 PM

    Comment #5

    Evening guys still recovering from Jet Lag but one of the letters I returned to was my ST renewal. Apparently this is the last year of my deal and I have to say if the football doesn’t improve and the price of our STs rockets up next year then I’ll have a decision to make!

  • DAVE..TOON..9

    Feb 24, 2020 at 11:42 PM

    Comment #6

    Peter withe

  • TomaKaThor

    Feb 24, 2020 at 11:48 PM

    Comment #7

    S Longstaff isn’t prem quality, takes to long on the ball and gets caught out far to often, has a good strike on him and an alright pass.. But as I said he isn’t quick enough and gets caught out and often in dangerous areas

  • Munster Mag

    Feb 24, 2020 at 11:50 PM

    Comment #8

    Agree re Bruce’s dull tactics. Strangely though nobody was saying that when we were playing shit teams like Cardiff away and have a seriously defensive approach, or games when we had zero shots on target. Tools like Lesh wud say. “do we think rafa tells them to play rubbish and pass the ball badly,no he doesn’t” rafawasnevershit. Com.

  • coming home

    Feb 24, 2020 at 11:50 PM

    Comment #9

    Just to put it in prospectus peter withe cost 225,000 in 1978 which is about 1.3 million in todays value and joelinton cost ………

  • JDdubai

    Feb 24, 2020 at 11:58 PM

    Comment #10

    Coming home

    Not sure on your maths there tbh, in 1978 i think the transfer record involving a british team was around 500k(keegan?) so 225k would be round half of the british record transfer fee.

    today half of the transfer record would be about 45m i think? (Pogba?)

  • coming home

    Feb 25, 2020 at 12:02 AM

    Comment #11

    Trust me my maths is good 225,000 in 1978 has a value of 1.3 million today

  • Online Guy

    Feb 25, 2020 at 12:10 AM

    Comment #12

    Steve Bruce on a paltry wage ..gets told he has to play Joelinton.. told who to sign…3 strangers dropped into the team same day same game ..Never going to work, crazy !

    Is Ashley playing football manager and treating Newcastle as a game ? Getting his kicks ?

    Word might just go out and be realised and repeated, through various media, that Steve is a yes man .

    Might we see him sacked if we loose the next 4 games , 3 of which are at home , we are that inept up front it’s highly likely.

    Steve has a slight ego..bit of pride ..how long will he take it as Ashleys puppet, scapegoat, one might say .

    Will he jump before he’s pushed.

  • NY Mag

    Feb 25, 2020 at 12:13 AM

    Comment #13

    Coming home,

    I have no idea where your figures come from….but if you take into account ‘football inflation’ (which is a difficult thing to measure – but there are ways)
    That’s probably about £150M

  • NY Mag

    Feb 25, 2020 at 12:14 AM

    Comment #14


    Fair enough….I thought it was feisty – for you, I can see why you think it’s just another day 🙂

  • coming home

    Feb 25, 2020 at 12:16 AM

    Comment #15

    NY mag
    I have no idea where your 150 million come from but a simple task for you would Google 225,000 value in 2020 will give you an easy answer

  • Online Guy

    Feb 25, 2020 at 12:26 AM

    Comment #16

    Anyone know where Danny Rose gets his strong lacca bands from ?

    It looks like he plays with an invisible one around his waist and tethered to a stake .
    He runs forward and seems to be running through treacle the more he advances then suddenly he hits a wall and seems to be getting dragged backwards …check it out… it’s either that or it’s all in his head and he thinks he is in a dream .

    I’d rather play our Pet Duck at left back than Rose ..hes lost it but I think it’s his mindset as he has all the tools.

    Like the above post ?

    I will be posting more posts of this ilk in a ridiculous fashion .. wearing a green wellie and a blue wellie and a sowester … while taking a shower and trying to light a tab at same teym .

  • coming home

    Feb 25, 2020 at 12:26 AM

    Comment #17

    NY mag
    Without trying to make you look silly can you explain to me what football inflation is ?

  • NY Mag

    Feb 25, 2020 at 12:30 AM

    Comment #18

    Coming home,

    I agree if you’re talking about normal inflation (although even that sounds suspect)….’football inflation’ is different
    If £225000 is average in 1978, is £1.3M average today? I don’t it is

  • Online Guy

    Feb 25, 2020 at 12:31 AM

    Comment #19

    Joelinton is a centre back .

  • coming home

    Feb 25, 2020 at 12:34 AM

    Comment #20

    NY mag
    Best do your research before opening your mouth,as I,v said peter withe cost 225,000 in 1978 which in todays money is 1.3 million.
    Now try to prove my statement wrong or button it

  • Online Guy

    Feb 25, 2020 at 12:42 AM

    Comment #21
  • Online Guy

    Feb 25, 2020 at 12:52 AM

    Comment #22

    We sold Withe to Villa for £500,000 and I remember bieng a tad upset about loosing our C.F

    He was a lion and a gladiator in the same frame .. Joelinton has the fight in him but can’t hit the provebial with a shovel.

  • Kevin Vegan

    Feb 25, 2020 at 4:50 AM

    Comment #23

    The midfield wasn’t great, but there were problems all over the pitch against Palace, as there have been all season. I really don’t see the point in any of our january signings, thought Lazaro would be cover on the wing rather than another average RB where we didn’t really need another player (is he really any better than Yedlin, Manquillo or even Hayden when he’s filled in there?)

    I also remember posting on here when Joelinton first signed saying he wasn’t anywhere near good enough and we should be looking for a lot more out of a £40m forward. Quite a few people defended the decision at that point, but I’m guessing they are coming round by now.

    Our club has a lot of problems and has had for years. We’ve sat by and watched too many flops come in and too many great players leave. I don’t expect us to be winning the league every season but I really don’t see why we couldn’t build something like what leicester and now wolves are doing. But for any of that to happen, we need ambitious owners who want to keep the best players and staff at the club. It’s not always easy, but the current regime doesn’t even try, and recruitment is no different. What we have currently is a joke of a setup that might barely scrape by this season, but needs serious remodelling

  • crawfordm

    Feb 25, 2020 at 8:29 AM

    Comment #24

    Groundhog day – same old same old. Winge about the shite being produced, winge about the owner but STILL go. Empty seats on a continual basis ( empty seats around his tatty signs hurt him ) Long term relegation and empty seats are the only way to shift him.
    West Ham are kicking off again and they are usually more pro active than we are.
    Watch and learn !!!!


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