Over the past ten matches, Newcastle are winless and have been knocked out of two cup competitions. We’ve scored a total of four goals but only one in the last eight games. And we have lost five straight. Other than that, things are going swimmingly.
Next up is Leeds, who we began our descent into ineptitude against with a 5-2 defeat at Elland Road in December. But on the bright side after four matches away, we are back at the familiar confines of St. James’ Park.
It’s a quick turnaround after another anemic performance on Saturday at Aston Villa, who cruised to a comfortable 2-0 win in which Newcastle had no big chances. The player who got our lone shot on target has captured the poll as the best player for that match.
Miguel Almiron has won our last two polls. He’s been all effort but unfortunately, that hasn’t resulted in an increased threat upfront. Newcastle have had just two shots on target in our last two defeats. These were the matches where Bruce said the gloves were coming off.
On Saturday, we did see the return of Allan Saint-Maximin and his presence along with Ryan Fraser added a glimmer of a threat to the side. However, it was not enough to create any real opportunities on goal.
Getting both Allan and Ryan a good run of games could be the key to dragging Newcastle out of this mess. Though Tuesday against Leeds may be too soon to push Allan in the starting eleven.
Both Federico Fernandez and Ciaran Clark missed out at Villa Park. During his press conference on Friday, Steve Bruce said it could be a while before Fernandez, who also missed the Arsenal match, returns. That’s very disappointing but we hopefully will have Clark back before too long.
There’s no optimism on Tyneside at the moment and for good reason. Steve Bruce is not getting the best out of this team, and while they may not be world-beaters, they are a far cry better than what’s been on display this season.