Steve Bruce’s Newcastle were the subject of an interesting debate on Match of the Day last night.
The Magpies suffered another poor result, losing 2-1 to Wolves, continuing their winless run at the start of this campaign.
Bizarrely, Danny Murphy tried to defend the job that Bruce is doing at St James’ Park, though Gary Lineker and Ian Wright talked a bit more sense about the situation.
Alan Shearer wasn’t on last night, which is probably for the best, but here’s the full transcript of the pundits’ chat about Newcastle…
“Thank heavens Alan Shearer wasn’t around today, he would have been very loud.
“But they are winless now…and that is four of the last seven [Premier League] campaigns they have started it without winning a match in their opening seven fixtures.”
“Three points from a possible twenty one.
“You know something, you look at Newcastle, unfortunately, you don’t know where their next point is coming from.
“He [Steve Bruce] hasn’t changed it from Watford. He is playing Allan Saint-Maximin down the centre.
“They just look…I don’t know…the [lack of] cohesion, I don’t know what is going on there?”
“I don’t think it is all that bad.
“I know they haven’t won but they have scored more goals than anyone else in the bottom half this season.
“The balance isn’t right…last season right, I think this would have been the other way around, or the last couple of seasons – hard to beat but able to score many goals.
“Steve Bruce has definitely tried to play more on the front foot at the beginning of this season but they are suffering defensively because of it.
“And that is football, finding that balance between being entertaining, looking like a team having a go, but leaving yourself wide open.”
“But is that not the manager’s job, to find the right balance?”
“Of course it is, which he hasn’t done so far.
“What you can’t argue with is the goals they have scored and the chances created, they should have won comfortably at Watford last week.”
“But Dan, it comes to the point where you say that they should have won but they didn’t.
“And that is what they have to do, they have to start winning games.
“I don’t think Allan Saint-Maximin playing down the centre is good. Play him out there [wide], let him create, get somebody else in the middle.”
“One of the other problems is [Callum] Wilson, he is a terrific player but he doesn’t stay fit enough.
“If he was playing in that side, I think they would be in a better position, they have got to get him fit.”
“I love you Al, I love you Al.”
“Don’t worry, he [Alan Shearer] won’t be watching, I’m sure!”