Well, here we are again. That was another turgid performance by Steve Bruce's Newcastle United. The Magpies picked up where they left off with their awful second half showing against West Ham United last weekend.
Six goals conceded in the opening two games isn't good enough, not against the opposition faced so far. Newcastle lacked any real fight or hunger yet again, the midfield, especially centrally was non-existent. Bruce can mention the two poor decisions that went against his side today. However, there's no escaping just how poor Newcastle were. Unfortunately, Bruce had a ready-made excuse for the defeat at Villa Park, blaming VAR decisions at key points in the game. Even without those moments, Newcastle were played off the pitch.
The signing of Joe Willock last week didn't strengthen the side from the one that ended last season. It's great that he's here and he's here permanently, but only signing Willock will be one gamble too many from Newcastle's hierarchy. I'm not sure why we still have to say this, Miguel Almiron is not a central midfielder, a position in need of serious strengthening. Nor is Ryan Fraser a central midfielder, square pegs in round holes comes to mind.
The list of problems at Newcastle are extensive, a lot of the problems on that list lay at Mike Ashley's door, which is way beyond Bruce's control. What isn't beyond the Newcastle manager's control is managing/coaching this team to a high standard. That clearly isn't and hasn't been happening. Bruce's track record in the Premier League is dire, there is no surprise that Newcastle have regressed and will continue to do so. There are very few managers who can succeed under this regime, but it's not completely impossible. Newcastle have the nucleus of a decent side, under the Rafael Benitez, these players were managed to an inch of their lives. It is obvious that the players need a rocket up their arse, they do not know what to do on the pitch because they've not been given instructions.
This will be a very long season if Newcastle continue to play like this. It is relegation fodder, and it is down to management. Yes, more support is needed in the transfer market... But there is no excuse for the turgid showing in the second half against West Ham, or again today. How can anyone think that this is acceptable? Simple answer, it isn't. Yet, here we are with Bruce giving excuses after the game... It isn't good enough, and it will never be good enough. Bruce doesn't do himself any favours, just be honest. Newcastle weren't good enough today, say that, address it on the training field. Do not give rubbish excuses, the supporters who travelled all that way do not deserve to hear that waffle. Be honest and put it right!
Newcastle is a ghost club, there's very little to shout about. We're coming out of a summer that was probably one of the most depressing under Ashley. Bruce as manager, little investment, and a takeover circus that continues to string supporters along. This isn't the Newcastle we should witness, the last fourteen years has been a brilliantly written book on how not to run a football club. It's an absolute mess from top to bottom, there's no communication, a once beautiful stadium is run down due to more than a decade of neglect. A training ground that has seen very little developments over those fourteen years, this is a club that has been lost in time. So many supporters have walked away from this club, and who can blame them? Where is the hope?
Newcastle are relying on a few players to perform to their highest level every week. Injuries to the likes of Willock, Callum Wilson and Allan Saint-Maximin will put Newcastle in an extremely hard situation. There is no strength in depth, no matter what Bruce says, there simply isn't.
Newcastle face Burnley in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday, before the visit of Southampton in the Premier League. Bruce needed to get off to a strong start this season, with stadiums back to full capacity - The pressure is on Bruce to deliver. The heat is already on, and we're currently two games into the new season. If Newcastle were to lose against Burnley and Southampton, you would like to think that Bruce's days are numbered, especially with the added pressure of supporters being in attendance.