Newcastle had some offensive life in its most recent loss, but a sustained lack of point-collecting has the Magpies in a serious relegation crisis.
The Magpies did score, thank goodness, in a 2-1 home loss versus a defensively-shy Leeds United that pasted them 5-2 a few weeks back at Elland Road.
But Steve Bruce’s men are winless in nine Premier League games, including two losses to Leeds, one to Sheffield United, and a draw with Fulham. Throw in Cup losses to Brentford and Arsenal, and it’s 11 without a win since the Magpies beat West Brom on Dec. 12.
That’s bottom-three stuff, and the Magpies have every right to be very worried. They sit eight points above the bottom three with 19 points but Fulham has played two fewer matches and has an identity.
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“This league is demanding and cruel at times,” Bruce said. “I don’t know if I’ve been on a worse run in 20 years but tonight, I’ve seen a little bit of something and we will start again tomorrow.”
The Magpies were again scattershot in the middle of the park and defenders Jamal Lewis and Fabian Schar were poor on the first goal while right back (he’s not really a right back) Jacob Murphy was cooked on the second.
Newcastle United’s 11-match winless run
3. League Cup quarters — Brentford 1-0 Newcastle
8. FA Cup fourth round — Arsenal 2-0 Newcastle
The Magpies did get Allan Saint-Maximin back and Jonjo Shelvey, Miguel Almiron, and Callum Wilson all threatened as the Magpies took 22 shots to Leeds’ nine.
Any club near the bottom, if you take out your best players going forward, they make such a huge difference,” Bruce said. “Allan Saint-Maximin has been the one, along with Almiron, who lifts the place up with their ability and to be more of a goal threat, we need him and Ryan Fraser to stay fit. If those two stay well and Almiron stays well, then hopefully we have a front three that will create enough to hopefully get us where we want to be.”
Bruce had a six-match winless run with Newcastle during Project Restart and lost 10 in-a-row while leading Aston Villa in the Championship, including a 2-0 loss to Newcastle at St. James’ Park on Feb,. 20, 2017. Two of his current players, Matt Ritchie and Jamaal Lascelles set up a Yoan Gouffran goal and an own goal for Villa’s Henri Lansbury.
He failed to win in nine-straight with Sunderland in 2011 and had winless runs of seven and eight with the Black Cats in 2010. Before that he did hit 10-straight without a win with Birmingham City in 2004.
Everton, Palace, and Saints are next on Newcastle’s docket and the Magpies will struggle in the first and third, even if they’ve managed wins over two of them already this season.
It’s difficult to make an argument for Bruce, who has talent enough to be midtable and continues to regularly play out-of-form players.