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    Steve Bruce ‘missing big players’ excuse is wearing a bit thin

    Steve Bruce has been consistent this season at least in one respect.

    That is, the number of excuses he has made after every poor performance and / or result this season.

    Like a kid who hasn’t done his homework, Steve Bruce never stuck for reasons as to why it isn’t his fault.

    Newcastle United currently on a run of only four wins in their last twenty five matches and yet the media always dutifully just allow Steve Bruce to make his excuses, never challenging them.

    One of the most popular ones (for Steve Bruce) has been this claim that he and Newcastle United have really suffered because of key attacking players having missed so many matches.

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    A typical Steve Bruce press conference of recent months where he declared:

    “Callum Wilson with us, Allan Saint-Maxmin with us…if you take your big players away…

    “Every team has got their big players who they rely on.

    “Every team has their big players and if you take them out of the equation, even at a really big club like Liverpool, the impact of Van Dijk, if you took Fernandes away from Man U, it’s normal.

    “You are without your big players…Harry Kane out of Tottenham, you are not as effective as you were if you aren’t in the team.

    “It’s quite simple.”

    Steve Bruce at another press conference:

    “I don’t care what anyone says, at this level, when your top players are missing it becomes a big struggle.”

    With 34 Premier League games now gone after the feeble display against Arsenal, the stats show us that Steve Bruce has not been able to include Callum Wilson in his Premier League matchday squads on eight occasions out of 34, Miguel Almiron has been in every one of the 34 PL matchday squads, whilst Allan Saint-Maximin has been missing from 13 of 34.

    All of that hardly adds up to the big reason for this shocking season being injuries and missing the key attacking players.

    What is truly remarkable of course, is that when you have yet another dismal match like Sunday’s, absolutely nobody in the media is putting Steve Bruce on the spot.

    Newcastle lined up with what has been their usual back five during these recent better mini set of results, the usual central midfield combination of Sean Longstaff and Bruce’s golden boy Jonjo Shelvey, then Callum Wilson, ASM and Miguel Almiron as the (supposedly) attacking trio.

    Up against an eleventh placed Arsenal who had absolutely nothing to play for and who made eight changes to protect their first eleven, ahead of Thursday’s key Europa League match.

    Yet Newcastle United were abysmal.

    Not only did Arsenal win, they did so at a stroll, completely dominating the game, Newcastle sitting back and allowing them to dictate.

    Absolutely zero attacking plan apart from the usual give the ball to ASM, which was quickly snuffed out by Arsenal as they forced him deeper and deeper.

    What on earth Steve Bruce had been doing in the eight days preparing for this very winnable match, we can only guess.

    So why no journalist or pundit asking Steve Bruce what his plan was supposed to be, why he didn’t change anything, why it was so feeble despite him having all his big attacking players on the pitch.

    Especially when Newcastle only had one ASM effort on target in the entire game.

    The refusal to challenge Steve Bruce is shameful and the media are laughable, letting him make these excuses time after time and never has he had to back them up.

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