Steve Bruce’s son Alex Bruce has spoken about how the goal return from the club’s top three this season has been ‘poor’.
Following the club’s 4-0 battering against Arsenal on the weekend, Football Insider spoke to the former Hull City player, who was rather critical of the club’s attacking prowess.
With chances few and far between this season for the Magpies, there has understandably been a lot of pressure on Joelinton, Miguel Almiron and Allan Saint-Maximin – and Alex Bruce doesn’t think they’re contributing enough.
He said: “The one thing you can say about Newcastle is that they’re not scoring goals.
“They’ve paid a lot of money for three players in Saint-Maximin, Joelinton and Almiron – who’s obviously been playing well, Almiron – but the amount of goals those three have put into the team has been poor.
“If Dwight Gayle can get himself fit, get himself a couple of goals and take the opportunity when he gets it, then it’ll give my dad a nice headache to have.”
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From 26 games in the Premier League this season, the Magpies have contributed just 24 goals, leaving only Crystal Palace behind them in terms of goals scored. When looking even closer at the goals they’ve scored, then it becomes an even worse read.
So far 12 out of the 24 have come from defenders and just four out of the 24 from wingers or strikers. Almiron has grabbed two, Allan Saint-Maximin has one, and Joelinton’s goal against Spurs back in August is still just the only goal he has scored.
While this is obviously clear evidence that they don’t have a particularly potent front three, it also represents how the club isn’t creating very many chances and how they are actually most deadly from set-pieces rather than with the ball in play.
Bruce’s negative tactics of a 5-4-1 doesn’t allow for many opportunities. Even with Joelinton scoring just one goal from 26 games, he has only missed seven big chances according to SofaScore – 0.31 per game – which isn’t very bad compared to other forwards at all. However, this shows that he’s not getting into the positions to score, which is all in all more worrying than not scoring altogether.
While you can see where Alex Bruce is coming from by demanding more from their forwards, the set up of the team doesn’t allow for much opportunity for the front three – so perhaps he is heaping blame on to the wrong party.