Former Newcastle United striker Michael Owen has slammed Steve Bruce’s Magpies for their lack of spark in attack after a disappointing loss to Aston Villa.
Goals from Conor Hourihane and Anwar El Ghazi ensured the points remained at Villa Park on Monday night, and Owen doubts Bruce’s men will be able to do anything other than accept defeat again when we host champions Manchester City on Saturday.
Joelinton had actually attempted the third-most shots of any player for either side in the Villa loss, with the Brazilian attempting three efforts on Tom Heaton’s goal but without hitting either on target, per WhoScored figures.
As a team, we attempted 11 shots in total with five on target to Villa’s eight on target from 17 efforts, five of which came from Jack Grealish and four from Douglas Luiz.
If we are to get anything on Saturday, Owen feels Bruce’s men will have to be on their A-game, as Pep Guardiola’s Man City will be loath to let slip a chance to marginally reduce their deficit to table-toppers Liverpool.
“I was disappointed with Newcastle at Villa Park on Monday and their attacking players continue to struggle to create opportunities, let alone score goals at present,” Owen noted in his weekly predictions for BetVictor. “Steve Bruce’s side will have to be at the top of their game when champions Manchester City come to town in Saturday’s early kick-off.
“Yes, the Magpies came from behind to win the corresponding fixture 2-1 at St. James’ Park last season, but I don’t expect Pep Guardiola’s side to slip up at the weekend given they have the opportunity to cut the deficit – albeit briefly – to leaders Liverpool to six points with a win.”
What will the result be vs Man City?
Our total of five shots on target at Villa Park on Monday night certainly felt like a below-par showing from those called upon by Bruce, but our numbers were actually an above-average showing for us this season.
According to data collected by WhoScored since the season began, we have been averaging just 8.4 shots per game when on the road and only 3.1 of those have tested the opposition’s goalkeeper.
Clearly, then, Owen – who twice topped the Premier League’s goal charts while with Liverpool – is right that we have been lacking a creative spark in attack, and Bruce will need to find a way to create more chances going forward with five points all that separates the Toon from the relegation places.