Newcastle United were held to a 0-0 draw on Saturday evening as they welcomed Brighton and Hove Albion to St James’ Park.
It was a lacklustre showing from both sides, as the Magpies finished the contest looking the more likely to score after being dominated in possession for the majority of the game.
Newcastle didn’t have many chances to score in the clash and the late introductions of Allan Saint-Maximin and Andy Carroll added serious threat to their front line.
The Magpies jumped out of the Premier League relegation zone after the draw but could end the weekend second-bottom with both Wolves and Aston Villa yet to play.
Nothing But Newcastle has rounded up three things learned about Newcastle from their weekend draw:
Saint-Maximin must start
The Frenchman was electrifying when coming off the bench, and is fully deserving of a starting spot next time out. Both Miguel Almiron and Christian Atsu were poor from the start of the game, and the introduction of the winger added real danger in the final third. His ability to get on the ball and beat the Seagulls’ defence with ease by knocking it round them made the Magpies instantly more threatening. The only negative surrounding the 22-year-old would be his final product, whether crossing the ball or having a shot. Once that improves, Bruce will have a real star on his hands, and what better way to start seeing the best of him by starting him against Leicester City next time out.
Shelvey non-existent throughout
A moment in the second-half summed up the England international’s poor performance. Instead of recycling possession when 30-yards from goal, he decided to pull the trigger and the shot was easily kept out by Mat Ryan. Shelvey was non-existent throughout the game and was dragged off by Bruce in the second half, a decision he can have no complaints with. The 27-year-old was bypassed in the defeat at Liverpool, and he didn’t improve against Brighton and failed to offer any support going forward or in defence. Shelvey was rightly slammed for his performance by Newcastle fans, and Bruce must make a statement by axing the midfield man and teach him a lesson next time out.
Bruce style a worry
Given the magnitude of the game between the two relegation-threatened clubs, many would have been an explosive start from the home side – something they didn’t get. Brighton dominated the first-half and apart from a single chance for Almiron, the Magpies struggled to get any sort of grip in the game. Atsu made nine passes in the first period – the most of anyone in the Newcastle side, with every single Brighton player completing the same or more passes. Bruce needs to get the same determination his side had in the final 10 minutes in his team from the first whistle, and if they start as they did in this game in other fixtures, they will quickly start collecting losses. Bruce needs to take the point forward, and look into his side’s style, and make sure they adopt a more positive manner in future games.