Newcastle United traveled to Brighton for an evening game at the Amex, sixteenth playing seventeenth in the league, knowing a win for either side would help calm nerves with the relegation fight.
What a wasted trip this was, the squad may have well taken a walk down Brighton pier than step foot on the pitch. And now I have the utmost privilege to write a stats review of a game that after 25 mins had Newcastle with zero shots, zero corners, one offside, one foul and had taken a single touch inside the opposition box.
On a night that had some pundits and managers alike suggest that this game was more than a six-pointer, Newcastle and Bruce proved exactly why we are in the position we are, a first half that consisted of literally a drill of attack vs defence and we were the defence, 27% possession, one shot which was off target, a single corner and a measly, disgusting and embarrassing figure of 128 passes! in 45 mins!
At halftime, Newcastle had only had eight more touches as a team, than the Brighton backline!
We went in at the half a goal down, after a long break in play for an Isaac Hayden injury that looks like could keep him out for several weeks at least. From the re-start after the injury, a direct ball over the top and a smart finish from Trossard led to Brighton taking a lead into halftime. This was Brighton's third shot on target from the seven they had handed two them in this first half.
After the break, nothing really changed, Brighton had the ball at will in the early stages of the second half, resulting in a Welbeck goal after 51min. Brighton were then happy to sit on this lead knowing that no Newcastle player could hit a barn door from 3 foot! Our ball possession went up to a healthier 42%, but with nothing as an end result, we took on a total of two shots in the second half, one of which hit the woodwork from Fraser, but a total of three over the 90 mins, with one on target. We didn't manage a single corner or cross in the half and a shocking 382 passes compared to Brighton's 728 from start to finish, we truly made them look like Barcelona.
Along with these truly horrendous numbers, it won't come as a surprise to know that Newcastle gave up a staggering 26.83 PPDA (passes allowed per defensive action in opposition half) compared to Brighton's 7.63, we stacked a single DEEP (passes completed within an estimated 20 yards of goal, not including crosses) again compared to Brighton's 8.
The few final numbers of this game don't help boost Newcastle fans' hope of any type of upturn with spurs at St James’ next. Newcastle had two players with shots, Fraser with 2 and Hayden with 1, resulting in us having a joke of an Xg of 0.10. With the lack of confidence in the squad, no change of manager in sight, it truly is a bleak 9 games ahead. Despite Bruce’s continued ramblings of 6 or 7 teams looking over their shoulder, it is obvious it is now a 2 way shootout between us and Fulham, a shootout that the stats clearly say we will not win.