Glass half full…

Unusually, I’ve been at odds with myself this week…

My desperation to see us claim three vital points that would no doubt prove critical as the season progresses, was for the first time I can remember, clouded with thoughts along the lines of “I want to win, but…”

As a Mag of over 40 years, I was taken aback to find myself asking if I would take a defeat, in the hope that St James’ Park would turn against Steve Bruce en masse, and with such vitriol that he would be forced to reconsider his “I won’t walk away” mantra.

Did I want a win? Did I want a loss? If I am being honest, almost 24 hours later I still can’t answer that question – in the end however, I got neither.

The first 20 minutes was like a re-run of the Southampton game a couple of weeks back – with United’s back 5 once again looking like they’d been introduced to each other at Rosie’s Bar an hour before kick-off, Leeds looked like they would score every time they attacked.

Just how long Steve Bruce is going to persist with this 5 at the back formation that continually sees our wing backs caught out of position time after time is anyone’s guess – add to that his insistence on playing Hayden in a position where he’s as comfortable as a Mackem in the Gallowgate, and you have a recipe for disaster.

The first 20 minutes last night could have been just that – disastrous.

With Willock and Longstaff being overran in midfield, I lost count of the number of times that Leeds’s midfielders arrived late to have the ball played back to them for them to have a free hit at Darlow’s goal – the fact that we only conceded once in this spell was down to much more luck than judgement.

Approximately 20 minutes in however, things changed – the real Head Coach, who had been sat in the stands spotted the tactical problem and promptly headed to the dug out to tell his assistant that we needed to change – Hayden moved forwards 5-10 yards to protect what then became a back 4, and Leeds supply line was somewhat nullified.

The rest of the evening in fairness was entertaining fayre – two bang average teams having a go at each other under the Barrack Road lights in an atmosphere that was the best I experienced at SJP since Fabinho’s swan dive earned Fenway Reds a 3-2 win in May 2019.

In ASM, we have the most exciting attacking player outside of the Sky 6 – his goal that saw him sit down 3 players (including England’s player of the year), demonstrated why if he finds better levels of consistency and fitness, he will be plying his trade in The Champions League within 12-18 months.

If he gets injured for any lengthy period, I would suggest that we all start reviewing an A-Z map of The Championship in readiness for season 22-23.

On a night when I fully expected Steve Bruce to bear the brunt of an angry fanbase that is close to boiling point, I was surprised at just how sporadic the chants calling for his departure were?

Yes, there were a few, loud renditions of ‘Brucie out’ from all corners of the stadium, but I genuinely think the rank and file were so pre-occupied in our attempts drive the team forwards for the win that we literally forgot about one of the main reasons we are second bottom of the Premier League?

Bruce WILL go this season – it is a question of when not if – the real question, the most important question is will the damage he is allowed to do in the meantime be repairable by whichever patsy succeeds him at the house of pain.

Lee Forster @LeeDForster

Enjoyable, until the morning after…

I quite enjoyed the game last night despite what was yet another game without a win, stretching to the opening 6 league and cup games in the 21/22 campaign.

The atmosphere was excellent from the start, definitely helped by the hordes of home and visiting fans having been on the peeve for several hours.  I love games under the lights.

Leeds were definitely the better side and should probably have gone into the break in the lead with Bamford missing his customary chance and the left back skying an easy chance on the stroke of half time.

The second half was much more even and could have gone either way.

Points of note from me.

What’s it going to take for Gayle to get a game? With Wilson out, we have no striker on the pitch. That’s fine if you’re Man City, but not if you’re desperate for a goal scorer.

I thought we were more assured defensively and that’s probably because Darlow is a better keeper and organiser than Woodman.

Joelinton had one of his best games for us. Shame he’s a jigsaw when anywhere near the opponents’ box. He looked big, strong and direct. Much more needed from Jow in the coming weeks.

ASM is far too good for Newcastle United. That is all.

Good game, good atmosphere, too much lager consumed.

Onto Watford.

@peekeekay. Paul Karter