Opinion: The next 5 games will decide Bruce’s fate at Newcastle United

Steve Bruce, Manager of Newcastle United. (Photo by Adam Davy - Pool/Getty Images)
Steve Bruce, Manager of Newcastle United. (Photo by Adam Davy - Pool/Getty Images) /

Steve Bruce is walking a thin line at Newcastle United and he knows it.

Newcastle United are experiencing an identity crisis at the moment. With back-to-back 2-0 defeats at the hands of Southampton and Chelsea, Newcastle United are going down a slippery slope.

Of all the managers in the Premier League, Steve Bruce is the most fortunate to be coaching in empty stadiums. His tactics have not sat well with the Toon Army for months now, and it looks like his luck is running out.

The next five games will be critical for both the club and Bruce, but the former Sheffield Wednesday boss knows he needs to get some massive results before the halfway point of the season.

The Magpies’ next five games are far from easy, but they are favorable games that can be won. The list, in order, is as follows:

  • Crystal Palace (A) – Nov.27
  • Aston Villa (A) – Dec.5
  • West Brom (H) – Dec.12
  • Leeds United (A) – Dec.15
  • Fulham (H) – Dec.19

Of the 15 points up for grabs in those clashes, a realistic expectation is for the Toon to claim at least nine points – most likely against Crystal Palace, West Brom, and Fulham.

Aston Villa and Leeds United do not boast more quality than the Magpies, but their style of play will make it easy for them to walk all over Bruce’s men, especially Leeds United.

The plus side, however, is that both teams are vulnerable defensively, but Newcastle United are not risk takers that can effectively catch them off guard. For those reasons, I am expecting two defeats in those games.

Crystal Palace are at the same level as Newcastle United, which makes it a 50-50 battle that can go either way, but Newcastle United must capitalize on the slow starts West Brom and Fulham are having.

Anything less than six points against the two relegation-threatened sides will be a major disappointment. Negative results will keep the Toon closer to the bottom three than the top ten, which is the target fans have set for the club.

If the Magpies fail to take the game to Crystal Palace, West Brom, and Fulham, it would not come as a major shock if the front office begin their search for a new manager.

Bruce has been labeled as Mike Ashley’s yes-man, but the business tycoon will not want Newcastle United to drop in value if Championship football can be seen in the horizon.

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It really is now or never for Bruce, although, like most fans, I agree that he has already proved he is not the right man for the job.