Newcastle played like a team with nothing to play for against Arsenal.
While Premier League safety isn’t guaranteed, it is looking more than likely that we will stay in the top flight.
With Fulham losing on Saturday, we had the chance to all but relegate them had we beaten Arsenal.
However, a limp performance from Steve Bruce’s side handed Arsenal the advantage as they coasted to victory.
Ever since the Brighton defeat, Newcastle have been impressive.
There has been a huge response since that loss, with a new found belief and energy on the pitch. We’ve been pressing higher. We’ve been working harder.
But that wasn’t the case against Arsenal.
It feels like a missed opportunity. Arsenal have been struggling, while they made eight chances as they prepare for the biggest game of their season on Thursday night.
But Newcastle allowed the Gunners to control proceedings, while failing to create any chances themselves.
But despite the performance, Bruce was happy with the attitude and effort of his team.
Bruce ‘couldn’t fault’ Newcastle players’ effort vs Arsenal
“I couldn’t fault the effort and the endeavour and the commitment of the players,” he told Sky Sports.
“We simply weren’t good enough on the day to beat them.”
Having watched the game, it’s difficult to agree with the manager.
While there were moments where we got after Arsenal and tried to force the issue, they were few and far between.
Particularly in the second half, the work off the ball was worrying. There was no collective press. While some continued to work hard, others strolled around as if it was a kick about in the park.
It was reminiscent of a performance from earlier in the season. We sat back and let Arsenal control the game.
While Bruce is hardly going to throw is players under the bus and hammer their work ethic, it’s hard to believe he watched the same game and ‘couldn’t fault’ the players’ attitude.