To seemingly no one’s surprise, Steve Bruce’s Newcastle United were knocked out by Championship side Brentford 1-0 at the Brentford Community Stadium.
Newcastle were looking to make their first domestic cup semi-final since the 2005 season, when they lost to Manchester United in the FA Cup.
Brentford meanwhile had positioned themselves as giant slayers in this season’s competition, having beaten 3 other Premier League sides en-route to the Quarter Finals.
A near full strength team from the Magpies, despite coming off a poor run of form in the Premier League, were facing a Thomas Frank side lacking in key players in their starting XI, including top scorer and ex-Magpie Ivan Toney.
The stage was well and truly set for Newcastle to clinch that long awaited cup semi-final spot….
Then, Newcastle lost. Nothing eventful, nothing worthy of mention bar the well worked opener from Brentford, capped off by a golden volley from Josh Dasilva.
Top scorer Callum Wilson once again lacked the opportunities afforded to any other Premier League striker. Even when Bruce decided to bring on strikers 2, 3, and 4 into the fray, Newcastle’s attacking presence was virtually non-existent.
The defensive triangle of goalkeeper Karl Darlow and centre-backs Isaac Hayden and Ciaran Clark tried their hardest, but the constant back passing, most likely indoctrinated into the team by Bruce, did more harm than good.
One has to feel sorry for two players in particular: Miguel Almiron and Ryan Fraser. Forced to make way for Dwight Gayle and Joelinton mere moments before Dasilva’s opener, the substitution of the two attacking midfielders neutered any chance of the Toon finding their way back into the game.
Newcastle United may be the only side in Europe’s top 5 leagues to rely on a striker without a competitive goal in near 2 years. As of the time of writing, Andy Carroll will be exactly a fortnight away from hitting that 2 year mark.
With Newcastle’s next 3 league games being against Manchester City, Liverpool, and Leicester, it’s safe to say Carroll won’t find himself on the goal sheet any time soon.
Last week, Bruce should have been sacked by Newcastle United. Now, he must. That is imperative for Newcastle’s Premier League survival, and any chance of retaining any sort of support from the fans.