This Steve Bruce team is changing the conversation at Newcastle United
The late, great Sir Bobby Robson was in charge the last time these two sides met in the Premier League at Elland Road.
Two goals from Alan Shearer, on from the penalty spot, saw Newcastle United draw 2-2 with Leeds United in August 2003. Alan Smith and Mark Viduka – two players who would later move to St James’s Park – were on target for Leeds United.
So much has happened since then.
Steve Bruce, of course, was among the candidates to succeed Sir Bobby when was sacked early the following season, finally got his chance at Newcastle last year following the departure of Rafa Benitez.
And his team is comfortably placed in the Premier League following back-to-back wins. Newcastle, 13th with 17 points, aren’t part of the relegation discussion this season, which is unusual enough in itself.
The club, which has a game in hand, is nine points above the relegation zone – and three points behind sixth-placed Manchester City. Bruce, however, hasn’t had too much credit – yet.
The early part of the campaign was dominated by talk about tactics and formations amid weekly chopping and changing. The team has looked more settled of late, but only time will tell if Bruce – who, without Allan Saint-Maximin, has switched to a back four and played Joelinton off Callum Wilson up front – has found the right balance.
For now, Newcastle are looking up the table.
If that’s still the case in a few months time, then the conversation at the club really will have changed for the better this season.