Newcastle United takeover players must be getting a little hot under the collar as struggles continue – Liam Kennedy's SEVEN takeaways

It wasn’t pretty. It rarely is with Newcastle United.

Sunday, 20th December 2020, 12:00 pm

Another home game against another recently-promoted Premier League side, another scraped point to add to the unattractively garnered tally which now stands at an actually respectable 18 from the opening 13.

The pundits keep telling Newcastle United fans to be grateful for what they are served – few feel in the mood to accept without complaint the type of dish presented at St James’s Park on Saturday – nor does our writer Liam Kennedy.

Here’s his SEVEN key takeaways from the Fulham bore draw, including takeover concerns, the over reliance on Callum Wilson and more...

Newcastle United's English striker Callum Wilson (C) celebrates scoring a penalty during the English Premier League football match between Newcastle United and Fulham at St James' Park in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, north east England on December 19, 2020.

The slide that puts everything at risk

A point is better than nowt - but club insiders were eyeing seven points from United's last three, with the Magpies falling three short of that.

They made very hard work of a trio of games against three sides who were in the Championship last season. That trend is VERY concerning heading into probably the Magpies' toughest sequence of games in the Premier League season.

They NEED to keep their head above water this season, because who knows what lies in wait heading into 2021.

The trends are concerning. Outplayed, arguably, by all three sides promoted to the top flight last summer in the space of eight days. Nine goals conceded in the process. Some people with a lot of money at stake will be looking very closely at recent results, and will no doubt be getting a touch hot under the collar.

Without Wilson? It’s not worth thinking about

Callum Wilson is already Newcastle United's top scorer this season.

The frontman has eight Premier League goals to his name, and another three assists to boot.

No team is more reliant on one player in their squad in the Premier League.

Life without him doesn't bare thinking about. He looks to be the difference between a relegation battle and mere flirtations with it.

Imagine he came down with even a medium term injury that kept him out for a month? Ultimately some bad luck like that for Bruce – he’s had more than enough good – could prove fatal for his United side, who, to their credit, always seem to be able to pull results out the bag, even when all seems lost.

Are the players playing for the manager?

The Newcastle United rumour mill has burst into overdrive in the last few weeks - and one thing constantly levelled at this squad is, are they playing for the manager?

I think that's a little unfair on this bunch of players. Effort can't be faulted in my opinion, but what can be questioned is whether the manager himself is setting them up right and getting the best out of what he has.

He isn't, plain and simple. And that needs to improve.

Scraping lucky points is one thing, doing it for a whole season is far fetched.

And United cannot just rely upon some individual brilliance to scrape them out of games. They need to play more on the front foot.

Newcastle United's 'ghost' midfield

Arguably, playing Jonjo Shelvey and Sean Longstaff together in the centre of midfield is United's best option - although, I'm sure Matty Longstaff would have something to say about that.

Despite it potentially being Newcastle's best on paper, it just doesn't seem to work out on the field. Tidy, but largely anonymous, the duo almost acted as a 'ghost' midfield against Fulham.

Problem is, that without signings, it probably is as good as Newcastle will get this season in that department.

By hook or by crook, Bruce needs to strengthen this department, even if it means weakening another to get what his team so desperately needs. They can’t go on in this passive nature in what should be the spine of the side.

Where's Matty?

Newcastle United, like every other side in the top flight, were allowed to name NINE players on the bench for the first time this weekend.

Still, despite the extra numbers, no Matty Longstaff.

If the player is not injured - and there is no indication he is - then the player has to leave in January. The way the season has panned out I wonder if he thinks he should have left in the summer, too.

A loan is the only way the player's stagnation can be sparked into life. Development and games are key at his age - he doesn't seem to be getting either.

The Yedlin improvement

DeAndre Yedlin has become a real fringe player at United in the final year of his contract.

But, is he really that bad? On last night's evidence he looks an OK bet at right back in this side.

He is certainly no worse than Emil Krafth, who does not offer a lot both ways. At least Yedlin overlaps and has pace.

Clark off day

The Magpies shipped five at Leeds bit Ciaran Clark was probably one of the Magpies' stand out players - they only conceded one against Fulham but the Irishman didn't cover himself in glory.

Lax from deliveries into the box, allowing his marker far too much time and space at regular intervals, Clark has a bit of an iffy one at SJP.

Usually Mr Reliable, he's allowed an off day.

And while Federico Fernandez’s injury, if that's what it is, would be a cause for concern, Isaac Hayden has actually stepped in well, when called upon a little further back.