The Warm Down: Newcastle move to within a point of bottom three
Photo credit:(Getty Images/Gareth Copley)

Newcastle United's draw with West Bromwich Albion on Sunday lunchtime would surely have had neutrals in a deep sleep with the lack of quality in both sides being clearly evident.

This result for The Magpies did little to ease their Premier League relegation concerns, and with Fulham defeating reigning champions Liverpool later on in the day, Steve Bruce's men now find themselves within a point of entering the bottom three.

If Newcastle suffer defeat against Aston Villa in their next game on Friday night, and The Cottagers avoid defeat to Manchester City the following day, then The Magpies will indeed find themselves in the unwanted territory of the top-flight's bottom three.

But what went wrong at the Hawthorns on Sunday? 

No strength in depth

Head coach Bruce somehow found positives to take from the draw with a side who have been in the bottom three virtually all season. What positives he saw remain unknown to Newcastle fans who were left scratching their heads at this all-to-familiar post-match routine from The Toon boss.

Admittedly, the attacking trio of Miguel Almiron, Allan Saint-Maximin and Callum Wilson are all out of action for the foreseeable, but if Newcastle are serious about staying in the Premier League for next season they need to find ways to deal with this.

It's now time for Ryan Fraser to step up to the mark with his quality on the ball, something which was seen as he assisted Jamaal Lascelles in the recent 1-1 draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers, but without players making the runs and getting into good attacking positions, he is unable to cause any problems for opposition defences.

It wasn't just in attack where there were concerns for United fans though, as the defence also looked vulnerable at times, especially when The Baggies put balls into the box.

There were multiple times when West Brom forward Mbaye Diagne got into decent positions, but fortunately for the Magpies he couldn't take his chances. Surely a striker in better form punishes the Newcastle defence in other matches.

Newcastle need to find a way to deal without the services of their pacy attacking players, and a strong defence will help with that, but down the other end of the pitch something needs to be done to get some goals which are crucial for any team, especially when right in amongst the relegation dog fight. 

New ways needed

As much as goalscoring has been an issue for Newcastle since their return to the Premier League in 2018, they do have players who know where the back of the net is.

The majority of fans expected Dwight Gayle to start against the side he spent the 2018/19 season on loan at, but this wasn't the case with Bruce opting for a front two of Fraser and Joelinton. 

Despite not really making the cut in the top-flight throughout his career, Gayle has an impressive goalscoring record in the Championship, and against a defence consisting of players who all played at that level in the 2019/20 campaign, Gayle may have stepped up to the mark.

Instead, he came on late on when the game was all but done. As much as players such as Gayle can be frustrating to watch, the best will only come out of him when his confidence grows and that comes from playing football matches. 

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