What greeted full-time whistle of Newcastle United vs Brighton sums up new world
There may not have been any supporters there to witness it, but Newcastle United's players and staff will have been under no illusions as they trudged towards the tunnel following the Magpies' 3-0 defeat against Brighton. Boos or no boos, this was simply not good enough.
A year previously, in the corresponding fixture, Brighton had 71% possession at St James' Park and the black-and-whites were jeered off after an uninspiring goalless draw.
Of course, those same fans were unable to attend this behind-closed-doors fixture so they could not make their feelings clear, which made the silence at full-time all the more chilling. It was yet another sobering reminder of the situation the world is in.
Newcastle may have a stronger squad now, but this was a brutal performance - and the reality is it could have been even worse as the Seagulls ran riot on Tyneside.
The Magpies may have plenty of firepower at their disposal, both in the starting line-up and on the bench, but they failed to even register a shot on target against Brighton.
While that is one obvious issue, Newcastle were also so poor defensively. The home side shot themselves in the shot, conceding two goals in the opening seven minutes, but there was little evidence of the powers of recovery that we have often come to associate with this group after Neal Maupay put the visitors 2-0 up.Read More Related Articles Read More Related Articles
A comeback was never really on the cards and it was Brighton who always looked the likelier team to score, as the visitors did late on through Aaron Connolly.
Despite never finishing below Brighton in the Premier League, the Seagulls have proved a bogey team of sorts for the Magpies since both clubs were promoted from the Championship in 2017.
Newcastle have never beaten Brighton in the Premier League and it says it all about Graham Potter's side's dominance on Sunday that in the previous six top-flight fixtures between these two sides, there had only been four goals.
The Magpies claimed just 18 points from a possible 42 against teams below them in the table last season and these are the kind of fixtures that will go a long way to deciding whether Steve Bruce's side can break into the top 10.
Whether the Newcastle head coach will abandon the 4-4-2 he has used in all three of the Magpies' opening fixtures remains to be seen.
Brighton have a tall, imposing backline so, perhaps, it was not a surprise that Andy Carroll kept his place up front - but the key for the the black-and-whites was imposing themselves on this game.
Newcastle have not traditionally raced out of the blocks and you had to go back to 1997, when Kenny Dalglish was manager and Ian Rush was playing up front, for the last time the Magpies started the season with back-to-back league victories.
Bruce's side recorded a rare, impressive opening day win last week, but they were soon caught napping by a Brighton side who are rather fearless on the road.
No one quite embodies that attacking intent better than Tariq Lamptey and with just four minutes on the clock, the wing-back had won his side a penalty following a clumsy challenge from Allan Saint-Maximin. Neal Maupay stepped up to convert from the spot.
Newcastle were rocking and, just three minutes later, the visitors had doubled their advantage as Brighton again targeted the home side's left-hand side.
Lamptey fed Leandro Trossard down the right flank and the Belgian picked out Maupay, who made no mistake from close range to put his side 2-0 up.
Newcastle struggled to catch their breath and, frustrated, Jamaal Lascelles, Jonjo Shelvey and Jamal Lewis all went into the book in the first half an hour or so.Read More Related Articles Read More Related Articles
Saint-Maximin, so often Newcastle's talisman, struggled to get into the game after picking up a knock and was replaced by Ryan Fraser before half-time.
Clearly, Bruce needed to make additional tweaks at the break and Almiron came on in place of Carroll as Newcastle switched to a 4-3-3.
Almiron went on to create Newcastle's best opening of the game - Wilson headed over from the forward's cross just after the hour mark - but it said it all about the Magpies' struggles and Brighton's dominance that the black-and-whites failed to test Mat Ryan in the Brighton goal.
Connolly added the gloss late on with a curling effort before Yves Bissouma was sent off at the death after catching Lewis with a high boot.
The scenes at full-time were a real contrast to eight days previously at the London Stadium when Newcastle players celebrated a victory - and, clearly, there is a lot of work to do.