Should Bruce stick with the same lineup that defeated West Ham?

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 02: Steve Bruce, Manager of Newcastle United speaks with Jonjo Shelvey and Jetro Willems of Newcastle United during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Newcastle United at London Stadium on November 02, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 02: Steve Bruce, Manager of Newcastle United speaks with Jonjo Shelvey and Jetro Willems of Newcastle United during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Newcastle United at London Stadium on November 02, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images) /
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Newcastle United played with confidence on the road against West Ham last weekend, but should Steve Bruce stick with the exact same lineup against Bournemouth?

Steve Bruce has been enjoying some positive light in the media this week after his player selections and formation against West Ham have been praised by multiple pundits, including Alan Shearer. Newcastle United claimed their third victory of the season on Saturday, but they did so in style, scoring more than one goal (three) in a match for the first time this season.

Bournemouth is a different type of opponent, though, and they require a whole new game plan. Playing at home should make it easier for the Magpies to get on the front foot and set the tone early on, but should Bruce stick with the same players he chose in London or should different players get thrown in the mix for this clash?

Maybe One Change?

For the most part, my opinion is that Bruce should deploy the same lineup he selected last weekend against West Ham. Every player performed well, played with urgency and found ways to contribute on both ends of the pitch. That is the kind of mentality and energy this team needs in order to defeat mid-table opponents that are full of talented players.

The only change I would make is to bring Fabian Schar back into the lineup if the medical staff clears him to play against Bournemouth. The Swiss international has missed the last two games with a knee injury.

I understand that Ciaran Clark and Federico Fernandez are enjoying a good run of form at the moment, but Schar is, hands down, the best defender on the team. He is the only defender who is confrontational rather than reactive, passes the ball well from the back and has proven that he is capable of scoring goals in different ways from different spots on the pitch.

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Both Clark and Fernandez have been stellar for the Toon, but if I had to drop one of them to make room for Schar it would have to be Fernandez. He has the strength to disrupt some of Bournemouth’s attacks, but he lacks sufficient pace to keep up with Callum Wilson, Joshua King, Ryan Fraser and Harry Wilson. That being said, here is how the lineup should look against Bournemouth:

  • GK: Martin Dubravka
  • DEF: Ciaran Clark, Jamaal Lascelles, Fabian Schar*
  • MID: Jetro Willems, Isaac Hayden, Jonjo Shelvey, DeAndre Yedlin
  • ATT: Allan Saint-Maximin, Joelinton, Miguel Almiron

* If Fabian Schar is not fit to play against Bournemouth, Federico Fernandez should start in his place once again.