Newcastle United struggled against Norwich City today with little going forward and the pressure increases for Steve Bruce to change his tactics.
Steve Bruce has deployed nearly the same formation and tactics in each match this season for Newcastle United. Yes, his defensive shape makes the Magpies tough to break down and allows them to steal some points in matches against big clubs. But, it also limits Newcastle’s ability to strike offensively in matches they need to. The NUFC manager alluded to the face that tactics need to be changed, but that should have been obvious before and it might be unlikely he makes changes this far into the season. But, if he does decide to make some tactical alterations, he could consider the ideas below.
A popular formation that Rafa Benitez often deployed when he wasn’t playing a defensive approach. With this, the backline would decrease by one and likely feature Danny Rose, Jamaal Lascelles, Fabian Schar or Federico Fernandez, and DeAndre Yedlin. Ahead of them, Isaac Hayden or Sean Longstaff would pair with Nabil Bentaleb. The group of three attacking players should include Allan Saint-Maximin wide left, Valentino Lazaro wide right, and Miguel Almiron as the number ten, playing behind Joelinton as the lone striker.
This would feature the same look across the backline in front of Martin Dubravka. In the midfield, the group would include Bentaleb, Hayden or Shelvey, and Lazaro. The attacking trio would be Miggy, ASM, and Joelinton.
While a formation change is the most obvious tactical switch in soccer, Bruce could decide to keep the formation but adjust some of the assignments for his players.
Joelinton playing more like a true number nine. While his work rate is helpful and commendable, Bruce could keep the big Brazilian up top to allow for quicker opportunities on the break to play him in behind rather than him playing with his back to goal closer to mid-pitch.
If he substitutes Lazaro in for Hayden or Longstaff in the central midfield pair, it would allow for Lazaro to push the ball forward with his pace and dribbling ability to add more to the attack.