4. How to promote attacking football at Newcastle United?
As I mentioned earlier in this slideshow, Newcastle United have earned some impressive results this season, but the team’s overall performances have not been pretty. Newcastle United are among the lowest ranked teams when it comes to maintaining possession, completing passes, creating chances and scoring goals. In fact, the Toon are only one of four teams in the Premier League that are yet to score 25 goals this season.
My colleague, Carson A. Merk, wrote an article earlier this week with some tactical proposals for Steve Bruce to consider. While I agree with the need for change, I think Bruce just needs to alter the team’s mentality, not the formation. The 3-4-3 formation is a perfect fit for this team with quick wing-backs and dynamic wingers.
Bruce needs to end his conservative style of play, though. The coaching staff needs to be more confident in the talent they have and stop sending so many players behind the ball, which then leaves Joelinton isolated up top for long stretches in games. Moreover, with players like Miguel Almiron and Allan Saint-Maximin, who have the pace and technical skills to orchestrate attacks, on the wing, Bruce should instruct the team to feed them with the ball as many times as possible.
The current tactic of excessive defending and stringing together two passes before launching the ball upfield is not working. If this team wants to secure their Premier League status as soon as possible then they need to play attacking football, especially when they are playing at home.
5. Who should Newcastle United target in the summer?
Finally, we have arrived at what might be the most important thing for Bruce to think about during this break. Yes, the January transfer window has closed, but now is the time for Bruce to sit down with Steve Nickson, the club’s head of recruitment, and Lee Charnley, the club’s managing director, to pinpoint some quality players they wish to sign in the summer.
The Magpies are desperate for a proven striker to walk through the doors and elevate the status of the club. When looking at the current squad, it is fair to say that Newcastle United are only two or three quality players away from fighting for a Europa League spot. The team is solid defensively, the midfield is above average, but the front-line needs some new faces. Obviously, these key decisions will not be made over this break, but now is the time for the staff and the front office to start thinking ahead and have a proper plan in place for when the summer transfer window opens.