What if Newcastle United played without a striker?

Miguel Almiron of Newcastle United with Allan Saint-Maximin. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)
Miguel Almiron of Newcastle United with Allan Saint-Maximin. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images) /

Newcastle United continue to search for goals from their strikers, but how would the Magpies look if they went with a striker-less formation?

Yesterday’s match included a few major misses at close range from Dwight Gayle. This was just another outing where the target man for Newcastle United struggled to find the back of the net. Between Joelinton, Dwight Gayle, Yoshinori Muto, and Andy Carroll, there is a total of ONE Premier League goal. While the striker position will almost surely be addressed in the summer, there is still a decent chunk of the season remaining. For Newcastle to be more dangerous in the attack down the stretch, should they actually play with a true striker?

Miguel Almiron is at his best when he is playing as a number ten, but what if he served essentially as a false-9? He would have the freedom to roam in the middle of the attack and could run in behind the central defenders, just like he did on the first Newcastle goal vs. West Brom. He can still press the backline defensively and is a willing participant in tracking back, too. Allan Saint-Maximin can continue to play on the left wing and combine with Miggy in the middle, which they have shown the ability to do. Valentino Lazaro has featured as a right wing-back, but he is not a natural defender and could move forward into a spot on the right wing. He did well in an advanced position vs. WBA and that would give NUFC a skillful, speedy attacking three of Almiron, ASM, and Lazaro. Matt Ritchie can move back as a third central midfielder or he can play as a number ten, where his left foot will be more useful than when he’s on the right wing. You’d lose the hold-up play of a guy like Joelinton, but if that never ends up in goals anyway, what’s the point?

In this situation, you can bring a striker off the bench if you need to and the shape can be easily adjusted. Based on how long it took Steve Bruce to move away from a back five, I will not hold my breath on his utilizing this outside the box formation. But, it could open things up in the attack for Newcastle United down the stretch.