Newcastle United desperately need to pick up three points against Arsenal in London on Monday.
Monday’s game at the Emirates Stadium will see two anxious managers do everything they can to cool the hot seats they are sitting on. Steve Bruce and his ultra-defensive tactics have finally gained more critics at the national level and he knows the style of play needs to change immediately.
For the first time in his 18 months in charge of Newcastle United, Bruce took “full responsibility” for his shocking team selection in the embarrassing defeat to Sheffield United. Bruce was quoted saying the “gloves are off now”, which hopefully indicates that fans will see an attacking lineup that is ready to compete on Monday. That being said, here are Bruce’s best lineup options to upset Arsenal.
Darlow + Back Four
Martin Dubravka made his first start since last July in the FA Cup encounter between these two teams last weekend, but England hopeful Karl Darlow will retake his place in goal for this battle. Bruce will be wise to scrap the back five setup on Monday and he should go with DeAndre Yedlin, Federico Fernandez, Ciaran Clark, and Jamal Lewis.
That back four boasts plenty of pace and decent crossing ability – on a good day – in the wide areas, as well as aggressive, confrontational defending that will make life easier for Darlow with the veterans posted in the middle.
Four in Midfield Led by Matty
If Newcastle United want to stand a chance against Arsenal then Matty Longstaff needs to be included from the opening whistle. The high energy, attack-minded youngster has to be paired with Isaac Hayden, who is always willing to do the dirty work in the middle of the park to disrupt counters and recover the ball.
The best available wingers for this clash are quite obvious: Miguel Almiron and Jacob Murphy. However, it is worth flirting with the idea of starting 18-year-old Elliot Anderson since he already has 40 minutes of action against Arsenal under his belt from last week. The expectation, though, is for speedsters Almiron and Murphy to apply constant pressure in the final third and provide some assists.
Duo Up Top
Monday’s front line will resemble the one that featured on opening day when Newcastle United created 15 chances and defeated West Ham 2-0. Callum Wilson and Andy Carroll were an effective duo in that game and Bruce will hope they can emulate that performance. Wilson has now gone a month without scoring for the Magpies and he will look to end that cold streak.
Andy Carroll seems to have solidified his place as Bruce’s second option at striker, and he could prove to be a threat in the box in the capacity of knocking down some dangerous balls for Wilson. The key to claiming three points will come down to clinical finishing. Carroll wasted two golden opportunities against Arsenal in the FA Cup, and that cannot be repeated.
4-4-2: Darlow; Yedlin, Fernandez, Clark, Lewis; Almiron, M. Longstaff, Hayden, Murphy; Wilson, Carroll.