Today should be the day Newcastle United fans see a new-look team as a result of the pressure Steve Bruce is facing.
After boring the Toon Army, neutral fans, and most logical-thinking pundits to death with Steve Bruce’s dinosaur brand of football, Newcastle United are expected to put on a different display today. After failing to win a game in his last eight attempts, Bruce is in the hot seat, even if the front office say he is not, and this means changes are expected against Arsenal.
Based on Bruce’s reaction to how the team performed against Sheffield United, it sounds like fans will not see nine defensive players in the lineup again for quite some time. Bruce would be wise to send Sean Longstaff, Jeff Hendrick, and Paul Dummett to the bench and keep them there.
The Magpies need to deploy their quickest, most creative, and high energy players today, and in the upcoming games against Aston Villa, Leeds United, and Everton. Callum Wilson is the most underrated striker in England despite scoring eight goals this season, but that label will change once he receives more support on a regular basis, especially when Allan Saint-Maximin is up to speed for action.
4-4-2 is the Answer
Bruce is in his comfort zone when he plays with five defenders and plans to nick a result via counter attacks or set pieces. Those days are over, whether he likes it or not. Newcastle United have been extremely difficult to watch in recent weeks and their statistics are no better.
The Toon only created seven chances against 20th-placed Sheffield United, and they have not created more than eight chances in any of their last four games. They did create twelve chances against Fulham, but that number is misleading since the opposition played with ten men in the second half.
Newcastle United need to open up in midfield and play with two strikers up top. The best performance from this team came on opening day when they defeated West Ham by playing in this shape. The Magpies are a much better team when they see more of the ball, and fans should – knock on wood – see this style of play implemented today against Arsenal.