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Opinion

Newcastle team v Burnley to start playing and competing again – Five changes

7 months ago
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Interesting to look at the possibilities for the Newcastle team v Burnley this weekend.

Steve Bruce (just as he did in the lead up to Crystal Palace) is talking about making changes, in both tactics and team selection.

What would you do though?

For me, the picture is clear of what needs to be done.

My Newcastle team v Burnley wouldn’t guarantee a win, as Dyche’s team are no mugs, but I think they would give us a far better chance that the players who were on the pitch on Saturday at Selhurst Park.

Dubravka isn’t even a conversation, yet again preventing a hammering at Palace.

I think Steve Bruce got the centre-backs all wrong at Palace and it showed.

Lejeune needs to play left, Lascelles in the middle (or Fernandez), then Schar on the right.

The Swiss international essential as well if we are to start playing any better, as he can play and bring it out from the back, help get it to attacking players higher up the pitch.

Danny Rose has been rubbish so far and doesn’t look fit or indeed that bothered, having him on the pitch instead of the competitive Matt Ritchie, especially against likes of Burnley, is just plain daft.

On the other side, Manquillo will have had a couple of weeks training under his belt and should play instead of Yedlin. The Spaniard was playing well before his injury and I would certainly have played him ahead of Lazaro as well if he hadn’t been red carded and suspended,. The Austrian has been looking a liability in defence most of the time, no surprise when his natural position is as a winger going forward.

This time last season Newcastle were playing some of their best football and the Hayden and Sean Longstaff partnership was key to that. Bentaleb has been very poor and can’t be allowed to stay in ahead of Hayden.

We need to get the team playing another 20 yards up the pitch and use Longstaff and Hayden’s youth and energy to help press the opposition.

Speaking of which, I would go with ASM and Almiron obviously, but with Dwight Gayle coming in. We need a goal threat and at least his pace with the other two means NUFC can press and try to get Burnley on the back foot, catch them in possession in dangerous areas, just like a very limited Palace did to us.

I would also have Almiron switched to his favoured left and whilst ASM would nominally be on the right, give him the freedom to go and pick up the ball wherever and cause problems. With Gayle and Almiron’s pace and mobility they can always create the space for the french winger to operate in and cover for him when necessary.

So with five changes from the weekend, this would be my Newcastle team v Burnley:

You may be interested to know that almost exactly a year ago it was Newcastle v Burnley at St James Park on Tuesday 26 February 2019.

Burnley arrived in great form without a Premier League defeat since 26 December, almost nine weeks.

Yet Newcastle United eased to a comfortable 2-0 win with first half goals from Fabian Schar and Sean Longstaff (goal celebration in photo above), 54% possession from the home side and 13 shots from the black and whites, with two of them finding the back of the net.

The starting eleven that day:

Dubravka, Manquillo, Schar, Lejeune, Lascelles, Ritchie, Hayden, Sean Longstaff, Almiron, Perez, Rondon

That’s right, almost exactly the same as my Newcastle team v Burnley for this Saturday.

Only two differences, ASM and Gayle instead of Rondon and Perez.

Would I rather have that pair instead of Gayle and ASM? Yes.

However, no reason why Steve Bruce can’t send out a very similar side this time, that can compete and indeed be the more dominant team, create more chances and have more possession etc, even score goals! Rather than simply sitting back and praying you don’t get beat, which appears to be Bruce’s only tactic so far…

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