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Opinion

This is the big problem if Steve Bruce does play Miguel Almiron and Ryan Fraser

1 month ago
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Newcastle fans have increasing been calling for Miguel Almiron and Ryan Fraser to be named in the NUFC starting eleven.

Steve Bruce’s ultra negative tactics seen as only part of the problem.

The Newcastle United Head Coach repeatedly seeing his team selection called into question.

The subject came up yet again on Friday after the 4-1 hammering and poor performance against Man Utd, in advance of the Wolves match on Sunday.

Steve Bruce once again asked why Miguel Almiron and Ryan Fraser aren’t getting picked.

One of the reasons Bruce puts forward is that he has so many good attacking players fighting for a place.

These are the Premier League minutes each of these players has had who Steve Bruce highlights:

445 Wilson

286 Joelinton

271 ASM

147 Carroll

128 Almiron

91 Fraser

16 Murphy

Nobody would argue with Wilson and ASM getting onto the pitch so often but as for the other three players Steve Bruce names, Andy Carroll hasn’t scored a Premier League goal in over 30 months, Joelinton has scored only two in 43 PL appearances, whilst Jacob Murphy has only scored one PL goal in his entire career.

The simple fact is, that along with ASM and Wilson, Almiron and Fraser are the only two players that Newcastle fans can see having any real positive effect in changing Newcastle’s fortunes going forward. To get away from being arguably the most boring team in the Premier League and one that offers so little goal threat.

Miguel Almiron and Ryan Fraser are not only capable of scoring goals and providing assists, they are also capable of helping Newcastle play far better football and control games a lot more.

Steve Bruce doesn’t mention him but obviously Jeff Hendrick is one of the players who he is preferring to play ahead of Almiron and Fraser, Hendrick has played 432 of the 450 PL minutes so far and after a debut at West Ham where everything fell right for him (a goal and an assist after only 9 goals and 5 assists in four PL seasons with Burnley), he has offered absolutely nothing going forward, playing the ball backwards constantly.

As for Joelinton, he offers zero threat to the opposition goal and is another being preferred.

The big problem for me is that even if Steve Bruce does play Miguel Almiron and Ryan Fraser, whether it is against Wolves or any other match, I’m worried it might make zero difference.

It is one thing picking the right players but then if your tactics and formation completely stifle their attacking talents, what is the point?

Steve Bruce has constantly played players such as Almiron, as simply extra defenders throughout last season, with even ASM expected to play so deep that he usually gets possession closer to his own penalty area than the halfway line.

I don’t think Steve Bruce has a clue on how to get the best out of individuals or the team, his tactics going no further than everybody defend and if we do get possession the odd time, give the ball to ASM and hope he does something.

Sadly, if say Almiron and Fraser start against Wolves, I can well see the same ultra defensive tactics meaning their inclusion making no difference, then Steve Bruce afterwards, desperate to say that this proves he was right not to be selecting them in the first place.

Maybe the saddest thing of all, beyond Mike Ashley and Steve Bruce still being here, is that there is a feeling amongst Newcastle fans, that a decent manager would be getting far more out of this group of players, both in terms of results and performances.

Steve Bruce quizzed on Ryan Fraser and Miguel Almiron at his pre-Wolves press conference:

“It is probably fair to say they have (Miguel Almiron and Ryan Fraser) not had that much of a chance yet but we are only four or five games in.

“With Ryan in particular, he hadn’t kicked a ball since March [2020].

“We knew we had to box a bit clever with him and that’s the way we’ve been. Playing for Scotland has certainly helped him, that’s for sure.

“You know what I think of Miguel Almiron but I did think it was going to be unfair on him in particular last weekend [before Man Utd] when he didn’t get back on the Friday from being halfway around the world in South America.

“He didn’t come into the equation last week but with the way he plays and trains, the way he is in general, he is always there or thereabouts, he is a very good player.

“The one thing that we have got as a squad at the moment, is we have got five or six attacking players really pushing for a place. Ryan [Fraser], Miguel [Almiron], Allan [Saint-Maximin], Andy Carroll, Callum Wilson.

“They are all good players and you can also throw in Jacob Murphy, who has done very well in the cup competitions.

“We have got competition for places and they will all play their part.

“We are only five games in and we can’t pick them all…but that’s what we’ve got a squad for.”

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