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Opinion

Thinking outside the box – With this Newcastle team v Chelsea, Steve Bruce could deliver a result

2 weeks ago
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So, how does Steve Bruce set a Newcastle team v Chelsea up to beat, or at least get a result against, the side from West London next Saturday?

We have a problem up top, as it’s looking impossible to see how Callum Wilson can be fit in time. I would hold him back for Aston Villa away which would give him three weeks from now to rest his hamstring injury.

Bruce really must take extreme caution as Wilson has been excellent so far and the Head Coach must not jeopardise the player’s fitness and the club’s long term benefit for such short-term gains, for if Wilson really breaks down at this stage, he could be out for months.

The club’s problems since Bruce took over have mainly been with regard to creating chances and scoring goals. Personally, I think he’s made the defence worse as well – but that might be just me.

Let’s not criticise everything he does because as you know, we’ll have all and sundry piling in to defend him and in my opinion, the indefensible.

Let’s be frank, as it stands I’m not expecting anything against Chelsea, in fact I’m expecting a few going in Karl Darlow’s goal to be honest, but I do think it could be a chance to try out something a little different.

Bruce seems intent on playing a back four one minute and then changes his mind and switches to a back five the next. The only problem I have is that he’s shoehorned Jacob Murphy out to right wing back and whilst he’s performed admirably, it’s not his position and will do the player and the Head Coach no favours if persevered with.

I prefer a back five to preserve the security of the defence as the flat back four leaves us way too open and it exposes the weaknesses of Jamaal Lascelles. However, it also allows Jamal Lewis the chance to bomb down the left flank when we get a chance to attack. You can pick who you like on the right hand side as each player you could pick is much of a muchness. We simply don’t have a decent right wing back at the club.

In the midfield we are similarly lacklustre.

I like Isaac Hayden but we have no creativity, nobody else who can put a tackle in and little to no pace either. It’s little wonder fans point out how backwards we’ve gone under Bruce when we can’t find a single position we are truly happy with apart from the goalie. But still, he’s doing a good job, apparently.

Moving on, I suppose the question to ask is: When you’re struggling to decide on which striker to play in the absence of Callum Wilson, which one do you pick when options are so thin on the ground? The answer is revolutionary (or to Bruce it will be). Hear me out because I suspect this opinion will divide the room – You simply don’t play one.

Miguel Almiron is heading home early due to him being suspended for Paraguay’s next game, so he will be fully rested to be in this Newcastle team v Chelsea. I would utilise him as a false nine with both Maximin and Murphy operating behind/around him. If we are going to surrender possession as per usual, then at least have a good set of attacking player to counter attack.

Personally, I think if we could get the team to retain the ball for longer periods, this set up could be utilised more often and to good effect, only with Callum Wilson in the role of Almiron and the Paraguayan moving into Murphy’s position. Either way, we need to attack with more intent and if that means using Almiron in a slightly different way for the good of the team, all the better.

Steve Bruce has options available that he could use and a few choices to make, not just the Chelsea game but the rest of the season. Thinking outside the box is always a good idea, getting our attacking players into the opposition box more often is imperative…

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