There has been a lot of speculation about tactics this week. Steve Bruce has been using the 3-5-2 system during pre-season, but it has actually morphed into more of a 5-3-2 with the wing-backs often sitting very deep in the first two games.
After the Norwich nightmare, Steve Bruce had mentioned that all options would be looked at. We presume there could be some tactical changes against Tottenham on Sunday. However, that really should have been the case regardless.
Tottenham are a different animal to Norwich, though you wouldn’t think so after the way the Canaries tore Newcastle apart. However, Tottenham are a perennial top six-side while Norwich will do well just to survive this season.
Tactical changes should have always been on the table due to the different level of the competition. The question is, how drastic will the changes be.
Matt Ritchie spoke about the new system in his post-Norwich interview. This is what he said:
“You guys, the fans and everyone will all have their own opinions.
“Mine is that we have stick together, continue to work hard, try to improve.
“The group is very similar to what we had last season.
“I still believe the new additions can strengthen us.
“Everyone has to be patient.
“We have new players in, and there’s been a slight adjustment to the system.
“We’re only two games into the system.
“No, we didn’t play very well so we will look at that, find the reasons, work on it throughout the week and go again next week.
Ritchie is correct that it is a new system that will take time to get going consistently. However, if it doesn’t work, scrapping it as soon as possible would be the best course of action.
It will be very interesting to see how Steve Bruce sets up the side against Tottenham. Bruce did say that the plan against Norwich was to counter, but they didn’t do that very well.
Against Tottenham, we would expect an even more cautious approach. Rafa Benitez would approach top-six sides by parking the bus and hoping to nick a goal on the counter. It drew criticism from the national press, but it was very effective.
Steve Bruce– no need for heroics on Sunday, just keep it close
We would hope that Steve Bruce also adopts a similarly cautious approach at Spurs. For all the talk of playing open football, there is a time and place for such aesthetics. It is not away to Spurs.
The Chronicle have an interview with Chris Waddle. He believes parking the bus is the route to go down at Spurs:
“Tottenham are on a high again, they have been top four and to the Champions League final.
“There’s a lot of confidence around that squad now.
“It’s like looking on the reverse in some ways.
“Tottenham will be looking at this and thinking: ‘If we want top four again, we have to beat teams like Newcastle.’
“Steve will have to get the side working again, and it’ll be a hard-working performance again on the counter.
“Can they soak the pressure up and hit them on the break like Villa did for a period?
“If you go toe to toe with Spurs there will only be one winner.
“Steve has to get his tactics right because confidence is a little bit low after the first two games.
A thrashing at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium would be another blow to the already suffering confidence levels at the club. Steve Bruce needs a performance at Spurs. He needs the lads to show passion and discipline.
A result, at this point, would be a bonus. Newcastle need to keep it close, and re-introduce the defensive composure that was absent at Norwich.