Steve Bruce will have another selection dilemma this week but for all the wrong reasons. Last week, Bruce kept players like Fabian Schar and Florian Lejeune from making their returns due to the excellent performances of Ciaran Clark and Federico Fernandez.
There are also players like Matty Longstaff and Christian Atsu who have lost their places in the team after playing very well when they got their chance.
Bruce could decide to shake up his team after the disappointing game at Aston Villa and bring some players back into the fold.
This week could be similar to the one leading to the win at Manchester United in which Bruce brought in Ciaran Clark and Matty Longstaff while handing starts to Allan Saint-Maximin and DeAndre Yedlin, who were previously out injured.
One player that may get a chance again is Christian Atsu. Atsu has been limited to late-game cameos since Allan Saint-Maximin returned against Manchester United.
The 27-year-old has looked good when coming on and was also playing well when he was dropped. It was a bit harsh on Atsu being dropped though it turned out to be the right call as Allan Saint-Maximin has been our best player over the past few months.
However, if Atsu does come back into the team we don’t think Saint-Maxminin’s place will be the one under threat.
It could be time for Atsu to come in for Miguel Almiron, who was just woeful against Aston Villa. Though it is a difficult decision as the Paraguayan was outstanding two weeks ago against Bournemouth.
Speaking on Sky Sports, Jamie Carragher thinks it’s time for Miguel to come out of the team. The Chronicle have published some of his comments.
This is what the former Liverpool defender had to say about Almiron’s performance on Monday night:
“When I watch Almiron, he almost looks like he’s on fast forward.
“The pace breaking is fantastic but the lack of quality in front of the goal really let them down but it was more before they even got to the finish tonight.
“They’re dangerous but the lack of quality massively lets them down. We’re laughing because in some ways we like what we’re seeing in terms of the burst of pace, you think it’s a nightmare for defenders, but I do think it has come to the stage now where Almiron has to come out the team.
“He hasn’t scored a goal or created a goal in how many games? 23.
“In some ways I feel a bit sorry for him, I felt that when he came in under Rafa he was trying too hard, but now you’re getting to the stage where you are worried if there is actually enough quality there to be in this team and in the Premier League.
“He had a tough start, a new manager comes in and he’s starting a new season, but to not get a goal or an assist, that’s actually hard to do if you’re an attacking player. I think it might be time for him to come out.”
Maybe a spell out of the team will do Miguel Almiron some good. He has started every game this season, and possibly putting his place under threat will get the best out of the 25-year-old.
There just aren’t very many options to replace Almiron at the moment other than Christian Atsu. Christian has shown some creativity this season, and his assist on the Joelinton goal at Tottenham was sublime.
While Steve Bruce seems to want to persevere with Almiron and not change his front three, Christian Atsu has done everything asked of him this season and deserves an opportunity.