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Is It Time To Make This Change In The Team?

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.

20 comments so far

  • Lee Charnley Bunga Party

    Nov 27, 2019 at 12:01 PM

    Comment #1

    Almiron has been played out of position since Bruce has came in and its now effected his game so bad that maybe a spell out the team is necessary !

    I would rather we kept him in the team though and tried something different change formation to 4231 and have him as part of the 3 as the no 10 and have Atsu wide left and ASM wide right this way he can play his natural game and can help us avoid being outnumbered in the middle! Then put Gayle ahead of them to stretch the play with his movement and give Joelinton a rest for a few games!

    Got to try something new as if Bruce keeps doing the same thing 80 million worth of talent is just going to get badly wasted and will no doubt limp off injured and just pack it in for the season

  • Lilongwe Geordie

    Nov 27, 2019 at 12:01 PM

    Comment #2

    Didn’t see the game on Saturday, as I was starting to get my feet back under the table at youth football with a league club in England.

    From what I have read on here, it sounds like I missed absolutely nothing. From reading other reports, it is less drastic on the criticism, but no praise forthcoming.

    But all sat we were sat too deep. We did the same last season as well, and it was probably my biggest gripe. Leaving players isolated, not making use of the ball better and allowing the opposition to come at you constantly. We were exactly the same against West Ham though, just we got the luck with set piece goals on that day.

    Can’t really comment much more on the match, but it isn’t good enough.

    Agree that we need a change to that front 3. None have ever been prolific for goals or assists. This is a higher level, and they are all struggling. Problem is, how do you change to suit what we have? Particularly just before playing City.

  • toon22

    Nov 27, 2019 at 12:06 PM

    Comment #3

    I doubt anyone would score for us with the team playing as it is right now
    You don’t get the traitors GD as a manager scoring goals


  • wartongeordie

    Nov 27, 2019 at 12:10 PM

    Comment #4

    Its all a bit doom and gloom at the minute but I think people forget, we had our first 3 choice defenders out in Lacsells, Schar and Lejuine, I also think when we have Ritchie back we will be so much more creative, maybe we miss him more than we thought we would.

  • hibbit

    Nov 27, 2019 at 12:16 PM

    Comment #5


    depending who you read Ritchie could be out for another 3/6 weeks which is not good news

  • Lee Charnley Bunga Party

    Nov 27, 2019 at 12:16 PM

    Comment #6


    I think there is a big difference between last years sitting deep and this years so far! Under Rafa we would sit deep but wait for the opportunity to nick the ball and then pounce and a lot of our goals from open play were quite well worked goals but when Almiron arrived last season that all changed we were taking the games to teams and creating chances regularly. Almiron isn’t suddenly a bad player hes just not being used properly maybe teams have figured him out or hes out of position ?

    Under Bruce we just seem to sit deep and hope a long ball gets us through on goal I think in fairness Bruce is really missing Perez his work rate and link up play would help create chances with minimal possession needed whereas Joelinton and ASM don’t seem that capable of doing that at the moment and Villa had Grealish who was running the show for them in a similar role.

  • Lee Charnley Bunga Party

    Nov 27, 2019 at 12:20 PM

    Comment #7


    Yeah I think Dummett needs to come out for Schar and then have Schar RCB Fernandez CB and Clarke LCB until Lejuene is 100% to take Clarke’s place that would at least mean all centre backs are comfortable on the ball which could possibly help with our ball retention.

    There was a passage in play in the last game where we were actually applying a bit of pressure and then it came all the way back to our defence and all Dummett had to was take a touch and pass it into midfield and he just launched it due to a player chasing him down and we just lost all momentum hes good at defending but we need a bit more in possession

  • Jib

    Nov 27, 2019 at 12:20 PM

    Comment #8

    For City
    I’d be tempted to stick with Shelvey and Hayden
    and beef the midfield up with Sean Longstaff
    drop Almiron and give ASM licence to pick his
    flank as circumstances dictate.

  • martoon

    Nov 27, 2019 at 12:21 PM

    Comment #9

    When you think about it we often give silly free kicks away on the edge of the box but in the past we have mostly got away with it maybe Monday night will be a wake-up call about that?

  • hibbit

    Nov 27, 2019 at 12:23 PM

    Comment #10


    not sure what other reports you read but we were shocking, a better team would have slaughtered us in the first half and the second half wasn’t much better.
    if we give Man City those type of opportunities they will take advantage of them unlike Villa

  • Lee Charnley Bunga Party

    Nov 27, 2019 at 12:24 PM

    Comment #11


    I would like to see us try that as well it ended up a bit of a dogs dinner at Norwich when we tried something similar but it was Ki and Shelvey together !

    Just try something different if it doesn’t work fair enough but lets see some innovation

  • martoon

    Nov 27, 2019 at 12:24 PM

    Comment #12

    Jib @8 – Not a bad shout and I think I’d also rejig the back 3 like LCBP suggests.

  • Bambams

    Nov 27, 2019 at 12:28 PM

    Comment #13

    Bruce should tell Almiron he has five games, this will take some pressure off him for the next two/three games.

    You see the lad when he fails to capitalise look straight over to the bench, he is young and he will get there. He looks like he has the world on his shoulders.

    It would not be so bad if the other two (Joe ASM) were banging them in, but they are not.

    I appreciate we cant leave Almiron in the team beyond this suggestion, he just looks like he is scared to miss and panics.

  • martoon

    Nov 27, 2019 at 12:31 PM

    Comment #14

    Also when ASM was on BBC Newcastle he said his best position was the No.10 role free to to go where he wants so surely we should play to his strengths?

  • Charlie in the Gallowgate

    Nov 27, 2019 at 12:31 PM

    Comment #15

    Don’t think Man City will murder us

    BUT watching Sheff Utd against Man Utd and if we play and give them the room that we gave Villa first half we will get hammered by 5 or 6

    Agree with who said we were missing Perez

    Perez is a clever player who linked our midfield to Rondon and tended to run the channels instead of running like Almiron and Saint Max who seem to run up and down in straight lines with no link to JoeLinton who is left isolated

  • Rotonda heights

    Nov 27, 2019 at 12:39 PM

    Comment #16

    Can’t believe the idiots who booed Perez. He was vital in linking the play and was a very technical and clever player who with Rondon and only aged 25 was just getting better and better. Unbelievable how many own goals NUFC under Ashley continue to score..

  • Ron Knee

    Nov 27, 2019 at 12:39 PM

    Comment #17

    I think Bruce will go for damage limitation against Citeh so I’d be surprised if he tried anything “experimental”.

  • Lee Charnley Bunga Party

    Nov 27, 2019 at 12:41 PM

    Comment #18


    Just think the front 3 of Rondon , Perez and Almiron was a perfect blend you need a bit of something different to make the partnership work!

    Joelinton should maybe be playing the Perez role as that seems to be his game and then we need another striker to do the Rondon role which should be Carroll failing that Gayle possibly?

    If that was the case mind you it would be ASM who wouldn’t fit in so maybe Almiron drops out either way the balance isn’t correct so we need to adapt our game

  • Lindisfarne

    Nov 27, 2019 at 1:02 PM

    Comment #19

    Having had two weeks to prepare for the match at Villa I was most disappointed with setting the team up to sit back. I am not impressed with the continued use of 5 at the back and would have thought we could of pressed more in midfield, rather than playing like we were up against City. Off the ball we could attempt to immediately press the ball by using a 3421 formation, especially as we always appear to be light weight in midfield.

  • hibbit

    Nov 27, 2019 at 1:05 PM

    Comment #20

    Charlie @15

    if Man City get half the opportunists Villa got they will take them


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