When Steve Bruce was appointed on July 17th, Newcastle were in China playing in the Asia Premier League Trophy against Wolves. We got thrashed 4-0 and were set up in a 4-1-4-1 under the tutelage of Ben Dawson and Neil Redfearn.
After a few days of training with Bruce, the formation for the next match 3 days later against West Ham was a 5-3-2/3-5-2. It worked out well for that game as we were able to win 1-0.
Bruce used the formation throughout the preseason and in our first two games against Arsenal and at Norwich. After the horror at Norwich, he ditched the system for Tottenham, which resulted in a 1-0 win and our first points of the season.
With Allan Saint-Maximin possibly out with another hamstring injury, we wonder if Steve Bruce would consider going back to his original formation. He has the players to make it work, but it would need some serious tweaking.
If he were to use it for Burnley on Saturday, this is how we would envision the team assuming Saint-Maximin and Ciaran Clark are not fit.
While it was not very successful, the team has had time to gel since then and it could be an option while Saint-Maximin is out. The extra midfielder would make room for Sean Longstaff to get back into the team.
It would also allow Dwight Gayle or Yoshinori Muto to play in a more natural role for them. There would be plenty of choices with the front two as well, even having Andy Carroll and Joelinton on at the same time.
We don’t think Bruce will risk such a drastic change at this point in the season with the team playing so well. But it is some ‘food for thought’ as Steve Bruce likes to say.