Local injury analyst Ben Dinnery has issued the following response after Steve Bruce’s press conference this morning, which confirmed five players out and Jonjo Shelvey and Miguel Almiron being doubts.
After losing Saint-Maximin for around a month, it seems unlikely that Steve Bruce would risk Jonjo Shelvey (hamstring) and Almiron (calf) at Turf Moor tomorrow. #NUFC
— Ben Dinnery (@BenDinnery) December 13, 2019
Yesterday, we predicted a heavily rotated lineup with four changes, but it included both Shelvey and Almiron in the starting eleven.
Going under Ben Dinnery’s assumption that Steve Bruce won’t risk either of these two players, this is a revised predicted lineup for tomorrow. It’s a return to the formation that Bruce tried earlier this season.
This is the 3-5-2 formation that Bruce implemented in the preseason and to an extent, our first two matches this season. It was ditched after the woeful performance at Norwich.
However, he has minimal options out wide without both Allan Saint-Maximin and Miguel Almiron. So we think there is a chance that Bruce could go back to having two strikers and a three-man midfield.
The positive is that both Longstaff brothers will be back in the team and itching to impress after not starting since the Wolves draw at St James Park on October 27th.
It will also take a little pressure off of Joelinton as he can drop deeper behind Andy Carroll, who will spearhead the attack. Bruce can also bring Dwight Gayle in off the bench to play off either Joelinton or Andy Carroll in the second half if we are pushing for a goal.
Both Jetro Willems and DeAndre Yedlin can provide the width and should push higher up the pitch than Matt Ritchie and Emil Krafth did when this formation was initially implemented.
The bench would look something like this with limited options:
Darlow, Manquillo, Krafth, Lejeune, Atsu, Gayle, and Muto
It’ll be fascinating to see what Bruce does for tomorrow. Another option is to keep the 5-4-1 formation and move DeAndre Yedlin to the right-wing in place of Miguel Almiron. However, we think Bruce wants to experiment a bit, and that opportunity has now presented itself.
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