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Bruce Toying With These Formations This Week In Training

During an interview on Wednesday, Jamaal Lascelles revealed that the coaching staff was experimenting with different styles of play during training this week.

This revelation doesn’t come as much of a surprise since Steve Bruce mentioned the word ‘changes’ several times after the Crystal Palace defeat. The Selhurst Park display coupled with two losses on the trot has led Bruce to the conclusion that things just cannot continue as they have been.

While the performances before the Arsenal defeat weren’t convincing, the players were at least doing enough not to lose. But that has changed since the winter break, and if anything, the lads look even more uninspired.

Some of that has to do with Bruce starting the three new lads without much time to settle. The most glaring issue is the lack of any semblance of a threat in the final third.

The Athletic’s Chris Waugh has written an article detailing two formation changes that Bruce is working on in training.

The first is the 3-5-2 that Bruce has transitioned to on several occasions. He started the season in this shape but abandoned the system after the Norwich defeat in August. He has since put it to use a few times when making adjustments during a game.

Waugh also says that Bruce tested this dual striker formation in training last week before deciding to stick with the 5-4-1/3-4-2-1 he’s used for the bulk of this season. The fact that it was an away game may have impacted his decision.

The other formation under consideration is the 4-3-2-1 favored by Rafa Benitez before he adopted the five at the back system in the second half of last season.

However, Waugh doesn’t think Bruce has reached the point where he’s willing to go to a flat back four just yet. Although, he is testing several formations with only four at the back.

We think Bruce will go back to the 5-3-2 formation he started the season with. Bruce could feel more comfortable returning to this formation at St James Park rather than in an away fixture.

Bruce is also likely to significantly rotate his squad after the Crystal Palace display, which saw just one forced change from the 4-0 thrashing at Arsenal the week before.

Dwight Gayle, Isaac Hayden, Matty Longstaff, Matt Ritchie, and DeAndre Yedlin will all be hoping for starts after only getting places on the bench last Saturday.

Depending on how they fare in training this week, both Javier Manquillo and Jonjo Shelvey could also make their long-awaited returns to the pitch.

23 comments so far

  • droppy in Wallsend

    Feb 26, 2020 at 8:28 PM

    Comment #1

    The easiest change would be to actually get players over the halfway line.

  • toon22

    Feb 26, 2020 at 8:28 PM

    Comment #2

    Remember , not so long ago
    When we really didnt know who would be playing in what position
    When we sometimes didnt defend so much and attacked teams, especially after signing Miggy

    Might as well have emailed most teams our plans lol

  • toon22

    Feb 26, 2020 at 8:29 PM

    Comment #3

    Have we been sold yet or is that an impossible dream ?

  • droppy in Wallsend

    Feb 26, 2020 at 8:35 PM

    Comment #4


    With regards to the conspiracy theories earlier that was me, I find them fascinating as most are so ridiculous.

    Unless I am PR now too?

  • Just a fan

    Feb 26, 2020 at 8:36 PM

    Comment #5

    I’m watching that program is it the one with Kevin Costner.
    A poor man’s Dallas with indiscriminate killings.
    Disappointed actually.
    There was another one re sheriff reservation bad Indian can’t remember name mutch better

  • Kevin Vegan

    Feb 26, 2020 at 8:40 PM

    Comment #6

    Step one: drop Joelinton. Step 2: start anyone else up top. Literally anyone. Steve Bruce scored a bunch when he was playing and he’s not much use for anything else so why not. Couldn’t be any worse, and that head gives ASM and Almiron a decent target to bounce crosses off. Get him a kit.

  • fairscup

    Feb 26, 2020 at 8:44 PM

    Comment #7

    Just a fan – Ilike the way they brand the wranglers and that kind of stuff, it’s certainly a bloke’s job.

  • JDdubai

    Feb 26, 2020 at 8:44 PM

    Comment #8

    Come on Brucey, maybe 6 at the back at home?
    Id rather have a dog in a toon shirt up front if we go 1 up front again, would be better at chasing down long balks and running the channels than big joe.

  • toon22

    Feb 26, 2020 at 8:45 PM

    Comment #9

    Id play ASM through the middle with no recognized striker
    Lets face it we just give them something to mark with our strikers right now
    Maybe drag Carrol late on if he can walk yet

  • toon22

    Feb 26, 2020 at 8:47 PM

    Comment #10

    droppy in Wallsend

    Naa nee way your PR lol
    Im seeing what the PR response to the day was
    It is a known tactic though, its usually flat earth stuff

  • toon22

    Feb 26, 2020 at 8:49 PM

    Comment #11

    As when we dont play a striker we leave their CMs with a problem
    Get the ball to ASM, with maybe Miggy helping and run at them
    Not just knock it up to a striker with 4 ppl marking him out of the game

    So far this season we have scored most from set pieces thats the best set up to get goals with what we have and how we playing right now

  • toon22

    Feb 26, 2020 at 8:50 PM

    Comment #12

    CBs it should read

    We also need Hayden back in the side so we have something in the middle

  • droppy in Wallsend

    Feb 26, 2020 at 8:51 PM

    Comment #13


    That’s good, I was just trying to get things moving along and it’s interesting to see responses, a lot more interesting than anything from SDFC these days.

  • Just a fan

    Feb 26, 2020 at 8:52 PM

    Comment #14

    Nobody brands wrangler lol

  • Jib

    Feb 26, 2020 at 8:52 PM

    Comment #15

    toon22’s talking tactics now

  • toon22

    Feb 26, 2020 at 8:58 PM

    Comment #16


    Yes 2 left sided wing backs but they would swap regularly
    Miggy/ASM would play where ever they liked but wouldnt go farther back than the half way line

  • fairscup

    Feb 26, 2020 at 9:00 PM

    Comment #17

    just a fan – they branded the new hand last thing on Monday’s episode.

  • toon22

    Feb 26, 2020 at 9:01 PM

    Comment #18

    Bring AC on if needed
    Id rather play a kid than a mercenary and he is at least somewhere he likes to play
    Richie is a must we have missed him
    With ASM/Miggy running at the CBs who no longer have a role you can see we will get at least a bunch of set pieces which we have done well from this year

  • Lindisfarne

    Feb 26, 2020 at 9:02 PM

    Comment #19

    Has Rafa started managing City?!!!

  • toon22

    Feb 26, 2020 at 9:03 PM

    Comment #20

    With 2 quick players staying well up the picth it fill force back the attacking team to some extent as they wont want to get done for pace, they also are both pants at defending

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Feb 26, 2020 at 9:06 PM

    Comment #21

    Yeah, now he’s been outed once again, the sly PR wum. 🙂

  • droppy in Wallsend

    Feb 26, 2020 at 9:08 PM

    Comment #22


    He’s got it pretty well right too.

  • Munster Mag

    Feb 26, 2020 at 10:20 PM

    Comment #23

    Lindis, after a few years of one of the most innovative modern coaches, you might as well give fat Sam the city gig as much as rafa. The city fans wud be equally sick. After all, we saw the two men’s sideways backwards hooof football philosophies when they played each other.


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