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Bruce Makes Broad Changes In Our Predicted Lineup For Burnley

After much deliberation, this is the team we are predicting Steve Bruce will select for tomorrow’s match against Burnley. It has five changes from the 1-0 loss at Crystal Palace.

Keith Downie’s revelation this morning that Bruce would move away from having five at the back heavily influenced our thinking with this formation. We had assumed he’d keep five at the back and go with two strikers and a three man midfield.

However, there are problems with that as it doesn’t suit our most dangerous player, Allan Saint-Maximin. So it’s a return to the 4-4-1-1, which Bruce used at Leicester City in September.

A conventional 4-4-2 was under consideration with Joelinton and Gayle as the strikers, but that’s too similar to how Burnley play, and we think Joelinton will be dropped over Miguel Almiron.

While it’s a risk to start Jonjo Shelvey so soon after returning, Bruce has shown a propensity to start players after being back in training. So it’s likely that Shelvey and Isaac Hayden will be back together again in the midfield.

Our thinking on the wings is getting crosses into the box. With a flat back four, Ritchie would be vulnerable at left-back so he’s moved further up the pitch to swing in deliveries from the left.

That moves Allan Saint-Maximin to the right wing, where he can continue to run at the opposition but also head for the byline and whip in some crosses.

While both Gayle and Almiron are diminutive in stature, their movement and quickness could allow them to pounce on loose balls.

Newcastle also released a video of a training session on Thursday, where they worked extensively on sending low crosses into the area.

This will also allow Dwight Gayle to sit higher up the pitch as Almiron can drop deep to link with the midfield. It’s also a possibility Bruce sticks with Joelinton but in a deeper role, and Miguel moves to the left-wing.

However, dropping Matt Ritchie for three straight matches would not be advisable. If it ends up not working very well, Ritchie and Saint-Maximin can easily switch flanks and play as inverted wingers which is similar to how Bruce played on occasion when at Aston Villa.

Lascelles and Fernandez are the safest pairing at center-back in a back four while Rose and Manquillo are the best options at full-back unless Emil Krafth is deemed fit. The Swede returned to training this week. DeAndre Yedlin is too much of a defensive liability in this formation.

There could be too many sweeping changes for Bruce to go this route. However, he’s got to remove some of the restraints he’s put on this team and we’re trying to get inside Bruce’s head a bit. So keep in mind this is a prediction, not a recommendation. 🙂

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56 comments so far

  • John Tudor

    Feb 28, 2020 at 1:57 PM

    Comment #1

    Lost for words if he does that

  • #BoycottAshley ( OP)

    Feb 28, 2020 at 2:01 PM

    Comment #2

    Same formation with 2 changes is my guess.

  • Novocastrian66

    Feb 28, 2020 at 2:07 PM

    Comment #3

    The FA have just announced that if there is widespread disruption of the fixture list because of the Coronavirus, all remaining fixtures will be played out on FIFA 20. The opposing managers will take the controls using the current squads only. The home team will have the choice of which console is to be used. All matches will be streamed live and there will be no VAR.
    Steve Bruce was asked which would be his preferred device and he replied he would be using an Atari 2600.

  • dogfish

    Feb 28, 2020 at 2:21 PM

    Comment #4

    Anyone else baffled that our centre backs apparently aren’t good enough to play in a 2? Centre back is the only position we have quality in, most of them could get a game at City or Liverpool. Lascelles and Lejune has a good partnership after we were promoted as well.

    My opinion our central midfielders aren’t good enough to play in a two. They’re slow on the ball, slow across the pitch. 4-3-3 surely the way to go/4-5-1 as we’re so negative and boring.

  • dogfish

    Feb 28, 2020 at 2:22 PM

    Comment #5

    I imagine bentaleb, ritchie benched almiron out wide. Seems harsh to finally drop Joelinton when you’re planning to get players up the pitch and around him

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Feb 28, 2020 at 2:25 PM

    Comment #6


    Good choice!

  • Big Bruce Stars.

    Feb 28, 2020 at 2:26 PM

    Comment #7

    Players will always say they support their manager because they will be contractually obliged to and to speak out would be incredibly damaging to them personally. You will only get the true story once said fat jester has taken his leave and packed his juggling balls

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Feb 28, 2020 at 2:27 PM

    Comment #8

    I’d play Rose only if he has a go faster wheel! (Judge Dredd joke)

  • stan anderson

    Feb 28, 2020 at 2:29 PM

    Comment #9

    Talking of a more attack minded formation,so let’s drop our 40 Mill.striker.
    Sounds about right.
    He is not a striker never was never will be,but he is the fall guy.
    Shearer would’ve struggled to score in this team.
    What a proper cabbage heed he is.
    Mackem,s secret agent if you ask me.

  • beddersmag

    Feb 28, 2020 at 2:30 PM

    Comment #10

    Interesting to see joelinton one of the few in shorts

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Feb 28, 2020 at 2:30 PM

    Comment #11


    I was going to add to that the fact that if they criticise him they might not get picked for the team. But who picks the team now seems to be a moot point!

  • beddersmag

    Feb 28, 2020 at 2:31 PM

    Comment #12

    On the contract situation. Might it be too optimistic to think they are waiting as our mega rich new owners wont want players of the current calibre? ? yes probably

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Feb 28, 2020 at 2:33 PM

    Comment #13


    I reckon a few games off the bench for him might be a good idea.

  • toonbrother

    Feb 28, 2020 at 2:35 PM

    Comment #14

    Not sure there’s wisdom in playing Ritchie as a winger
    He lacks basic ability to take on opposing defenders
    No speed or creativity
    Atsu would make a MUCH better winger

    Alternatively we could go with 4-3-3
    With Matty Longstaff playing the advanced midfield role
    Miggy and asm Playing either side of the main striker (Linton or Gayle)

  • Jib

    Feb 28, 2020 at 2:42 PM

    Comment #15

    If Bruce is going for a tactical sea change
    4 – 3 – 3 is the way
    The back four is debatable
    Our best mid 3 is Shelvey , Hayden , Longstaff (S)
    Our best front 3 is Joelinton , Almiron , St Maximin

  • #cans

    Feb 28, 2020 at 2:45 PM

    Comment #16

    I’d drop Linton for Gayle and have a lacy front three

  • #cans

    Feb 28, 2020 at 2:46 PM

    Comment #17

    Pacy even although if they want to wear lacy shorts it’s up to them )

  • dogfish

    Feb 28, 2020 at 2:47 PM

    Comment #18

    Jib-Swap (S) for (M)

  • Rotonda heights

    Feb 28, 2020 at 2:49 PM

    Comment #19

    has to be 433

  • dogfish

    Feb 28, 2020 at 2:50 PM

    Comment #20

    Are the players shite or is Bruce shite? I really don’t know. both?

  • BlacknWhiteBarmy

    Feb 28, 2020 at 2:55 PM

    Comment #21

    Cant see that. Its got to be a flat back 7 2 holding midfielders and
    A n other marooned up front.

    Hold out for 90 mins and then go to a 434 in extra time

  • Jib

    Feb 28, 2020 at 2:57 PM

    Comment #22
  • Assassins Inc

    Feb 28, 2020 at 2:57 PM

    Comment #23

    I think the reason for playing Ritchie at a winger is one minute into the game Bruce goes back to five at the back.

  • Just a Fat Neil Warnock

    Feb 28, 2020 at 2:59 PM

    Comment #24

    We can really spring a surprise on Burnley by changing formation. Oh wait we just told all the papers.

  • Jib

    Feb 28, 2020 at 3:05 PM

    Comment #25

    With regard to Bayer Leverkusen
    They have drawn Rangers in the Europa League
    What’s your Glasgow accent like ?

  • Moonraker15

    Feb 28, 2020 at 3:11 PM

    Comment #26

    Whatever team or formation he plays, if Joelinton’s in it we have no chance! Give the guy a rest to take the pressure of him. He’s poor but needs a period out of the team!

  • DaveD1000

    Feb 28, 2020 at 3:13 PM

    Comment #27

    New kit sponsors….Hazmat

  • Essex Geordie Bill

    Feb 28, 2020 at 3:19 PM

    Comment #28

    Games could be played behind locked doors, that should give the Toon a chance as Mikem has cornered the market in mannequins!

  • fairscup

    Feb 28, 2020 at 3:21 PM

    Comment #29

    Same team I posted yesterday exept wingers are where they should be in mine in my opinion.


    Feb 27, 2020 at 11:40 AM
    Comment #19

    This team would win:

    Manq Fernandez Jamaal Rose
    Ritchie Hayden Shelvey Maxi

    Yedlin if manq not fit
    Matty if Shelv not fit
    Possibly Lej for Rose if still fat.

    Attack Attack take em by surprise

  • Assassins Inc

    Feb 28, 2020 at 3:24 PM

    Comment #30

    I would though put Max on the left with Ritchie behind him, play Valentino Lazaro on the right.
    But if the idea behind this is to put more crosses into the box then he surely will play Joe as Gayle isn’t really big enough to deal with defenders two ft bigger than him.

  • Just a Fat Neil Warnock

    Feb 28, 2020 at 3:27 PM

    Comment #31

    Id be surprised if we still play in front of a crowd by next weekend. Italy is off. France Germany Spain got 20 new cases yesterday which means theyll be up to a 1000 in about a week. We can only be a day or two behind. Id be disappointed if they cancel the season but happy if it means we arent relegated.

  • fairscup

    Feb 28, 2020 at 3:29 PM

    Comment #32

    Assassins – isn’t Lazaro suspended?

  • Ron Knee

    Feb 28, 2020 at 3:29 PM

    Comment #33

    Just a Fat

    Every cloud, and all that…

  • fairscup

    Feb 28, 2020 at 3:30 PM

    Comment #34

    If the season is cancelled then we are safe and ripe for takeover.

  • Jib

    Feb 28, 2020 at 3:31 PM

    Comment #35
  • Anglo Saxon

    Feb 28, 2020 at 3:32 PM

    Comment #36

    Would miky pay the cabbage his bonus for staying up?

  • Jib

    Feb 28, 2020 at 3:37 PM

    Comment #37
  • Just a Fat Neil Warnock

    Feb 28, 2020 at 3:44 PM

    Comment #38

    if bruce stays, then lets hope it gets cancelled next year too. then bruce can boast he kept us up two years.

  • Anglo Saxon

    Feb 28, 2020 at 3:45 PM

    Comment #39


  • Assassins Inc

    Feb 28, 2020 at 3:46 PM

    Comment #40


    Shite, yes he is, good point.
    God damn, two more thoughts here.
    Play Tom Allan on the right, now that would be a surprise.
    Maybe play Gayle on the wing with Joe target man and Migs playing number ten role.
    It’s going to be interesting come game time, hope whatever it is works, we really need a win badly.


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