When the team news was first announced, we were a little disappointed with the selection. It appeared that Bruce was going to go with Jeff Hendrick on the right once again when there were better options in the team.
That ended up not being the case as Bruce deployed a midfield three with Isaac Hayden shielding the backline. Hendrick and Jonjo Shelvey manned the midfield in front of him.
However, whatever Bruce was trying to do just didn’t work out. While a lot of the blame lies with the decision to sit back after the early lead, the front three of Callum Wilson, Allan Saint-Maximin, and Joelinton struggled to impact the game.
The Shields Gazette has published some of Bruce’s comments when asked about his choice in attack with Ryan Fraser and Miguel Almiron available. Here is Bruce’s answer:
“The one thing that we’ve got is that alternative. I just thought Joe, Allan, and Callum did very, very well last time out, and, I think, deserved to stay in the team. That’s always going to be the debate now.
“Thankfully, we’re in a good position in that area of the pitch. They deserved to get the start.”
We’re not surprised that Bruce opted for Joelinton over either Almiron or Fraser. Joelinton was coming off a string of effective performances while both Miguel and Ryan featured heavily for their countries over the international break.
What concerns me most is that Newcastle are far too inclined to sit deep even though Bruce has constantly said he wants to have a go at teams. Last night, we were gifted an early lead and squandered it by allowing Manchester United an easy path back into the game.
While the Red Devils were going to be on the front foot after going down, Newcastle made it far too easy for them to get into their rhythm. It ended up with another freefall of a display after riding high for a couple of weeks.