With fears that DeAndre Yedlin could be set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines and Newcastle already woefully short on full-backs, we’re wondering if Rafa Benitez may give a ‘three at the back’ another crack.
Benitez is stubborn. He won’t stray away from his often-used 4-2-3-1 formation easily, however there’s a few reasons why he may just be considering this.
Before I look at the reasons why, here’s the teams/formations he *might* just trial to IF Yedlin’s injury does prove to be serious:
Now, you may be wondering why on earth Rafa would suddenly switch, however he has trialled something similar in the past.
He used it once or twice last season – once in a cup defeat away to Chelsea – and although it didn’t quite work, he may be forced to give it another try this season.
Firstly, we have several options at centre-back now. Dummett is well suited to playing as a left centre-back and we also have new boys Federico Fernandez and Fabian Schar who will be more than capable of filling in alongside Lascelles.
It could also solve our ongoing problems at full-back. Javier Manquillo is currently the man ready to fill in at left-back should anything happen to Dummett (although I use the term ‘ready loosely), however it looks like he’ll be forced to slot in at right-back should we stick to a 4-2-3-1 as a result of Yedlin’s injury.
We might just get away with this, but Dummett and Manquillo are currently our ONLY fit full-backs. With Gamez and Haidara released, Lazaar nowhere to be seen and no full-back signed over the summer, we’re so short in this department.
The use of three centre-backs would then see us use wing backs – something Chelsea have done so effectively recently (Alonso and Moses) and a role Kenedy has often played whenever he was given a chance at Stamford Bridge.
Whether Ritchie could carry out this role on the other side is open for debate, but his willingness to track back, his alertness and first class work rate means he’d have as much chance as any of being a good wing back.
As the formations also highlight, this could also create the chance for us to play Perez, Rondon and Muto, or a trio of Shelvey, Ki and Diame in midfield.
It’s hypothetical stuff, but this MIGHT just be something Rafa is considering.
Would you be open to any of these potential formation changes should we receive bad news on Yedlin?