Murtagh expects one of Sean Longstaff or Ki Sung-yeung to come in for Shelvey, with Saint-Maximin also tipped to replace a misfiring Miguel Almiron if he’s deemed fit to start on Sunday.
Either way, it looks like Bruce is preparing to make a few changes this weekend after that dismal display against Brighton last time out.
He’s been poor and looks so low on confidence, but I don’t think dropping Almiron is the answer. Maybe Bruce should find a way to fit him into his side and consider moving him back to the left wing – the side he looked suited to following his move from America earlier in the year.
One thing that doesn’t quite add up, however, is the idea of Bruce playing Schar in a midfield role alongside Hayden and one of Ki or Longstaff. Fernandez does deserve a chance to play, with him being our stand out performer in that Carabao Cup clash with Leicester last month, but how would Schar fit in if Longstaff and Hayden are expected to also play?
Could we move to a 4-3-3 and play Dummett at left-back and Fernandez alongside Lascelles? Or could Schar’s potential move into midfield signal a return to 5-3-2 – a system that Bruce went with over the first few weeks o the season.
Regardless of who plays and the formation used, we’re going to have to be MUCH better than we were against Brighton to come away with a result here.