The exciting NUFC side that should start vs Norwich – A solution to the 3-5-2 dilemma?

A trip to Carrow Road awaits this weekend, and it’s fair to say this is a game we should be attacking if Norwich’s defending at Anfield was anything to go by.

I expect them to come out the gates quickly on Saturday, with it being their first home game following promotion back to the Premier League, so it’s essential we have to tools to hurt them on the counter attack.

Steve Bruce seems to be favouring the 3-5-2 formation, but a system that doesn’t allow us to play our three best attackers may not add up when facing a defence that’s there to be got at.

It would not surprise me if we were unchanged, but here’s the side I’d like to see start at Carrow Road come 3pm on Saturday:

We can’t allow Norwich to get comfortable and must carry a significantly greater attacking threat than we posed against Arsenal on Sunday, so trialing a 3-4-3 could make a lot of sense in this one.

Almiron and Joelinton are two talented and dynamic attackers, but the pair played were often too far apart against Arsenal, and, based on Norwich’s possession play, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Paraguayan dropping deep once again this weekend in search of the ball. Do that and Joelinton may be isolated again, giving Norwich’s two centre-backs are relatively easy job if we fail to get bodies around the big Brazilian.

With this in mind, I’d like to see Almiron AND Saint-Maximin start either side of Joelinton. This would mean we’d have to sacrifice a centre-midfielder, but with Shelvey limping off early against Arsenal and having a track record of returning from niggles too soon (something that frustrated Rafa last season), we’d be in safe hands with Longstaff and Hayden in the middle.

Not only are they the pair that formed a superb partnership over the first few months of the year, with their styles complimenting each other perfectly, they are two players who are far better suited to central roles. For me, both looked a little lost at times on Sunday, with Bruce playing them either side of Jonjo Shelvey in roles that saw them pull far wider than they’re used to playing.

I also feel the shift to 3-4-3 would allow us to get the best out of our wing-backs. Width is already created by the two wide of Joelinton in attack, but the midfield will be far less congested than it was with a 3-5-2 – something that gives our wing-backs much more space to push up, whether it be showing for the ball in possession or linking up with the likes of Almiron and Saint-Maximin in attack.

Bruce may well stick with a 3-5-2, but if we want to really take the game to Norwich and start with a side features all of our most talented attackers, a 3-4-3 could be the answer.

(Fancy writing for us? Get in touch at & we’ll get back to you!)

About Olly Hawkins

Olly has been a Junior Magpie from birth. As a season ticket holder and avid Newcastle United fan - he eats, sleeps and breathes all things NUFC.

3 thoughts on “The exciting NUFC side that should start vs Norwich – A solution to the 3-5-2 dilemma?

  1. Shelvey in full training now so Saturday shouldn’t be a problem meaning Bruce will probably go with Joelinton up front with Almiron behind him. I hope Maximin plays as he seems better suited linking up with the forward. It just depends if Bruce intends to attack or play one up front, and who to sacrifice from the midfield to accommodate him.

    If he intends to play Joelinton up front I think it’s unfair leaving him up there on his own as he usually plays deeper and needs help.


  2. We were so comfortable in our 5-4-1 / 5-2-3 end of last season. Am I the only one who thinks we should plug Joelinton into Rondons spot, St-Max into Perezs spot, and carry on with what was working? This three mids thing, pushing hayden up the right etc is just not going to cut it.


  3. Whilst I agree with you MinnesoToon, I don’t think Steve is going to do that. He likes a 3 man mid to ensure that we are not over-run. Actually not a bad idea against teams where we can make our possession count. Norwich may well be a case where we need Shelvey to open up their defence. Personally I would go 4-3-3 as I don’t think we need a five man defence against Norwich.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Question   Razz  Sad   Evil  Exclaim  Smile  Redface  Biggrin  Surprised  Eek   Confused   Cool  LOL   Mad   Twisted  Rolleyes   Wink  Idea  Arrow  Neutral  Cry   Mr. Green