With Sunday’s game at Leicester fast approaching, we’ll have to hope Steve Bruce has something up his sleeve after that appalling performance against Brighton last weekend.
On Saturday we had just 29% possession and looked a team in total disarray, with many players looking lost and several putting in poor individual displays as a result.
You’d think things can only get better this Sunday, but things will also have to change considerably if we want to come away with a positive result against a high-flying Leicester side.
Bruce recently suggested that we aren’t made to ‘take the game’ to teams, but something clearly needs to change in attack if we’re to score enough goals to win games and get the best out of Joelinton, Almiron, Saint-Maximin and an in-form Christian Atsu.
As a result, here’s the new-look side I’d like to see start on Sunday:
(4-2-3-1): Dubravka – Manquillo, Schar, Lascelles, Dummett – Hayden, S.Longstaff – Atsu, Almiron, Saint-Maximin – Joelinton.
If we go to Leicester with the same approach we had last weekend then I’m quite confident we’ll be picked off at one end and won’t trouble them at the other.
Five at the back is sometimes essential when you’re at Anfield or away to Spurs, but a solid back four (featuring two more defensive minded full-backs) with a hard working and disciplined Sean Longstaff and Isaac Hayden ahead of them should give us enough protection against a dangerous Leicester attack.
We know we have good defenders and a competitive midfield, but it’s how we make things tick in attack that will be key this season, with Joelinton currently isolated, Almiron looking lost and Saint-Maximin raring to go if the system suits him.
It’s also fair to say Atsu and Saint-Maximin look our most dangerous options out wide right now, while a recent Q&A with Roberto Rojas (a Paraguayan reporter) told me that Almiron is best suited either out wide or in a central role.
With that in mind, could he be played just behind Joelinton to give the Brazilian some much needed support in that no.10 role?
I can see Bruce playing 5 at the back and hoping to repeat what we did at Spurs last month, but adding an extra attacker could be the bold move he needs to make now we have most of our flare players fit again.