This is a system we played over the opening weeks of the season, however our lack of fit strikers has made it virtually impossible for us to play two up top.
Here’s a snippet from the Chronicle’s latest piece, hinting at the changes to players and personnel Bruce is considering ahead of Saturday’s crucial clash with Burnley:
Newcastle’s possibilities of changing to a back four or unlikely for the last 11 games with left-sided defenders Paul Dummett, Ciaran Clark and Jetro Willems all injured.
But attacking options such as Dwight Gayle and Yoshinori Muto are returning, and Andy Carroll hopes to be fit in two weeks.
Bruce is eager to add more bite in the final third after 270 minutes without a goal.
Despite running the rule over a 5-3-2 system in training last week, United emerged with a 5-4-1 formation, something that could be down to Dwight Gayle’s lack of match practice.
But with 21 minutes in the tank after Palace, Gayle should be pushing for a start against Burnley.
Things need to change, so some change is surely better than nothing at this stage, but I do wonder how 5-3-2 would work.
Not only did we struggle in this system earlier in the season (with us playing this in that woeful 3-1 hammering at Norwich), it’s difficult to know how it gets the best out of wingers Allan Saint-Maximin and Miguel Almiron – especially if it would be implemented to get Dwight Gayle into the side.
Also, it would mean us playing three central midfielders, and we seem to have two who are out of sorts in Nabil Bentaleb and Sean Longstaff right now – putting greater emphasis on Jonjo Shelvey to return if deemed fit.
Time will tell, but something needs to change if we’re to beat Burnley this weekend!