According to the Athletic, Steve Bruce is considering switching to a flat back four and going with a 4-2-3-1 formation ahead of Saturday’s clash with Burnley.
With us failing to score in any of our last three and winning just 1 of out last 9 league games, changes need to be made if we’re to make the most of our generous run of upcoming fixtures – and it seems Bruce is finally ready to shake things up.
The Athletic’s Chris Waugh confirms a 3-5-2 system was worked on in training last week, but suggests a 4-2-3-1 formation is one Bruce is seriously considering in a bid to improve our threat going forward.
Waugh says Dwight Gayle is ‘set to start’, and, while Bruce is ‘considering’ dropping Joelinton as a result, the north-east reporter claims he could well play in a no.10 role behind Gayle, with Almiron and Saint-Maximin out wide and a back four of Rose, Fernandez, Lascelles and Yedlin.
Hayden is also expected to return, but time will tell if it’s Sean Longstaff or an off the pace Nabil Bentaleb that drops out to make way – although BOTH could yet be axed if Jonjo Shelvey is passed fit.
As for Matt Ritchie, Waugh also states that Bruce is considering playing him in a more advanced role on Saturday – but claims it’ll be Joelinton who drops out should Ritchie return, suggesting Saint-Maximin and Almiron’s place in the side is safe for now.
With all the above in mind, could this be something like the side that starts on Saturday (providing Shelvey is fit):
Dubravka – Yedlin, Lascelles, Fernandez, Rose – Hayden, Shelvey – Almiron, Joelinton, Saint-Maximin – Gayle.
Dubravka – Yedlin, Lascelles, Fernandez, Rose – Hayden, Shelvey – Ritchie, Almiron, Saint-Maximin – Gayle.