The former Chronicle writer expects Bruce to stick with a 4-2-3-1, but feels two of Tuesday night’s stars could be rested – and replaced by Ritchie and Gayle; who had to settle for a spot on the bench at West Brom.
After being asked for some early team news ahead of this weekend’s clash with Southampton, here’s what Waugh had to say in The Athletic’s latest Q&A:
‘I am really intrigued to see what Bruce does at Southampton on Saturday.
‘I do expect the 4-2-3-1 system to continue, because I don’t think he can really row back on it, but I think Ritchie and Gayle may return.
‘That may mean Joelinton and Lazaro drop to the bench but at least they’re positive selection decisions to make.‘
This would be extremely harsh on both Joelinton and Lazaro, with both playing a key role in Tuesday’s much improved performance, but does Gayle deserve to be benched again after looking lively against Burnley last weekend?
Ritchie is no longer a Premier League winger for me and could slow us down in attack – despite all his efforts – but Bruce may wonder if Lazaro can play two high intensity games in a week after a spell on the sidelines in Italy.
Joelinton put in a real shift in midweek, so could also be feeling it, but his unselfish display helped bring out the best out of the three behind him, so it may be a case of one step forwards and two steps back if Bruce takes him out of the side just days after one of his best performances in a Newcastle shirt.
With us set to stick with a 4-2-3-1 formation, how do you see us lining up this time tomorrow?