Another week, another attempt to predict what side Steve Bruce will field against Everton today.
After all, we’re six games into the season and we’ve seen him go with FIVE different formations so far, with us going with a 5-3-1-1 at Wolves last weekend.
With form and fitness issues in mind (see injury news here), this is the starting 11 and system I can see Bruce going with come 2pm today:
Predicted NUFC XI (5-3-1-1): Darlow – Murphy, Schar, Fede, Clark, Lewis – Hendrick, Hayden, Almiron – ASM – Wilson.
OUT – Lascelles & Fraser
IN – Clark & Hayden
Bruce had promised to ditch Rafa’s old formation and had been opting for a four-man defence, but last weekend’s 1-1 draw at Wolves saw us line up with five at the back – and I can see him sticking with that here.
I see us sticking with that system here. I’m not convinced it’s the way forward, but with us facing a depleted yet table-topping Everton, I see Bruce playing it safe.
In front of Darlow, I can see Clark coming in for Lascelles now he’s fit again, with the Irishman on the left, Fernandez through the middle and Schar operating as our right-sided centre-back.
Based on Bruce’s recent logic, Murphy will be undroppable and I can see him being given another shot at right wing-back – and rightly so – with Lewis down the left wing.
Everton are weakened in attack, but their midfield three of Doucoure, Allan and Gomes is very strong, so I don’t see Bruce playing two wingers either side of one central midfielder this time. With that in mind, I can see Hayden coming in for Fraser, with Almiron left of centre to support Lewis and Hendrick right of centre to help out Murphy.
In attack, Saint-Maximin could then continue in the free-role just behind Wilson, however we’ll need to see both wing backs get much further up the pitch and Almiron or Hendrick join attacks if we’re to get players closer to Wilson – who was horribly isolated for most of last weekend’s 1-1 draw.
How do you see us lining up? Let us know in the comments!