“Perhaps we may have to tinker when facing the bigger teams but we won’t be returning to five at the back.“
These were Steve Bruce’s comments back in June, a few days before our 3-0 win over Sheffield United during ‘Project Restart’ – a game where we finally saw the NUFC boss go with a more attacking formation.
Six months later, you’d presume Steve Bruce has stuck with the 4-2-3-1 he vowed to get Newcastle fans “excited about” (see his comments below)….yet it’s been anything but.
In fact, we’ve played with a five-man defence in our last five Premier League games – and three of those haven’t been against the “bigger teams”.
What’s more, Bruce hasn’t gone with a 4-2-3-1 since that 3-1 win over Burnley that saw Saint-Maximin run the show, Joelinton have his best game in a black and white shirt and Wilson thrive from the service and options around him.
See his comments from June below – which make him look a bit silly all these months later:
“The football was difficult to watch at times.
“But in our last three games, we changed the system and created a lot more chances. And we’ll stick with that formation for the rest of the season.
“Perhaps we may have to tinker when facing the bigger teams but we won’t be returning to five at the back.
“It served a purpose but it was never the way I wanted us to play.
“Hopefully, we’ll give our supporters back home something to get excited about.”
That last line makes a mockery of what we’ve seen since.
Also, get this…(via (@tfalex1892)
- The last 19 Premier League games playing ‘five at the back’ = two wins and 12 points picked up.
- The last 10 Premier League games playing ‘four at the back’ = five wins and 18 points picked up.
The numbers suggests we shouldn’t be playing a five-man defence anymore and Bruce’s comments back in June show he promised to go with this new, attacking, four-man defence that would help give fans something to be “excited about”, yet here we are getting every man and his dog behind the ball and barely getting into the opposition’s half over the past two games.
We play a Crystal Palace side next who not only play 4-4-2 but will be without Wilfried Zaha. It’s time to ditch this five-man defence and stick to your promise, Steve.