With the return of Premier League football just a few days away and the international break coming to an end, it’s time to turn our attentions to Sunday’s clash with Spurs.
Changes are likely after that horror show at Brighton last time out, however it remains to be seen if Steve Bruce will stick with the 4-3-1-2 formation that’s not worked in Callum Wilson’s recent absence.
That said, if our top scorer and £20m talisman is fit to return for this one, I can see us sticking with the formation that had its moments when he, Almiron and ASM were all fit.
Given two of those three are in with a shot of starting Sunday’s game, here’s the side I can see Bruce selecting:
(4-3-1-2): Dubravka – Manquillo, Lascelles, Clark, Dummett – Hendrick, Shelvey, Willock – Almiron – Wilson, Fraser
Starting in goal, Dubravka’s selection is dependant on him overcoming a stomach problem that’s seen him miss two of Slovakia’s World Cup qualifiers over the past week.
At the back, Fernandez could get a recall after that collapse at Brighton saw Clark have a rare off night, however I don’t see any changes coming in defence. After all, Dummett looks more reliable than Lewis right now, Lascelles won’t be dropped as captain and Manquillo should always start over Krafth when fit.
Midfield is the big one now Hayden has been ruled out for the season. One of the Longstaff brothers should come in for me, but the fact they’ve both been frozen out of the first-team picture by Bruce means Jeff Hendrick seems the most likely man to fill in…somehow.
In attack, I expect Almiron to continue in the false 9 role, with Fraser and Wilson up top as wide forwards.
Fans have been critical of this formation, but these are the three who started in that superb 0-2 win over Everton earlier this year, so there’s reason to believe they could do Spurs damage should Wilson be deemed fit enough to start.
Saint-Maximin would be another option if ready, but I suspect he’ll be restricted to a bench role at best after stepping up his recovery from a groin injury slightly later than Wilson.
How do you see us lining up this weekend?