The Warm Down: A frustrated Newcastle side struggling in new formation
Photo Credit:(Gettimages/Jordan Mansfield

The Warm Down: A frustrated Newcastle side struggling in new formation

Steve Bruce is confident in his preferred 3-5-2 formation but it does not seem to be getting the best out of the players at his disposal.

aaron-hindhaugh
Aaron Hindhaugh

Newcastle United slumped to a second defeat of the season as they were easily brushed aside by Norwich City 3-1 at Carrow Road.

The Magpies had two great chances when the scores were level however, Joelinton and Emil Krafth failed to take either of their opportunities.

Instead, Newcastle crumbled at the back conceding two soft goals and one thunderbolt from Teemu Pukki as the Finland international helped himself to a hat-trick.

3-5-2 is not the formation to be used

Steve Bruce has played the 3-5-2 in the opening two games of the Premier League season as well as in each pre-season game.

However, it is requiring too many players to play out of position which is not allowing a number of them to give their best for the team.

In particular, Miguel Almiron seems to be struggling to play as an out and out striker this season, instead of an inverted winger or number 10 like he did under Rafa Benitez.

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The Paraguay international looked very awkward against Norwich and failed to make a number of runs into the box which left Joelinton isolated.

Almiron is best suited to playing out wide and being allowed to drift inside and influence the game in the lines between the opposition's midfield and defence.

However, it is not just going forward that the Magpies are struggling it is at the back where they had been solid for years under Benitez.

Bruce is opting to play with two wing-backs in Krafth and Matt Ritchie, with neither being comfortable playing that position as it is not their natural position.

It is leaving the Magpies vulnerable at the back as oppositions will target the weaknesses out wide which will force their centre backs to be dragged out of position.

Two possession-based midfielders will not work

Bruce has said multiple times that Jonjo Shelvey is key to his plans going forward with his passing ability.

However, with Shelvey and Ki Sung-Yueng playing alongside each other in a three-man midfield meant there was nobody breaking from deep to support any attacks.

Both Shelvey and Ki sat deep to try and keep the ball moving quickly however, with Isaac Hayden sitting deep as well to protect the defence meant the gap between midfield and attack was enormous.

It proves that Bruce should be playing Sean Longstaff, Hayden and one of Shelvey and Ki instead of both as Longstaff has great attacking prowess.

This is considering Bruce sticks with his 3-5-2 formation for the foreseeable future, which will also mean Allan Saint-Maximin will be left out as he does not fit in as a striker or a wing-back.

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Defensive solidarity out the window

Bruce promised expansive attacking football during his time as Newcastle manager and that is what he has attempted to provide.

However, it is difficult when you only play with on recognised striker and an attacking midfielder up alongside him.

Majority of players at the club were coached by Benitez so will have developed a lot in terms of their defensive work and it makes sense for Bruce to take advantage of this.

Although this seems unlikely it would be smart for Bruce to set up defensively while the new signings gel together with the squad instead of throwing them in at the deep end having to attack together.

Considering a lot of them speak different languages it will take time for them to understand each other and the runs they like to make with little communication.

Newcastle's next game is an away trip to North London to face Tottenham Hotspur, a fixture that the Magpies narrowly lost 1-0 in the previous two seasons.

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