Preferred Newcastle team v Norwich – Solves selection dilemma

All eyes are now on the Newcastle team v Norwich.

After the opening day defeat, what Steve Bruce will do in terms of changing personnel, if any.

The performance against Arsenal was decent up to a point.



A much weakened Arsenal side limited to only a few shots on target, the winning goal a gift from the Newcastle defence.

However, it was a similar story at the other end, a Joelinton shot straight at the keeper in the first half and a late effort from substitute Allan Saint-Maximin at least made Leno dive, though it was a comfortable save. The only two NUFC efforts on target.

Creativity and goalscoring always looked the biggest challenges this season and that opening 90 minutes didn’t change opinion.

We know from these past two seasons that in defence and centre midfield, Newcastle have got a solid base but how best to build on that further forward?

There was positive news on Wednesday with the club releasing images of training, Jonjo Shelvey in the group and suggesting no lasting harm after being forced off against Arsenal.

For a lot of fans they are seeing it as maybe a case of playing either Shelvey or Allan Saint-Maximin (ASM) to provide a spark but I think we need both involved.

I wouldn’t make too many changes in personnel but I think at least for this game, we need a change of tactics and formation, as goals will be needed against an attacking Norwich side who can be counter-attacked.

I would keep Sunday’s keeper and back five but instead turn it into a back four, with Dummett left-back and Matt Ritchie pushed further up into his favoured winger position.



Joelinton and Almiron would stay up front but I would sacrifice one of the three central midfielders and bring in ASM on the wing in a 4-4-2 or 4-4-1-1 formation.

The trouble is that none of Shelvey, Hayden and Longstaff really get into the box and Almiron tends to do most of his best work outside the box as well.

Joelinton was usually the only one in the box whenever a ball was delivered.

I think Hayden is first choice in the middle and would maybe chop and change between Shelvey and Longstaff. Shelvey doesn’t have the greatest stamina anyway and Steve Bruce could tell him to give it everything against Norwich for an hour or so and then bring Longstaff on.

As we saw on Sunday, ASM was very direct and full of tricks and dribbling ability, looking to get in the box as much as possible, so surely in a team that has so few goals in it, he has to be included. Plus I think he and Ritchie can swap wings when needed and give Norwich different problems.



Which gives me this preferred Newcastle team v Norwich, to score goals and bring home three points:

Martin Dubravka

Javier Manquillo

Fabian Schar

Jamaal Lascelles

Paul Dummett

Matt Ritchie

Isaac Hayden

Jonjo Shelvey

Allan Saint-Maximin

Miguel Almiron

Joelinton



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