Following the somewhat embarrassing display against Manchester United, we dig deeper to understand what Bruce needs to change going forward.
Wolves are always a difficult team to face, especially at the Molineux, however we still have every chance to pick up a positive result if we approach the game correctly.
#1. Play Wingers On The Wing
If you asked the population of Newcastle who they would play on the right hand side, there is only 1 person who would say Jeff Hendrick. That person is Steve Bruce, that’s right, even Hendrick himself would likely vote for Almiron or Fraser.
The Irishmen put in a very impressive display on his debut against West Ham, however has fallen flat in the fixtures since then.
With both Miguel Almiron and Ryan Fraser in good veins of form it is criminal how they havent been awarded with more game time.
Of course Fraser was always expected to be eased in, due to the length of time he spent on the sidelines for Bournemouth last season, but I personally feel he is ready to get back out on the pitch.
The Scot was lively when entering the match against Burnley, winning the penalty for our third goal. He also showed great form while away on international duty, netting the winner in a man of the match display against Slovakia as he played 85 minutes.
Miguel Almiron has also showed an effectiveness in front of goal that has evaded Hendrick. The Paraguayan has been involved in 4 goals (1 goal, 3 assists) in just 340 minutes of football this season.
#2. Play Joelinton Behind The Striker
Sticking with the theme of playing players in their best position, why shove Joelinton out on the wing when he had one of his best games behind the striker against Burnley?
The Brazilian proved he is not an out and out striker last season. The smart recruitment of Callum Wilson took this responsibility away from him, presumably allowing the former Hoffenheim man to be fielded in his more natural position, but still this isn’t happening.
If we are to see the best of Joelinton, then I personally think he needs to get a continuous run of games in a fixed position, and that position would be behind the striker.
#3. Attack Out-of-form Teams
Let me just list out Manchester United’s Premier League results before they made the trip to St James’ Park on Sunday:
- Manchester United: 1-3 Crystal Palace (L)
- Brighton 2-3 Manchester United (W) – Brighton hid the woodwork five times, also having 2 goals ruled out for offside…
- Manchester United 1-6 Tottenham (L)
A team in that kind of form should be dreading making the trip up North, for some reason I think the team from Manchester were relishing it…
The game started in the best way possible for us, benefiting from a freakish own goal to give us the lead just 2 minutes into the game, my question is, why didn’t we try to finish them off?!
Already lacking confidence, the early goal was a further setback for the away team, before we stood off them affording them to launch attack after attack at our goal without reply.
There has to be more of an attacking emphasis going forward, with just 12 shots on target this season, our impressive firepower upfront has been greatly under-utilised.
#4. Use Substitutions!
This point applies to multiple scenarios from the Manchester United game, both of which had me shouting at my dodgy stream (#CharityNotPPV!).
Firstly, we had Karl Darlow in between the sticks hardly managing to stand up for the last quarter of the game, let alone keep a relentless Manchester United at bay…
Mark Gillespie was ready to replace the in-form shot stopper but never got the signal to make the change. 3 goals then flew past Darlow before the final whistle blew.
At the other end of the pitch, there was opportunity to take the game to Manchester United, with the scoreline fixed at 1-1.
Annoyingly, Miguel Almiron was not introduced to the action until the 88th minute, by which time he had no time to make a real impact.
#5. Deliver A Bit Of Consistency
The most frustrating thing about the season so far has been the huge lack of consistency.
Against West Ham and Burnley we looked so comfortable on the ball, solid at the back, and threatening going forward. You can flip those points for our fixtures against Brighton and Manchester United where we offered nothing.
There is a long season ahead, if we can find a good level of consistency, with the squad Bruce has at his disposal there is an opportunity to improve on last seasons position.
Jamal Lascelles has recently expressed the squads ambition for a top half finish, and to do that in the Premier League you need a certain level of consistency in your performances.
If we keep up the current hot and cold displays we may spend the majority of our season looking over our shoulder, marking a sign of regression, and uneasy viewings for all those supporting black and white…
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