Without the trio of Allan Saint-Maximin, Miguel Almiron, and Callum Wilson, Steve Bruce has some important decisions to make for the next few weeks. First, will be to figure out an approach without our three top goal threats.
Can Bruce continue in the 4-3-3 without his front three? He’s already struggled to replace Callum Wilson on the right over the past three matches. How on Earth will he find a suitable replacement for Miguel Almiron as the False 9?
It may be that Bruce simplifies things and goes with a 4-4-2. He still has plenty of strikers and wingers available for that formation. However, it’s been very hit or miss this season, mostly being ineffective.
Once Bruce settles on a system, whether he sticks with the 4-3-3 or switches to something else, he’ll still have crucial decisions with team selection. Getting that right is going to be critical.
We heard from Andy Carroll earlier today that he’s more than ready to start on Sunday at West Brom. Jacob Murphy is another who could get an opportunity after impressing when he came on late against Wolves.
Bruce may also have a midfield slot open up with both Javier Manquillo and Emil Krafth currently injured. Manquillo returned to light training last week and Krafth is expected to return later this week after his shin injury over the weekend. Sunday could be too soon for both of them.
That would likely push Isaac Hayden back to right-back, and depending on the formation, possibly mean a chance for one of the Longstaff brothers or Jeff Hendrick. Eighteen-year-old Elliot Anderson also comes into the mix as well as a possibility in attack.
There is some potential good news on Miguel Almiron. BeIN Sports reporter Roberto Rojas, who is of Paraguayan descent, tweeted the following earlier today. Apparently, Paraguay’s national team doctor doesn’t think Miggy’s injury is too serious, and he could be back for their World Cup qualifiers later this month.
Provisionally, however, Paraguay’s medical doctor says that his right knee injury (Collateral ligament) is not a serious one and COULD make it for the qualifiers at the end of the month if all goes to plan. https://t.co/muubAfaYwd
— Roberto Rojas (@RobertoRojas97) March 2, 2021
We can’t see Newcastle allowing Almiron to play for Paraguay if he misses our next three matches. Though the fact that Almiron may be back by the Tottenham match on April 3rd is encouraging.