'Defeat to Manchester United led to a switch' - Newcastle United's likely line-up, formation and style for Elland Road clash with Leeds United
It's perhaps a little unfair to label Marcelo Bielsa and Steve Bruce in such a way. The Leeds head coach might not budge from what his ideal way to play football, but he also does so because it is a style he can practically coach and because he believes it works best in practice. Bruce might retreat behind a counter attack tonight against the Whites and look to profit from set-pieces, but according to Shields Gazette Newcastle United writer Miles Starforth, the Magpies manager did begin the season wanting to be more expansive and playing on the front foot.
Here are his thoughts on what we could see from the visitors this evening.
Likely line-up and formation
MS: Very hard to give a probable line-up given the number of absentees last time, but the starting XI, I’d imagine, will look a lot like the one from Saturday. Steve Bruce recently switched to a back four, and I think we’ll again see a 4-4-1-1 formation with Joelinton playing off Callum Wilson up front.
MS: The team’s form has been up and down this season. We’ve had back-to-back wins after back-to-back defeats, and that neatly sums up the season so far. The team has reacted well to some particularly disappointing performances and results, and the club is well placed in 12th place with 17 points from 11 games. Fans, however, are keen for the team to push further up the table, and Bruce wants to see more consistency from the team.
The style Bruce will go with against Leeds
MS: Bruce had wanted his team to get on the front foot more this season, but this left United very open at times, and a 4-1 home defeat to Manchester United led to a switch to a more counter-attacking gameplan, as we saw last season and under Rafa Benitez, Bruce’s predecessor. Newcastle have the pace to trouble teams, but, worryingly, Allan Saint-Maximin hasn’t been much of a threat since signing a new long-term contract earlier this season.
The key man or men
MS: Callum Wilson’s made a huge difference to United, and not just with his goals. Wilson, signed from Bournemouth in the summer, is a very intelligent player, and has done some of his best work outside the box. He’s linked things up well, and he’s the striker the team was crying out for last season when Joelinton was labouring up front on his own.