According to Chronicle Live journalist, Ciaran Kelly, Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce has confirmed that Allan Saint-Maximin may be out for three weeks after suffering a hamstring problem. This could be a massive blow for the Magpies as the Frenchman was one of their main players in the attacking department. Bruce’s main objective now will be to replace the ex-Hannover star with the current options he has at his disposal.
Here are the necessary steps the former Hull City manager should take to replace Maximin for the time being.
A slight tweak to the formation
Bruce has adopted an interesting three at the back formation since arriving at Newcastle United this summer. He used the 3-5-2 setup with two attackers upfront in the first couple of months. But, both of those games ended in defeat.
However, the 58-year-old did make one key change in the win over Tottenham Hotspur by deploying a five at the back setup. Joelinton played as the lone forward upfront, with the likes of Matt Ritchie and Javier Manquillo operating as defensive wing-backs.
That made sense against quality opposition like Spurs. But, Bruce could employ a little more attacking 3-4-2-1 setup against other teams. This will add numerical advantage in the creative department, with Joelinton operating as number nine.
A prominent role for Christian Atsu
Atsu permanently moved to Newcastle in 2017, in a €7.5 million move from Chelsea. However, he struggled to nail down a regular place in the starting lineup under Rafael Benitez. He only mustered a combined total of 3,269 minutes of league football in the past couple of seasons.
That being said, Atsu’s fortunes may change under new manager Bruce. In fact, the Ghanianan winger was his go-to man when Maximin fell injured early in the game. Atsu played well, notably playing an excellent ball to Joelinton for the winner. He also tried to take on defenders and kept the Tottenham players busy when he needed to.
Atsu could be a like for like replacement for Maximin in the left-wing slot. The 27-year-old can provide the pace and flair going forward, making Newcastle United much more threatening on the counter. Besides, the fact that he likes to drift into central areas could bode well, especially with just one striker up front.