Steve Bruce got it all wrong against Arsenal on Sunday. His 3-5-2 formation fell to pieces in the second half, with his substitutions leaving a lot to be desired.
But even before the game kicked off, Bruce had taken a risk. The manager failed to name a single centre midfielder on the bench, despite deploying a system that relies on three.
When Jonjo Shelvey got a knock in the second half, things began to unravel. He was replaced by Jetro Willems, forcing Matt Ritchie to move inside after the initial confusion.
Things became even more disjointed when Sean Longstaff departed, leaving Isaac Hayden as the only recognised centre midfielder.
Bruce was heavily criticised after the game for this. He got his bench all wrong and it cost his side.
But ironically, a player who he excluded from his Premier League squad would have been ideal to have on his bench on Sunday. And that man is Jack Colback.
A player hated by fans and not fancied by coaches, Colback can play in the middle and on the left side of defence, so would’ve been a better option on the bench for Bruce.
Obviously fans are happy that Colback won’t be playing for the club any time soon, but a player of his kind would’ve helped the team against Arsenal.
When we head to Norwich on Saturday, Bruce needs to make sure he doesn’t potentially leave his team in the lurch again with his substitutes.