DeAndre Yedlin has spent most of his Newcastle career as the first-choice right-back, but things aren’t as clear cut right now.
Javi Manquillo ended last season strongly, while injury has meant that Yedlin hasn’t had a chance to show Steve Bruce what he can do. On top of that, the Magpies added another right-back in summer in Emil Krafth.
And it looks like injury is going to keep Yedlin out for longer than anticipated.
Before we took on Arsenal last week, Bruce told the Shields Gazette: “I can’t see him for at least another three or four weeks at least. That’s a worry for us.”
You’re right there Steve, it certainly is a worry.
Against the Gunners, we looked very lopsided. With Matt Ritchie at left wing-back and Miguel Almiron drifting over too, our left side look very strong. In contrast, Manquillo and Isaac Hayden weren’t really able to link up on the other side of the pitch.
Manquillo is solid enough, but he isn’t as good offensively as Yedlin. And with the system that Bruce is using, the fullbacks need to be having an impact in the final third.
So with Yedlin out for a few more weeks, should Bruce consider changing his formation already?
Last season under Rafa Benitez, we deployed a 3-4-3 (or a 5-4-1 depending on how you looked at it), with Ayoze Perez and Almiron providing the width.
This is something Bruce should consider. He has the players to do so. Allan Saint-Maximin is naturally a winger, and would thrive in that formation. And it would take the pressure off Manquillo to be a creative force as well as a defender.
Yedlin’s pace makes him ideal for the wing-back role, but without him we’re slightly limited.
Unless Krafth can prove to Bruce that he can fill the attacking void left Yedlin, a change in formation should be considered.