Newcastle played three centre-backs for much of the time Rafa Benitez was in charge at the club, and when Steve Bruce took over, he has stuck to the same formation.

But it has simply not worked in either of the two performances to start the season, and much of that has to do with the more expansive game Bruce plays compared to his predecessor.

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When Rafa employed his preferred set-up, it was very much focused on defence first, and played with a minimal possession, counter-attacking style.

When employed in that manner, it can be very effective, with both wing-backs making defensive duties their priority.

But Bruce utilises it with a more open philosophy, while giving the wing-backs a more attacking role.

(Photo credit LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP/Getty Images)

The problem is the gaps it leaves in the wide areas when those wing-backs are foraging forward, leaving a stretched central three, as they try to cover the position.


A solid back four could be the answer for Newcastle

There is no problem with applying a more adventurous style, and it may even be encouraged by many fans. But if he is determined to do so, he must revert to a 4-4-2, or 4-4-1-1 formation.

Play with orthodox full-backs, and two wingers, thus solidifying the defensive areas, while allowing for a more aggressive, offensive style.

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Certainly the formation was exposed dramatically at Carrow Road, and with stronger opposition ahead, we mus find a way to shore up the gaps in defence.

Having four defenders in position all the time, could help do just that, and as the saying goes, it is better to have tried and failed, than never to have tried at all.

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