Lee Ryder suggested that Steve Bruce play both Newcastle United attackers Joelinton and Dwight Gayle against West Ham on Saturday.
The Chronicle journalist was asked during a question and answer session whether Joelinton should be dropped for Saturday’s clash with the Hammers, and he responded by saying he didn’t think that would be the right call.
Ryder explained that Joelinton needed to play alongside somebody and claimed that if Steve Bruce was feeling confident he should play a front-two of Gayle and Joelinton against Manuel Pellegrini’s side.
“My opinion is no, but he needs somebody up there alongside him at West Ham,” wrote Ryder in an Q&A for the Chronicle.
“That person would be Dwight Gayle from the start with the striker back to full fitness.
“Coupled with his experience, I think it could be an effective partnership if Steve Bruce is confident enough to go with a front two rather than an isolated front man.”
Ryder may be on to a winner by suggesting Gayle and Joelinton play together, but it does require a change of formation. Bruce has stubbornly stuck with playing only one forward up top, and it’s unclear whether he’ll be willing to change. However, perhaps the Newcastle boss has only opted to play two up top due to his options being limited in previous games as both Gayle as well as Andy Carroll have had their own fitness battles to contend with. Granted Yoshinori Muto has been available but not selected, yet Ryder further down in the Q&A stated Bruce hasn’t fancied playing him, which is probably an indication he doesn’t think he can do a job in the Premier League. Newcastle have only scored six goals in the first 10 league games of the season, and no individual player has contributed more than a single goal to the cause (Source: BBC Sport), so Bruce needs to make some sort of change upfront and having two players trying to score, does sound like it could be a viable solution to the club’s firepower issues.