This Potential Substitution Could Have Made A Difference Yesterday

Steve Bruce made two substitutions in yesterday’s game against Arsenal. The first of which was forced, as a hobbled Jonjo Shelvey was replaced by Jetro Willems at 53 minutes. After some initial confusion, Jetro moved to left wing-back and Matt Ritchie tucked inside as a central attacking midfielder.

He made a tactical switch by bringing on Allan Saint-Maximin for Sean Longstaff in the 66th minute. This pushed Miguel Almiron deeper into the central midfield as Saint-Maximin was seemingly brought on to play the second striker role.

Saint-Maximin immediately made a difference as his direct running caused some issues for Arsenal. However, he seemed to drift out wide to the left a bit too much but it was all in an attempt to make something happen.

Yoshinori Muto– unused substitute in loss to Arsenal

In yesterdays’ press conference after the match, Steve Bruce was asked about why he had not used his third substitution to bring on Yoshinori Muto late in the game.

This is Steve Bruce’s response to that question:

“We had three strikers on the pitch, it was all about trying to find a balance.

“Muto has done very well since I’ve come into the club.

“I haven’t used him today but he’s very much part of my thoughts.

“Since I’ve been here in the last three and a half weeks, everybody I’ve bumped into has been nothing other than positive.”

His three strikers would have been Joelinton, Allan Saint-Maximin, and Miguel Almiron. The slight issue is that only one of them can play as an out and out striker. That would be Joelinton.

Allan Saint-Maximin spent a lot of time on the left-wing trying to create some chances. Miguel Almiron by the time a third substitution could have been made was pretty much spent. He worked very hard but

A possible substitution that may have worked was to bring Muto on for Almiron and have Joeliton drop to the second striker position or out to the right where he sometimes played at Hoffenheim.

Muto has looked threatening in preseason leading the line and his movement has been impressive. He has also shown an excellent ability to find space in his limited preseason appearances though his finishing has, like all of the strikers, been suspect.

He is also very energetic and could have caused some issues for the Arsenal defense. Muto should get some more chances this season and we think that yesterday provided a decent opportunity for him to come on for the closing 10 minutes. It clearly was not working late in the game as Newcastle’s attempt to level the score was at times chaotic and ultimately feeble.

This article was originally posted here