Newcastle could stun Arsenal with a counter-attacking 4-3-3

So the transfer window has slammed shut, the dust has settled and there are five new faces on Tyneside, six including Steve Bruce, but how will the Magpies line up against Arsenal?

Bruce has varied his formation regularly during pre-season, but the final exhibition clash against St. Etienne saw his side line up in what was effectively a 5-3-2.

Miguel Almiron started alongside Joelinton up front, but with Allan Saint-Maximin now having a full week of training under his belt, we suspect the gaffer will alter his tactics to test out his new front three.

Arsenal conceded 51 times in the league last term and took loads of criticism for their sometimes comedically bad defence, and with Kieran Tierney injured and David Luiz the only other immediate reinforcement to arrive this summer, Bruce should opt for a pacey 4-3-3.

Potential XI for Newcastle vs Arsenal

Joelinton’s striking resemblance to Roberto Firmino will see him drop into midfield constantly, dragging defenders with him and allowing space for the likes of Jonjo Shelvey and Sean Longstaff to drop the ball in behind for Almiron and Saint-Maximin.

Isaac Hayden will surely continue his fine form from last season in the anchor role, while Jetro Willems simply must start above Paul Dummett on the left – the former PSV man has bags of European and international experience.

Javier Manquillo has had a great pre-season and should get the nod over the injured DeAndre Yedlin and newly arrived Emil Krafth.

Bruce has five centre-backs to choose from, but captain Jamaal Lascelles is surely nailed on, while Fabian Schar’s phenomenal first season in English football should grant him the nod as well.

With the tenacity of Hayden setting the stage for Longstaff and Shelvey to do what they do best  – spray the ball around – while the new front three gets to test their mettle against an often spineless and shambolic defence, this XI has a great opportunity to stun Arsenal on Sunday.

The Gunners will expect to have most of the ball, which should leave plenty of gaps for the Magpies to counter attack into. This one could be very, very fun indeed.

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