The Chalkboard: How changing back to a 4-2-3-1 may get the best out of Miguel Almiron

Newcastle United have all but secured their Premier League safety for another season and they have done it thanks to Rafa Benitez and his 3-4-2-1 formation.

On the Charlkboard

As part of Benitez’s change in tactic, Matt Ritchie has been converted into a wing-back and Ayoze Perez and Miguel Almiron have been deployed as wide attackers.

Florian Lejeune’s injury has led to Paul Dummet playing as part of the back three, but he’s not as comfortable on the ball as the Frenchman and, though he is very solid defensively, Newcastle rely solely on Fabian Schar to play-from-the-back.

Almiron is Newcastle’s record signing after joining from Atlanta in January.

He has made an impact on how the Toon attack but he is yet to score or assist.

This could be down to the fact the Paraguayan is playing out-wide despite the fact he is primarily a number ten.

For Atlanta he scored 13 goals and registered 11 assists playing in-behind Josef Martinez.

Almiron has certainly made the Magpies more dangerous, as can be seen by his 1.3 key passes per game and expected assists of 1.38, but a change of formation may be needed to truly utilise his star quality.

How to rectify the problem

The Magpies should consider switching back to 4-2-3-1.

Perez could move to the left and Ritchie to the right, allowing both to cut inside and feed Almiron, who could use his electric pace through the middle to penetrate the opposition.

Also, allowing him to play behind Rondon would give him the chance to feed off the big man’s knock downs and, considering he has won 127 aerial duels this year, the 25-year-old would have a lot to feed off.

Finally, playing Almiron as a number ten would allow him to play in-between the midfield and the defence, finding pockets of space to work in where his skill and technique would create openings for Newcastle’s other forward players and hopefully give Almiron his first goal and assist in English football.

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