By Daniel Abela
After Newcastle’s defeat to West Ham, Alan Pardew exclaimed that his side were finding it difficult to get into their stride. The disappointing result, the bad performance and the need to win on Saturday against Swansea has led me to take a look at what went wrong and what can be done so that the team find a rhythm…
Take John Terry out of the Chelsea team, and you see the European Champions struggle, even if they are blessed with expensive talents all over the pitch. Coloccini’s absence was felt on Sunday. The skipper’s ability to start play from the back was lacking. Mike Williamson being a solid, old fashioned defender, is not blessed with technique when he has got the ball at his feet. The majority of the time he plays long balls forward towards our strikers, completely taking the likes of Yohan Cabaye and Hatem Ben Arfa out of the equation.
Does anybody think that Diame would have ran the midfield in that manner had Tiote been on the pitch? I don’t think so. Being a very good midfield player and a very good free transfer signing by West Ham, Diame was pitching his strengths against a visibly unfit Yohan Cabaye and Vurnon Anita. He just bullied and bossed the midfield from start to finish. We were missing our warrior in the middle. Even though he has a disciplinary problem on the pitch, we needed someone to make his presence felt.
Finding a rhythm
One thing that I have noticed this season is that our team is not out of the blocks as fast as they were last season, and Alan Pardew has been talking about the team still coming to terms with finding their usual rhythm. So, how do you create a rhythm?
In my opinion Pardew could play our key players like Cabaye, Ba, Tiote and Coloccini in every match, including the European matches. The more they play together the better they get. The squad rotation used to rest our key players, in my opinion has not worked as Pardew would have wished. Even though he fields a fresh team every league match, he is the first to admit that the teams match stats are not as good as last terms. With all the technology and recovery methods used, it should not be a problem to get a player rested for a match after three days.
Another topic that is on every Newcastle United supporters’ lips is formation system currently used. Should we persist with the 4-4-2 formation, or should we revert to the 4-3-3 formation?
I would go for the 4-4-3 system. When using that system I have seen scintillating football played by Newcastle United. It is a very solid option when defending and a potent force when attacking. It is no use persisting in playing with two strikers right now, when one of them is out of form. This system would give a chance to another offensive midfielder like Marveaux or Obertan to make a name for himself and stake a claim for a starting berth.
The next two months will be crucial for our season. Sunday’s result was a blow for our league ambitions, there is no denying that, but we had a decent start, with only six points dividing us from 4th placed Everton. With the January transfer window fast approaching the board must realise that we need to add a defender and a midfielder to our current squad.
It is still possible to have a successful domestic campaign, with everyone – including players, management and fans pulling UNITED in one direction.
Do you agree with Daniel? Should Pardew play Newcastle’s big guns in the Europa League? Is a 4-3-3 formation the answer? Let us know your thoughts?
Author: Daniel Abela is a 30-year old Newcastle fan living in Balzan, Malta. He has been a supporter of the Black & White since 1992. His favourite memory is Craig Bellamy’s late goal against Feyenoord in the Champions League.