The end to 4-4-2?

Posted on August 22nd, 2010 | 82 Comments |

Tactics - It's a funny old game.
Tactics - It's a funny old game.
Last season we saw a change in approach to some games, with the focus being on keeping things tight, particularly away from home.

It served us well last season, and it looks like it will be used again this season as Chris Hughton attempts to make Newcastle hard to beat.

The theory is that the game has moved on from simply playing that old favourite, the 4-4-2, and it is now a formation that is becoming redundant, out-dated if you will. Indeed you only have to look at the World Cup to see what is meant by that. Not many teams used a 4-4-2 other than England and a few others, and we all know how well England’s World Cup campaign went – Not very!

I kind of agree that the 4-4-2 is becoming out-dated as a tactical system in football. There aren’t that many teams in the Premier League that will use it as a default system. They may use it as a base and make some tweaked changes to it, but the use of the conventional 4-4-2 looks to be dying out.

Louise Taylor inspired me into writing this. I read her article in her Sunday paper which suggested that the 4-4-2 system was built into Geordie football philosophy. I disagree. I actually think that 4-4-2 was a part of English footballing philosophy.

After the World Cup it is blatantly obvious that a 4-4-2 is almost redundant against the top teams. They will over-run it, ans Germany did to England. Weaker teams will nullify it, as Algeria did to England.

A change in system will only work though if a team has the right players that are able to adapt into a new system. Do Newcastle currently have those players though? I’m not so sure.

I would like us to start with a 4-4-2 today against Aston Villa, but I wouldn’t be surprised of we started with only one up front again, much like we did against Manchester United. In my mind, playing one up front is very negative, but if players that can quickly support that lone striker are played then I seen no reason why it can’t work.

The standard 4-4-2 may be becoming redundant, but as with any formation and setup, it has to suit the players that we have at our disposal. I’m not so sure what our best formation would be at the moment to be honest.

The 4-4-2 is dead. Long live the new system.

NUFCBlog Author: toonsy toonsy has written 643 articles on this blog.

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82 Responses

  1. We dont need to play the 4-5-1 at home, it actually allows the other team to play higher up the pitch and cause us more problems. We need Peter or someone to run at them our attack is far to static atm with just Carroll.

  2. the most important thing is that we dont play like a bunch of red and blue magnets on a marker board or we will

  3. I don’t even think AC suits playing on his one. He needs people much closer and running off him – this won’t happen especially with Nolan off him. I’d still plump for 442 at home because we are unlikely to control possession well anyway with our players and the best chance is to get men in the box for crosses.

  4. NZ – 4-4-2 being a stalwart to the Newcastle over the years. I argue that it isn’t just us who has used the 4-4-2, like Louise Taylor reckons. I would say it is/was common in English football in general, not just us.

  5. Well now that Vill a have sold on Milner, who do they have to play in that right wing slot?? My concern is Ashley Young & his pace against out right back!!! whether it be Perch or someone else, that’s our weakest side by far & Routledge will need to do a lot of defending today to help Perch out I think… :(

    As for formation, I don’t believe this crap about a player specific to his position, any player should be able to play any position, ok they may not be great in that position but they should still be able to play there, as its football, no matter where you play, you still have the same job to do, just in a different position!!

    I think CH will go with 4-4-1-1 today, with Loverboy just behind Carroll, Nolan & Gutherie in the middle, Barton on the bench!!!

    Now my concern is, CH gave Nolan the captains armband but the more CM players we bring in, give Nolan less chance of playing, so was it a wise move???

  6. i tink you meant philosophy not… philososhy,

    anyway I totally agree formations are too rigid, I also believe whenever we employed 4 5 1 away from home , we looked negative , and too one dimensional , sorry to crit your typo….mucker

  7. What the heck is that woman talking about now. If anything 4-4-2 became english football philosphy. Is she trying to deny thats how Sunderland have played for umpteen years including the latest incarnation of Bent/Jones and now Bent/Campbell.

  8. djg it is the other way around! it is harder to break down..why would u play 442 with nolan playing central..we havnt got a good enough midfield to play that way yet..yes agianst the bottom sides maybe..but we are then open for the counter attack against villa..they cant run so what u have just said would be pointless against villa.

  9. I suppose I want to know is can we score two goals against Villa today , and can our defence stifle villas midfield , including milner and attack , to reduce them to just ONE goal or less , it will be difficult , but we need to be as tight as a drum at the rear….

  10. Lets look at the facts today:

    I’ve just had two fantastic bacon sarnies, I’m going to have a nice bath then get ready for the match and go and have a few drinks.

    Who gives a fck what formation we play????

  11. oh yeah he went to city , would have been nice if we could have had a cut of the fee like… sorry its late in nz

  12. Stuart79 says:
    August 22, 2010 at 10:11 am
    Lets look at the facts today:

    I’ve just had two fantastic bacon sarnies, I’m going to have a nice bath then get ready for the match and go and have a few drinks.

    Who gives a fck what formation we play????
    <<<<<< stu ur havin another bath didnt u have 1 last month :lol: as for the formation wel see who gives a fck if after the match if we play 451 and lose m8

  13. asim

    The problem isnt the formation mate, the problem is playing Carrol and Nolan upfront, either as a ‘4-2’ or as a midfielder bombing forward. They are too easily tracked by the defenders in this league. Chris has to play Peter if he’s fit. Nolan they will have in their pocket.

  14. 4-2-3-1 baby, that’s the way to go. Has anyone read the rumour the holloway may want leon best?

  15. toonsy if your missus is on get the rag and suck on it for a couple of mins u will feell alot better m8

  16. im giving up the chance to go out for a sunday lunch today to sit at home and watch the match. Its only on ESPN 2-3 times a year or something and I sure as hell aint watch it recorded and some bloke shouts out the score before I get home lol

  17. Batty – Lovely thought that mate. Should be fine, but I’ll try to avoid the stringy bits ;)

  18. Nzed – Sorry mate, must have missed your question back then… Why Cyprus, because I live here fella :) lol

    Been in Cyprus for 4 years now but still try to watch as many games as poss, if not all, bit like your goodself I suspect :)

    Batty – thats digusting.. errrrrrrrr :(

  19. I found Cyprus to be a bit of a rock to be honest. Went to Corfu once, lush green island want to go back again sometime if I can afford it.

  20. hitman says:
    August 22, 2010 at 10:29 am

    Don’t be ridiculous!

    He’ll only get a run out if we’re ever 5-0 up at half time or were flying high at the top of the league. So looks like he’ll have to go out on loan!

    Come to think of it, why hasn’t he ever gone out on loan? Gotta be better than playing reserve football.

  21. Hughton is tactically unaware. When Ranger and Vuckic came on at Carlise we were going forward loads and created loads of chances and scored all 3 goals after the break. Yet he would never be so bold as to make a change in a proper game, when we are not looking like scoring and 20mins to go why not, what could we lose.

  22. Stu- I think Haris might have gone on loan last year if it weren’t for his injury.

    We need to find the other lads clubs too –
    Donaldson, LuaLua, Tozer, Airey, Inman, Edmundsson and Newton. – maybe Hughton is waiting to let them play in the league cup.

    Reserves are a waste of time – as soon as the lads are too old for u18 they need real experience

  23. ………..Carrol

  24. Is he scared that Vuckic or Ranger might come on and get the winner and it might result in a few bruised egos for the senior lads.

  25. yes u are right!nolan is the loves him so we are playing around him..what ever we play..he is going to play..

  26. let me try again…


  27. djg that is what i have been saying for ages..if he doesnt wont them in why put them on the bench..if we need a goal..then these 2 score goals..not bringing on best or xico who then plays them on the wings.

  28. morning lads! boy oh boy am i excited aboot the game today.think we will win today by 2 goals to 1.will be in my regular season ticket seat,usually get a good view of any ‘visitors’ so hoping to see hatem and tiote! right going to get me clothes on,new toon home shirt that is falling apart after 2 washes! classy stuff this nufc malarky like. going to go for a few jars with me mates and will be well up for it by 1.30.come on the toon,we need to get a result today to set us up for the season,its not going to be easy but with our undying support the lads can see of these villians! everybody in big loud voice today i gaurantee! HWTL!!!!

  29. for anyone that’s interested i’ll be selling socks (3 pairs for a £1 )& cheap tabs today , i’ll be working outside the stawberry pub from 1/2 11 till 7 the night.
    for identification purposes i stand 6′ 4″ tall (in my stocking feet) & i’ll be wearing my donnay trackie bottoms my henry lloyd boots & my lonsdale puffa jacket

    early bird is off to work.

    goodbye i dont think i’ll be returning.

  30. sorry lads it is a bad thing to say..i hope he gets injured and is out for months..he got a lucky break with butt getting injured in pre season last year..i am shore that changed are season..becasue he would have been ch first pick and when he bought him back we got beat against blackpool..

  31. Morning lads and lasses,

    whoevers lucky enough to have a ticket for todays game, hope you have a great time, have a couple of sneck-lifters before the match, have a good good chant to scare the piss out of the villa fans, and that the toon bring home the three points !!!

    Sunday afternoon games are always good crack…hope the sun is shining in the toon today…25 degrees and sun in Munich..

    Howay the lads !!

  32. I really hope we win today for several reasons. Infact if there was 4-5 games a season I really want us to win this is one of them..

    Firstly and foremost nobody expected us to get anything at Ol Traff and we didn’t so we still on nill pois. 3 points would get us in our mid table slot nicely with a tricky trip to Wolves coming up.

    Secondly I would hate to see us lose our season long record at home in the first game back and I think we will maintain it against Blackpool.

    Finally after the humiliation of Villa Park and the smugness of their fans I would love to wipe the smirks off their faces today and I think we will struggle again at their place so this has to be it.


  33. DJG – It is a rock mate the same as the UK but it’s a rock in the middle of the Med, it’s currently 38c today, so I’ll be watching the match with a few bottles of Keo beer & the sun blazing down on me :)

    We’re going to have problems in the midfield when Gosling is fit, Tiote is in the side & Ben Arfa plays too ;) who’s going to be Captain then!!!

    I think if we defo get Ban Arfa & Tiote, we need to get rid of some MF players, like Smudger & maybe Nolan, who’re on very high wages, thats the problem tho!

  34. 2-1 to the toon!! need to get at them straight away!
    i no wishfull thinking but would be great if arfa was there and he signs tomorrow

  35. 38c thats almost a bit too hot mate lol. desert like. Get yurself in the shade with a ice cold lager mate and enjoy the match!

  36. If you ignore Louise Taylor’s spin then Hughton is correct in what he says, a lot of the big clubs have moved away from 4-4-2 and we don’t have the players here to play it successfully against many teams in the league because we run the risk of getting overrun in the middle of the park.

    I also think this is where Ben Arfa comes into it if he does come here, he will be the link up man between midfield and Carroll up top and it’s a position that needs filling most now as I don’t have the faith in Nolan or Lovenkrands to fill it.

  37. Just a thought, yesterday West Brom with 4-5-1 at home beat the Mackems playing 4-4-2. But I think West Brom have a better midfield than us – more movement and creativity throughout it.

  38. Rangerman

    I have wetdreams of Ben Arfa playing in a Lionel Messi type link up role between Barton and Carroll. Not good nes today though saying we wouldnt meet his wage demands after we were led to believe the final purchase fee was the stumbling block.

  39. Not saying about i am very good in tactical football,but after years of watching Serie A,i learnt quite a little.

    Tactics are there for you to use and also the most impt,to tweak it around,and create one that is suitable for the team. Great Example would be Mourinho who use a rather weird formation,4-2-1-3,which is actually based on 4-3-3.

    Since we tends to be more defensive when away,we can employ a 4-2-3-1 formation.With the three mid-fielders Mainly Nolan,Gosling,Guthrie.Then that two DM position we can rotate with that New DM player,Alan Smith,Barton,or if CH wants Nolan there too.Is a good way,cause let’s say if Nolan is running out of breath,but since he is captain,cannot always being sub out right,he can push Nolan from that front mid-field to back as DM. One stone kill two bird. ;)

    (Away) 4-2-3-1

    Then at Home,we can try to be more attacking,but employing 4-1-2-1-2,with wingers ben arfa and wayne,AM as Jonas.

    (Home) 4-1-2-1-2

  40. Feel free to comment about my tactical knowledge. :lol:

    ps: I started to love Mourinho new tactics for Inter last season,since 4-2-1-3,is mobile..either it can be very defensive,or very offensive. Cause at any point,that formation may change to 4-2-4,or 6-0-4. :lol:

  41. Can somebody please tell me what is the point of having Alan Smith on £60k a week now that we appear to have signed an Ivory Coast international DM?

  42. i thought his personal terms were all agreed n was jus waiting on om to agree, seems wierd everything was agreed before now there saying is wages are a problem

  43. craigcoozy’s back on ed’s. he just has a couple of names and asked if they are players or agents – quick google search brings up nothing.

  44. toonsy – i was going by these twitter guys saying the deal is done, now its not coz of wages…but your rite the papers are like a week behind most things

  45. Alex – I wouldn’t put too much faith in Twitter either. I mean, I could pass myself off as someone ‘in the kno’ if I really wanted to.

  46. from craig coozy 11.25

    ma other news is tiote deal has almost callapsed ! hes being asked to go back to holland immediately for breach contract – i dont know any more info on this ! reps hav turned up saying nufc holdin him against his will but nufc saying way not ! confused.

  47. So after it was all over the FC Twente website yesterday, the official one, they are now demanding him back? Hmmm…

    Methinks it’s bollocks ;)

  48. Just reporting mate. To be honest – I haven’t trusted that craigcoozy for a couple of weeks because anyone could be writing it for a windup now.

  49. he’s still on their official website as coming here.

    Whey I’m ready,toon top on just waitin for wor lass noo :roll:

  50. lads forget this crap..we will find out today if he is in the stands..i hope ben arfa is as well..but best going to blackpool..he is out for 3 months cant see that happening getting player and not playing him.

  51. WTVH – It wasn’t a pop at you mate, but whoever it was that said that just doesn’t make sense. Why on earth would the club itself put it on their own website before backing out?

  52. some1 might have bid higher so they wont him..hhm lol a another player goes on strike to get his wish to play for us..whats going on players wont to play for must be the fans or why would they come here with the comings and goings of this club.

  53. I know they want to wait until things are guarenteed, but it would be a lot better if ournclub would communicate with the fans on these things. It’s not exactly a secret if Twente have made it offical on their site.

  54. lads see are bench today..harris and ranger i bet wont get on today..with lover and gut back in..then we have a bench of no hopers his pals…r.taylor ameobi lover smith.and 2 others.defender and harris or ranger.

  55. Im gonna wait till the teams called out and then might hoy a sneaky fiver on loverboy, just got a feeling he’s gonna score first goal today.