Alan Pardew and Newcastle United: Learning Lessons the Hard Way

Posted on February 13th, 2012 | 58 Comments |

Pardew - Learning lessons?
Pardew - Learning lessons?
After Newcastle United’s 5-0 thumping at Tottenham on Saturday, silver supremo Alan Pardew has reflected on his teams defeat and performance at White Hart Lane.

Recent quotes attributed to Mr.Pardew happen to mention the use of formation in recent weeks, which is something I am interested in venting my thoughts on. But before I begin, in case you haven’t had the pleasure of reading his recent reflections on all things Newcastle I shall include the most important snippet for you below. Enjoy…

“We have two good strikers but they didn’t have a chance at Spurs. Papiss isn’t going to win you the game when you’re 2-0 down after five minutes.

“We need to be able to cope with having two strikers. The Press and the fans have criticised us when we have played 4-5-1 at times this year. Now they understand why.”

The formation debate is something that I see / hear on a regular basis, right through all the Newcastle blogs it’s a topic discussed between fans. The main issue I see however has never been in regards to United utilising a 4-5-1, rather, it has been more notably about United using a 4-4-2. It seems, certainly in my case anyway, that most are against Newcastle using 4-4-2 and more pro towards using a 4-5-1. So where Pardew has got this information from seems lost on me. Moreover, Newcastle haven’t used a 4-5-1 all season, but have dabbled with a 4-3-3 and a 4-4-1-1. The latter formation has only been used when Hatem Ben Arfa has been included in the starting eleven (hardly ever), and the former was recently used at Fulham and Brighton.

The point being Pardew’s “we need to cope with two strikers” is not true and not related to our capitulation at Spurs on Saturday evening. Yes, missing players such as Tioté and Cabaye will never help matters when you come up against a team on fire, but had they been available anyway Newcastle would have almost certainly still used the 4-4-2 anyhow. In our 25 Premier League games so far, Newcastle have started the match in a 4-4-2 formation on 19 occasions, including our visit to Old Trafford. Needing to cope with two strikers has not been the problem in recent weeks, and something that Pardew cannot use as an excuse to those of us who study the game, and have an inkling on how football works.

Newcastle have had two matches in recent weeks where they have conceded five goals, resulting in a heavy defeat being inflicted. One major tactical problem recently has been our defensive high line being ruthlessly exposed by opposition attackers with pace, and teams playing a more direct style against us. The game at Blackburn recently, which United won, was in fact another example, as I think it is fair to say Blackburn totally played us off the park that night, and in fairness should have won the match. The recent home game against Aston Villa could very well have been a different story, with Pardew admitting his side were lucky not to be a couple of goals down at half-time. Individual performances of certain members of our back line haven’t helped things either, but I’ll refrain from naming names as to avoid the inevitable ‘witch hunt’ accusations.

So the easy option is to just give Spurs the plaudits for Saturday, and to be fair they do deserve all the credit they have been given this season. But from my point of view, this defeat has been on the cards when you look at our more recent games and performances. I can take defeat, but it’s the manner in which you take it that’s important. I think Pardew should have picked up on recent performances and certainly altered the high line, but it just doesn’t seem to be his style to change much. I respect Pardew, and think he has done a great job with us so far, but I don’t like it when he fails to realise an issue tactically, or in the example of the case above, vent an issue publicly that doesn’t have anything to do with the bad result. The inclusion of Papiss and the 4-4-2 was not the problem, had we not even signed Papiss, we would have just used Ameobi instead in a 4-4-2. It’s more a case of Pardew realising that he should of played a 4-5-1 and he’s trying to justify it by claiming the press and fans have been critical of the use of it.

It’s certainly a difficult and touchy subject to debate, on one hand we have to look at the big picture and see that United are only one point off fourth place in the Premier League, something in which not even the most optimistic of fan could possibly of hoped for at the seasons start. But it is also relevant to analyse our performances, especially after we haven’t played well and decipher what / why we didn’t play to our best. This is also what Pardew as manager does, he will look into the why and how we can be better in the next game, and learn from it. My opinion is however that we haven’t rectified the faults in our tactical play recently, most apparent being our defensive line.

Wolves are up in Toon in two weeks time, minus Mick McMackem so the perfect match to get back to winning ways just got harder as no doubt they will have a new manager in place for the match and will be eager to impress. But more importantly though, I’m sure our lads will want to give the fans a good solid performance, and carry on our assault on the top six.

The question remains though, will Pardew and the players have learned, especially defensively, from last weekend?

NUFCBlog Author: Jimbob Backpacker extraordinaire and current resident of sunny Sheffield. Loves Marmite, hates peanut butter. Sleeps twice a day, wrestles Polar Bears because he can and regards himself as cool as a cucumber in a bowl of hot sauce. Jimbob has written 40 articles on this blog.

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58 Responses

  1. Excellent article totally agree with this. I thought Pardew was bang out of order with his comments in the paper it stinks of him trying to deflect the negative result away from himself and instead put the blame on the fans and press. The thing is about 4-5-1 we played that against Fulham except using Leon Best as a winger and we got stuffed, if we are going to play that formation why not start playing Ben Arfa I hope he stays at the club because he could be a cracking player for us.

  2. well i thought it cd be a cracker when i saw how you had lined up. i was sure there were goals to be scored. and if you had not been without your two star midfielders (and last year i thought tiote was a little dirty but this year he is up to the full pace of the game and an excellent player) we wd have conceded some. frankly after the west broms and the wolves of the world with their 9 men behind the ball at all times and with 7 players instructed to never dare cross the half way line it was good to see a team with confidence to give it a go. with cabaye and tiote it wd have been more even and still pleny of goals, they wd just have been more even as well!

  3. Well Jimbob, interesting and to the point. I think Pardew’s problem is that he now thinks he has the right squad to play his 4-4-2 – and if all our players were fit & available then he probably has. He would be able to keep us up in the top 8 without too much problem – but that’s our limit.

    That is not to say I agree with him, only that I see what he is trying to do. In which case he probably genuinely thinks it is not his fault if things go wrong.

    The basic problem is that he (like most in Britain) is a 4-4-2 manager/coach – schooled in a system ideal for success at most clubs in most of our leagues. A system in which if a player is unavailable you simply slot in a replacement – and to improve and achieve success you just sign a series of better players to replace weak links.

    To this type of manager the idea of picking your 11 best players and devising a formation to best use their ability is completely alien. So we see week after week a quality player like Ben Arfa side-lined cos he doesn’t fit even when 6 players are unavailable!

    OK – its great that we are just 1 point behind Arsenal & Chelski and 3 above Liverpool – but I have serious doubts that we can improve on this with our current type play.

  4. I would love it, just love it if you lot got 4th spot. You can, but you need Tiote back and Cabaye.
    We have the same formation dilema too. Ours is to accomodate Vdv but when he is out Harry has decisions. We went 442 against you, if you had played 451 i reckon you would of given us a game.
    Hope you lot get fourth.

  5. Excellent analysis. I have argued Pardew’s approach of using a one tactic fits all teams philosophy this season. Trying to force a square into a triangle shaped hole.

    Our high might work (be a strength) in one game but that same high line can be a weakness in another. I will support Pardew so long as he is managing us but I cannot help but wonder what a fully tactically competent manager could do with us.

    We look good in one game only to look so bad in another. Why such inconsistency. Our players are not so good one day to be so bad the next. This High line is exposing us and only works when we know we can dominate possession.

    Let me declare so for future reference: Pardew is tactically incompetent. He may well be good in other things but tactics are not his strength.

    There are games in which Ben Arfa would be so ideal because his running with the ball can open opportunities. Some games in which Lovenkrands would be a better choice up front.

  6. Pardew is high on tactical discipline and keeping shape.

    LB – CB – CB – RB
    LM – CM – CM – RM

    2 Banks of four staying in a line has meant we are harder to break down for opposing but by being so rigid we lack the cutting edge upfront. There’s no doubt Ba has created alot of his goals by his own skill.

    We have 2 wide men who don’t cross the ball. Obertan is playing the exact same style of football as Downing at Liverpool. Run up the wing beat your man more than than is needed, cut inside and lose the ball. Jonas on the other side is a willing running but has never been a crosser of the ball.

    Our tactics & style of play are flawed as they rely on a top defence. The start of our campaign was so successful because our wide midfielders were operating as wing backs so when we didnt have the ball they dropped back and our defensive back 4 played more narrow creating a tight wall which was very hard to break down.

    Its as if our midfield masked our defensive frailties.

    We need to regroup as a team and take every point we can through to the end of the season.

  7. spurs guvnor says:
    February 14, 2012 at 12:11 am

    ” We have the same formation dilema too. Ours is to accomodate Vdv but when he is out Harry has decisions. We went 442 against you, if you had played 451 i reckon you would of given us a game.”

    Yes spurs guvnor but that’s the point I think. ‘Arry brought a very good player into the team, switched things around a bit to use him in the best way and it worked. Then, when I saw bits of your lot playing against Liverpool it looked more like a 4-5-1. It was a boring game but your lot kept a clean sheet and the manager wasn’t even there. Against us and without VdV again it was a 4-4-2 and so on. We’ve had a very good season overall, not least beating Man U 3-0, but it’s all been from the same kind of athletic 4-4-2 style. Though it has worked most of the time so far, when more flexibilty has been required and Pardew has made a rare experiment it hasn’t. It has also caused him problems utilising some talented players who fall between the cracks of his method. He couldn’t use Tevez in the right way at West Ham and now he’s having problems with Ben Arfa when others with a less restricted football vocabulary possibly wouldn’t.

  8. Williamson may be 6tf 4 but he lacks power in the air, Colo is weak in the air, Pardew admitted that himself, “without Steven Taylor we do not have an aireal presence in the defence”, they were Pardews own words, if you play a deeper back line with 2 defenders who are weak in the air you will get slaughtered in the air,all your opponents need to do is whip some crosses in from advanced positions, it doesn’t have to be from the byline, just has to be from an advanced position, which is what happened against Norwich, they scored 3 of their 4 from headers, if you play a higher line you take that threat away but you do expose yourself to pace, Willianson and Colo are both very slow, so Pardew can’t win, its not the tactics thats at fault, its 2 very poor centre halves, in the summer he should sell both of them as neither of them are good enough, that is your answer, without the protection that the midfield gives we will get exposed,why do you think Pardew is so determined to get his midfield men defending, its only because he knows that the defenders are incapable of doing it themselves

  9. I can’t remember there being such a match with so much post match analysis with so much benefit of hindsight by so many fans on so many bloggs and forums.

    Was the result a one-off blip or was it a systemic team failure with many instances of this throughout the season?

    The table doesn’t lie.

    We haven’t been out of the top 7 all season and you don’t get there and more importantly stay there by having a systemic failed team, tactics and manager.

    Pardew likes 4-4-2 and all this seasons coaching, team tactics and player selection are based on this formation. It is unlikely he will change it because of one heavy defeat or because a player cannot get a game.

    If it ain’t bust………. but, the club shouldn’t be complacement. The team will bounce straight back especially with Tiote and Cabaye back and more time for Cisse’s integration into the team tactics. All will be forgotten when we wollop Wolves and then the unwashed.

  10. Kamar says “The team will bounce straight back ” – yes, mate I agree – but the point I keep making is that it will “bounce straight back” to 7th or 8th and no further – it has reached it limit.
    For our 2nd year back in the PL that is great – no complaints there.

    Next season? Hard to say – we have a stronger united squad, but others know how we play and so we probably won’t get off to such a flyer – we should be able to battle our way to 7th-8th again.

    But to get into europe? I can’t see it. Liverpool, Arsenal & Chelski will rebuild faster than us – quite likely with some of our players!
    I think this is the highwater mark for this team, manager & tactics – enjoy it while it lasts.

  11. “We haven’t been out of the top 7 all season and you don’t get there and more importantly stay there by having a systemic failed team, tactics and manager”.

    again, I agree, we have a good team for 7th – but that’s it. But have you ever known a NUFC team that was built on for success – there appears to be something in our traditions, the fabric of the stadium, our ambitions that says OK that’s good enough, we’re up with the big boys, we beat 5under1and & manu, let’s settle for that – cos I think we’re going to do it again.

    If that’s the way it’s going to be then I’d rather be in the Championship going out to win and chalking up 100+ points rather than just doing well enough to make a comfortable profit.

  12. You can feel upset by the score but if you sat down and looked at both teams you would see Newcastle are just starting too build a good team we are already there. We have players who can come in and play the same way you missed Taylor who provides crosses for Ba and Co you created some good chances even in a massacre. So don’t blame the manager we are a better side especially at home Modric Bale Parker Saha Ady are all very good players at the top of there game Newcastle are one year in a new and i hope for you fans exciting Journey. This would make my Year City Utd Spurs Newcastle if that’s how it finished

  13. definately a place for benny in this team much needed vision creativity and fearless, always has his head up and delivers quality far more so than guti and obertan, id keep guti in tho as he has done nowt wrong , id swap benny and guti over sometimes to vary it. shame marveaux isnt available be good to see more of him and benny lets at least see one of them this season!!!

  14. I think it’s more about personnel than formation really.

    4-4-2 is our best option when we have the people available to play it. The first eleven games of the season showed that we can play well that way. And now we actually have 2 quality strikers to play up front, even more reason for 4-4-2.

    But it needs Tiote sitting in front of the defence, and Cabaye providing the bullets for the Dembas to fire.

    It also needs a good centre-half alongside Colo…Tayor S has been a big miss. Against the Spuds there were numerous examples of Williamson and Colo turning their backs on a shot, when Taylor would have hoyed his body in the way.

  15. hmm interesting reading, ben arfa sage will go on for ages until he gets a start then all will be happy until then lets hope his head doesnt go wondering and looks for an out route. if he was to play the wing would be the only option as pards now has cisse and ba he would most likely not change that up now.

  16. Supermac,

    ‘..But have you ever known a NUFC team that was built on for success ..’

    Our problem in the past was that the board kept changing the manager and each manager had different likes and dislikes in players, formations and tactics. I’m sure if the ManU board behaved the same way as our previous board did then I’m sure ManU wouldn’t have collected so many trophies.

    I believe Pardew is on a 5 year contract with clauses that say he gets no compensation if he walks or gets sacked but crucially he gets bonuses based on results.

    ‘….But to get into europe? I can’t see it. Liverpool, Arsenal & Chelski will rebuild faster than us – quite likely with some of our players!…’

    I’m more an optimist Super. We are 3 points ahead of Liverpool, and on equal points with both Arsenal and Chelsea. This has been an unpredictable season in the sense that the top teams (including us) have suffered some heavy and/or surprise defeats. Champions League or Europa League is reachable. Fingers crossed, upward and onward.

    ‘…I think this is the highwater mark for this team, manager & tactics – enjoy it while it lasts..’

    I hope you are wrong!

  17. My Concern is the application of the same tactics for all teams. We are in 6th purely because of the start we had this season. Next season we are unlikely to get a similar start what then?

    Players have attributes that can be crucial in one game but a weakness in another. The fact Pardew sticks with the same team if they were all fit and the same formation and tactics for every game suggests to me he is not tactically strong. Against Villa we won that game due to the misfortune of Best.

    Best Going off injured meant Cisse who scored an individual goal out a moment of personal brilliance. Ba has been the architect of many of his own goals as well this season. Blackburn ran over us and Villa could have prevented us from winning. I will admit we were lucky and Pardew admitted it.

    Tottenham rely of pace. Adebayor’s movement and pace left us not knowing what hit us Adebayor was responsible for 4 of their goals. and scored the fifth. A monkey can tell you you play deep when up against pace! A manager who does differently either has a very clever elaborate plan or has no clue. 5-0 suggests no clue of the tactics required.

  18. Good points from all lads, and nice to see some Spurs fans views.

    As I said above, the Cabaye and Tiote missing will always be thrown into the equation. However, Cabaye and Tiote have also been in our line up when we’ve been tactically outplayed as well.

    It’s more a case of not altering our tactics for certain games as Micheal12 has pointed out in post 18.

    Today Pardew has come out again in the chronicle with “we were missing three midfielders”… That’s not the main issue with our performances though! Forget just the Spurs game and look closely at a few more recent matches and you’ll see.

    He just thinks that it will wash over by using players missing as an excuse. I hate that. Souness was always using that reason while he was here, and when Roader took over from him, he had the worst injury crises I have ever seen at Newcastle. He never once used that as an excuse though, in fairness he held his hands up and admitted what was wrong.

    I especially remember when we lost to AZ Alkmaar in Holland he admitted he was tactically outdone. Something Pardew seems unable to admit at times.

    Just worries me that either he truly believes the excuses he uses and reasons for not altering tactically within a game to change it, or maybe he does know the main problems but will not admit it publicly…

  19. Michael12 says:
    February 14, 2012 at 11:47 am

    “My Concern is the application of the same tactics for all teams.”

    Well that’s more or less what we’re going to get. They won’t be exactly the same tactics, the odd thing will be tweaked, but it will be the same basic approach. Sometimes it will work, sometimes it won’t, talented players who fall between the cracks of Pardew’s method will probably be sold on to more sophisticated clubs at a substantial profit and probably thrive and we’ll stick with the grafters, unless the better ones start to be attracted by better offers at more generous clubs, then we’ll buy in cheaper, more up and coming players and so on.

  20. ive done some traveling this season following the team both home and away, ive missed only 3 or 4 away games all season.

    on the road i have noticed we tend to grind out results. i was at the wolves game a while back and we weren’t in the game.

    wolves attacked and we were lucky. they had a good goal disallowed. some of our early victories were down to errors by officials. but such is life. man u have had their fair share. they’ve have won leagues on the very tactic alone.

    my point is, next season we wont be so much of a new fresh team we will be a studied team. its coming to the twilight of the season and other teams seem to be reading us like a book.

    i agree that next season will be a lot difficult to sustain a stead improvement so we should enjoy this season while it lasts. i think this is our best chance to get into Europe but unfortunately i don’t think it will be for long.

    the transfer policy and wage structure means players wont stick around, we still have drift wood at st james’ we need to get rid of and until that happens i don’t think we will go far fast.

    teams like liverpool, arsenal and chelsea will all be top 7 next season, i think they will be able to adapt to the recession better than us, and deal with the pitfalls of lack of liquidity the fans bring.

    i fear for next season, i dont think teams will be so easy to fool next season unless new players are brought in and a good few leave. i cant see players like Best and lovenkrands staying anyone worth a few quid should go.get what we can for players on the fringe and move on.

    we need a new direction but i doubt the board will reach this far. we need a cash injection from somewhere and unless we get a few quid for renaming rights i dont think that will happen.

    i would personally say the carroll cash has now gone, we might have 4 or 5 million left but i wouldn’t imagine there will be much left in the chest, with player fees, wages, management bonuses, agents fees and training ground heating we will be lucky to get another player out of the cash.

    i wander, with the current trial of redknapp bringing to light manger bonuses for selling players i wonder how much cash pardew got from the sale of carroll, nolan and enrique. the murky world of football will surely not stop south of the tyne, it will make it way all the way up to the bonny land of Scotland, glasgow rangers to name but one. i wonder if pardew will be prepared to give an honest answer on that question.

    there is something about pardew i dont like, something i dont trust. he came in a yes man and although at times he has given honest views but i cant help think there is something in it more than success for the ratpack, with sports direct creaming the vast advantages of lingering around Newcastle united bonuses will be order of the day.

    so if so many bonuses are on offer what difference does it make to management and the board if they reach the fans targets of league positions and silverware. it seems to me that the most important point Ashley is trying to make is “the financial” side of the club. i haven’t heard anyone talk realistically about Europe without sounding too uniformed, pardew wanted to win the fa cup but we were thumped out by Brighton, he wanted to win the league cup but we were trumped by Blackburn. so its all good saying what the fans want to hear but making the movements to match are still falling short.

    we have just signed cisse which was a shock to us all, but 3 players in per season one of which cant seem to do anything but watch players run by him wont get any rewards unless there is some kind of financial incentive.

    it seems to me obertan was a token gesture, at £3.5 million maybe a bit too much of a price to pay for a token, £1 million more and we got Cabaye.

    i think wolves at home will be a big tell tale game, if a team like wolves open up our frailties and exploit them, then surely next season will be a long winded affair.

    i wont mention Sunderland and where i think they will finish next season, but i will go as far to say there will only be one north east team reaching for a European place next year and it wont be us.

  21. Kamar says “I hope you are wrong!” – so do I mate, I honestly hope we finish 6th and I am made to look stupid. I have enjoyed this season no end, long may it continue.

    But – after 50+ years of supporting NUFC I can’t realy explain why we are doing so well (other than the teams below us are poor) – and I can’t see how we can improve without (very unlikely) spending £30+ on 3 top six quality players.

    But – I hope I am wrong

  22. Stephen, I’ve just sent the calendar money a few minutes ago and I’m gannin’ to make the shoebox lady this site’s nominated charity or whatever the correct term is. I’ll do a little thing in the sidebar about it or something like that.

  23. supermac im with you on that.

    but i think the reason we are where we are is down to a combination of poor refereeing and some individual performances.

    i went to wolves and qpr away and had to sit through newcastle being out played and matched. although we came away with points it goes to show we dont always deserve to be where we are.
    Man u didnt deserve to win the league last season but either did the teams around them.

    this season we are in a similar position, we are where we are because the teams around us havent done as well as they have in previous seasons.

    next season i think we will be faced with a newer fresher chelsea, a bigger better liverpool with arsenal having a similar approach to us, if we do improve then maybe they will be out main rivals.

    i think sunderland will be good for a two or three seasons without having to purchase any one. there signings have been very much dream signings, free and cheap. maybe this approach is better than the “spend little on younger, better cheaper players” when you can supply a whole new team of very well experienced premier league players, who, with the right man in charge play some very good football.

    i think some changes are in order and we need to realise we arent going to get the £30 million from anywhere else but the sale of the re-naming rights to the hallowed ground.

    lets face it, if we want European football we need to sacrifice something to get it. and unfortunately that means St. James Park.

  24. “there will only be one north east team reaching for a European place next year and it wont be us”
    – perhaps a cold wind of reality will blow over the Wear after the Arsenal result? They look high on motivation but low on real quality, has their messiah bounce ended?

  25. Worky… Tears to the eyes mate.

    Sady will be over the moon. i will find out if she has her own regional website or not. i’m not sure if she will, shes is old school. my mother is pretty much the same. she doesn’t know how important these things can be at raising awareness.

    if not ill see if i can get something up and running for her.

    ill stick the calendar in the post today.

  26. Stephen C says:
    February 14, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    “lets face it, if we want European football we need to sacrifice something to get it. and unfortunately that means St. James Park.”

    How is £40,000 going to bring us European football Stephen? That is all the club has received from Sports Direct for the naming rights, which is probably just the cost of all that dreadful signage. Make no mistake, no-one is going to pay £10 million per annum for it, that was a ruse.

  27. He could have switched to 4-5-1 without changing personnel-Ba can play wide, he did it w/WHU. And if the 2 forwards were the problem to him, he sure didn’t realize/do anything about it until introducing Gosling in what, the 70th minute?

    Even with our entire squad, we need to use 4-5-1 sometimes.

    Mick-what you say is exactly why AP needs to be flexible. When the forwards you’re facing are Holt & Morrison by all means, play a high line. But against Spurs? It’s suicide! This is just knowing your opponent and the sort of adjustments that have to be made in a pub league match. And by the way-if he really said that about our defense, why was he so smug about making due with what we have? Again AP speaks out of both sides of his mouth. Bassong on loan anyone?

    I believe AP-and his staff-know very little about attacking. I keep saying: we rely completely on individuals for goal scoring chances (not just Ba but even Best as well as goals recently from Gutierrez, HBA and Cisse) and have no system that consistently produces them (set pieces notwithstanding).

  28. Stephen C says “we need to sacrifice something to get it. and unfortunately that means St. James Park”. – quite honestly mate if it was genuinely US (rather than having it imposed without discussion or explaination) who accept a new stadium name then I think it would be worth it
    – we would simple accept that the stadium at SJP is called OS2 North or whatever – and that the team playing in that stadium at SJP has recieved the cash injection it needs for success.

    If NUFC won the PL and/or cup/s I would not loose any sleep over what the stadium at SJP was called.

  29. i totaly agree worky. £40,000 is worth nothing but salt in the winter to help fans get to the ground.

    we need to either think positive about it and support any bids, or get used to £40,000 worth of haberdashery hanging from the ground.

    i say we like it or lump it, if we want investment we need to support anyone giving £10 million per season or lump i and keep quiet. i love St. james like the next man. but there comes a time when us little men, no matter how tall we stand only shoot ourselves in the foot whilst looking in the face of diversity.

    on a whole maybe we whould take a new direction. for £10 million per year i would give my blessing. one new player per season worth £6-8 million cant be bad.

    and anyway like we all know “nudge nudge wink wink” what ever its called its always going to be ST. JAMES PARK, you, me, queen, country and the houses of parliament all know that one.

  30. tunyc says:
    February 14, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    “He could have switched to 4-5-1”

    Aye tunyc but it’s about much more than merely changing a formation, anyone can do that, it’s about understanding many different approaches and small details within that too. For instance there are many different 4-4-2s. For example the original Alf Ramsey 4-4-2 is much different to the kind Pardew employs. Ramsey’s England were known as “Wingless Wonders” whereas Pardew’s team are highly reliant on wing play and so on…

    Pardew could switch the team to a 4-3-3, a 4-2-3-1 or whatever, but he wouldn’t necessary feel comfortable with it, or be adept with it.

  31. All this negative doom and gloom is unbelievable.

    The first end of the world scenario was at the end of last season when all the fears and cries of despair were about who was going to score the goals now that Andy Carroll was gone.

    The next end of the world scenario was in the summer when all the prophesies of impending doom was when Enrique, Nolan and Barton were sold with mass predictions of relegation.

    The next bit of angst was that our unbeaten run was all down to luck and of course we had only played against some really poor teams and it will all be down hill from now on. When that didn’t happen…..

    The next bit of anxiety was that once we had injuries we will drop like a stone and be in a relegation battle. When that also didn’t happen…

    The next bit of distress and grief was that losing key players to the Africa Cup of Nations would definitely bring us to a fight for survival. Well that didn’t happen either.

    The latest bit of collective Geordie ‘o, woe is me’ was the defeat at Spurs. We are not alone, big scores happen. ManCity 5 – Spurs 1, ManU 8- Arsenal 2, Spurs 4 – Liverpool 0, ManU 1 – ManC 6.

    And now some of you are getting worried about next season.

    For heaven sake, come on. Look where we are now and where we were at the end of May 2009. Since then it has been an onward and upward movement and all the indications are that it will continue.

    Be postive. HWTL

  32. the “onward and upward movement” has been brilliant but what exactly are “all the indications are that it will continue”?
    To me it looks like 7-8th for the forseable future in competition with Everton, Villa & 5under1and – while Arsenal & Liverpool & Chelski regroup and join manu Spurs & manc in the top 6 super league.
    How on earth are we going to displace one of that top 6?
    Big spending on top players? Inspirational management? Or do we just hope that one (or more) implodes from the loss of their super-rich sugar daddies? Or that some oil-rich arab prince buys us as his plaything?

  33. Worky-that’s my point. I should have been clearer: AP’s implied excuse of wanting both forwards on the field is bs, as he didn’t have to go 4-4-2 even with them. That’s the point seems not to get it.

    He should bring in someone to run the offense.

    Kamar @ 32: “All this negative doom and gloom is unbelievable.”

    Whereas you want us to rest on our laurels after 25 games.

    If you drive a car and you only concentrate on the positive, on what’s working right, you’re going to end up stranded on the side of the road because you ignored the gloom & doom of that “check engine” light. Most everyone who levels criticism here has made it quite clear how happy they are with our season on this thread and others. Please stop it with the red herrings.

  34. If Pardew had only played 1 forward – and we would have still lost – you guys would be moaning because we were negative and ‘whats the point in buying another striker etc.etc.

    Jesus, Pardew can’t do right with you guys.

    Even when we are winning people moan about lack of ‘exciting’ gun-ho type not being played, and boring defencing.

    I tell you now, if we qualify for European you’d still bitch and whinge about it.

    5-0, yes it was a little embarrasing, but after we won against Villa, Pardew even said about going to Spurs and enjoying it and doesn’t better if we lose. No one seemed to question that then. We did that, yes we got it wrong – but Jesus, i wasn’t expecting anything out of that game – Spurs are hard to play against this season, we had the added ‘Redknapp don’t go’ by the players added to the match.

    IF, we can two thrashing in our next home games, THEN we may have something to be concerned about.

  35. Putting forward a ludicrously exaggerated and/or distorted version of someone’s argument, and then disputing that rather the real one isn’t really debate, it’s just pointless and I don’t know why some people think it’s still clever in some way. It’s been done so many times before and there’s a name for it. It just shows that someone is having a problem disputing the real argument and it smacks of desperation.

  36. tunyc says:
    February 14, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    “Worky-that’s my point. I should have been clearer: AP’s implied excuse of wanting both forwards on the field is bs, as he didn’t have to go 4-4-2 even with them. That’s the point seems not to get it.”

    He did though to a large degree tunyc, that was my point. Pardew’s footballing vocabulary is somewhat more limited than Redknapp’s. They both come out of the same tradition, but Redknapp has moved on a bit.

  37. i can see where you optimist are sat. yes it is great to be involved in top 4 battle.

    personaly i think this will be our only oportunity. if we dont make it this season, next season will be difficult. maybe impossible.

    when i watch sunderland i see a team who are up for it, i dont see that with newcastle. i see long ball, players struggling and linesmen getting decisions wrong time and time again.

    it all adds up.

    how are we going to compete with the likes of chelski and liverpool, man c, man u, spuds and arsenholes and i would hate to say it, Sunderland.

    im not looking forward to the derby, we barelty scraped by the last time, with the right manager the could knock us for six, and unfortunately they have the right manager.

    i think the derby in two weeks could be a platform on how next season will pan out, yes a little early, but it will show how our current squads play against each other.

    we will no doubt have a full squad, tioete and cabaye returned and ready. so lets hope our players are ready for the backlash, as i get the feeling “one for the fans” might be the quote of the day from oniels boys.

    they have unearthed some great gems some of which would fit into any top 6 side so im not going to sit here and pretend they aren’t a danger because we can all see they are.

    we will need to spend at least £20 million to compete next season.

    with word on the street edin hazard is off to spurs next season it will be difficult to scrap a point here or there from teams that we have in the past.

    and since we are talking mechanical, if you spend your life thinking a golf gti is the bees knees then sooner or later you will come up against a Ferrari or a lambo and get burnt away. how on earth could you compete against someone driving one of those if the boss wont give you the cash to modify or upgrade. if all you are going to race is a mini metro or a ford fiesta then you shouldn’t hold you head high until you have beaten the beast and slain all the dragons at least once.

  38. to add, having players on the pitch who can accommodate 4-4-2. 3-2-3-2. 4-5-1, 9-1, 7-2-1 means you can dominate teams.

    sir alex starts with one formation but changes 10 – 20 times per game. its adapting to changes in the opposition that heralds a great manager.

    it ok starting with 4-4-2 but keeping that formation for 90 minutes is going back to childhood.

    if pardew cant grasp a changing play and grasp opportunities by the minute then we need to look for people who can.

    dont get me wrong he has done well, but can he continue? can he adapt and improve? tevez and typical example, he doesn’t learn how to create a player from a player, he doesn’t seem to know how to grasp opportunities.

    ben arfa can lose the ball, so adapt. if you know he loses the ball put someone there to cover it. if you cant utilise the best in a person and compensate the weaknesses then don’t expect players like benny to stick around.

    and is it me or is this “blame the players for everything” approach a little off putting. publicly criticizing players to the press is like smack in the teeth by a dentist.

    i cant recall any manger getting the best out of his players by publicly criticizing them, bobby didnt, Wor england Arry doesnt, dogleesh doesnt, fergie doesnt. so why on earth does pardew? benny doesnt do this, benny doesnty do that.
    well pardew you don’t make sure there is cover for when he does.

    accommodate and improve and im sure 4-4-2 will become 5-4-3-2-1 in good time

  39. Excellent thread Jimbob and lots of constructive comments from contributors too. Makes a change from some other sites :)

    Points raised

    1. We were doing OK for the first eleven games with 4-4-2.

    OK but who had we played ?

    Aston Villa

    A relatively gentle introduction to the season gave us the chance to bed players in and allow confidence to build. We are better than the Bolton’s, Wolves’ and Wigan’s but just not too sure about the rest

    2. We didnt have Tiote or Cabaye against Spuds which would have made a difference.

    Anyone remember Cabaye’s last two games ? Either the guy had reached burn out stage or he was lacking confidence without Cheikh around ? BTW we had them both in midfield for the Liverpool game and still lost 3-1.

    3. We wouldnt hacve got anything from Spuds anyway !

    To be fair Spuds look good at WHL although not in the early part of the season. Parker has made a difference to them and they now have that almost perfect balance between offence and defence.

    However their previous home game before Wigan was against Wolves (yes Spuds fans didnt like it but thats the nature of success it brings with it problems of its making) who took the game to Spuds in a 4-2-3-1 formation which rapidly changed to 4-5-1 without the ball. The key point was they worked with two reasonably nimble wingers in Kightly and Jarvis whose job it was to prevent Bale and Lennon running riot down the wings.

    Putting Obertan into a situation that demands the majority of his game is in a defensive role is like staking your last pound on the lottery – just not gonna happen. HBA gets left out of the squad because he doesnt work hard enough and track back so why Obertan ?

    I too am beginning to realise that players like Tevez and HBA dont fit into Pardwho’s scheme of things. As the Mackem Louise said earlier this season – it’s his failure to get the best from HBA that should cause him the most concern and spur him on to redouble his efforts to solve a conundrum of his own making.

    So yes thanks for 6th or 7th but if that gets us back into Europe, does anyone really seriously think Pardwho’s going to get us anywhere near a decent run when we failed so dismally to beat Stevenage, Blackburn and Brighton in our own domestic Cups ?

  40. Stephen C says:
    February 14, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    “and is it me or is this “blame the players for everything” approach a little off putting. publicly criticizing players to the press is like smack in the teeth by a dentist.

    … accommodate and improve and im sure 4-4-2 will become 5-4-3-2-1 in good time”

    No, it isn’t just you. Do you remember when he blamed the Stevenage defeat on Tim Krul’s kicking and the fact that he only had Lovenkrands and Best upfront rather than Ameobi and Carroll? He absolutely crucified Krul in public saying that he didn’t live up to the standard he expected at Newcastle

    If I remember rightly, we were being beaten in the air and flooded in midfield. Pardew tried long balls to the strikers but they simply couldn’t get into the game. However Pardew wouldn’t switch from his 4-4-2.

    5-4-3-2-1 may be the answer if we were allowed to field 15 outfiled players plus a goalkeeper!

  41. Andy-consider the LFC game. It was closer than the 3-1 scoreline. The final score against spurs wasn’t deceptive at all. Losing Cabaye & Tiote makes a HUGE difference though I agree that Cabaye had looked tired. I’ve stated more than once: think of the ban as enforced rest.

    Steven-you’re overreacting to Sunlun. Their defense is still crap, they’re going to lose a keeper they spunked 8M on for nothing and their record signing for a pittance. They still have no forwards that anyone fears. Lee Cattermole is their answer to Tiote and for all the talk of us losing key players, it’s happened to them more often of late. As for these “gems” honestly-other than McClean, who? O’Neill found there was a limit to what he could do at Villa. I sincerely doubt that he’ll achieve much if anything more with the mackems, who have spent similarly to Villa over the last five years and probably aren’t looking to buy a new squad.

    So what if Hazard goes to Spurs? You must have missed the addendum to his statement: “as long as they qualify for the CL, otherwise: pfft.” What would that mean to us anyway-that we’ll lose 0-6 next season? So what? Once upon a time not so long ago, we could entertain the same ambition as spurs. No longer, but I’m not crying in my beer over it.

    As for AP & HBA-I have a sinking feeling we’re being softened up for the blow of Benny leaving this summer. What’s really unfortunate is that I think part of this is due to a personal beef: AP doesn’t like HBA. Anything AP’s said about HBA in terms of his defense, effort and concentration are also true of Obertan. Everything he’s said about Obertan needing more time and confidence (he’s had 35 PL appearances to HBA’s 14) is true of Benny. So what’s the difference? Why does one get selected every time it’s defensible and the other can’t buy an appearance?

    Too bad.

  42. worky

    ive actually included the goal keeper in my 5-4-3-2-1 formation. 1 being the goal keeper. i thought i would play saylor and collo in the center with tiote santon and simpson.

    midfield would be me, you, benny, jonas. up front…… well you get my drift.

    but yes i remember. he is quick to judge, but he forgets he can quite easily change the game by changing the formation. 4-4-2 can quite easily become 4-5-1 and 3-5-2. its easily to field a team who can adapt. sir alex has proven this time and time again.
    sir alex normally starts 4-3-3 then on the cosh its 4-5-1 with rooney in midfield and chickpea upfront on his own.
    he is a master at changing the tactics numorous times per game. it is how he confuses the opposition.

    i have noticed a big change in kruls kicking this season. and to be fair it wasn’t his fault. i have followed the toon home and away for two and a half years. ive has seen a big difference in the coaching since pardew came in. the current goal keeper coach, quite frankly is shite. i remember watching krul warm up when harper was no.1 harper was in goal and krul was at the half way line kicking the ball and retrieving it when harpers kicks went wayward.
    krul at the time could kick a ball from the half way line directly to the feet of harper. harper didn’t have to move, it was there. the coaching before games has now changed they don’t seem to bother about kicking but instead concentrate on shot stopping and corners. a vital part of kruls training seems to be missing. as a result his kicking has now deteriorated.

    if pardew had the management skills to get the best out of his players then he might learn a few things himself.
    to be honest i cant see him being in the toon job this time next year. i feel a player revolt coming on. bigger than the last time.


    i agree on the HBA obertan comment, in my opinion hba offers a lot more. he just needs to adapt. in france i could imagine him to be the gerard of france, players going easy for the sake of cockerel and country. no one seems to go in hard on england players for some reason, not unless they are from outside england.

    one thing i can say with obertan and hba, hba was here when pardew arrived obertan wasnt. pardew bought obertan and he is one of his players so pardew is taking the “blame the players not me approach” with obertan. it seems to be a theme he has on everything. i would hate to be his wife. if hes got one. but more ideally his son.

    his arrogant, selfish, ignorant attitude shines through everything. to the teams he picks to the the way he blames them when things go wrong.

    what has Goslin offered that benny hasn’t? what is he trying to say?

    and yes HBA might not defend as well as some, but he also attacks better than most. so pardew being a defender needs to think outside of the box a lot more(you see what i did there) any player can be accommodated in the team we have but deliberately playing a weaker team week in and week out only shows pardew is lacking in any substance to adapt to anything different.

    letting benny roam down the right and giving tiote the job to cover the full back is a simple move just needs a toggle. not willing to change a winning formula is why we are now coming stuck. things need to change radically to give the team a good chance to reach for their personal ambitions.

    all players want to be the best, all players seem to want to play in the premier league and all players seems to want champions league football.

    so keeping players like benny on the bench isn’t showing anything other than arrogance and selfishness.

    as for sunderland, o’shea, larsson, gardener, whickham, campbell, mcclean id all have in out squad. all dangerous players who have a decent shot.

    something we seem to lack.

  43. Appears there’s some argument concerning Pardews tactical abilities, with some praising him for our present league position, others condemning him for a lack of understanding of basic tactics.
    I have noticed that it’s usually in the second half where we run into trouble, with any change of tactics
    by the opposition, for the most part, left unanswered by Pardew who continues to apply the same one system fits all games, regardless of who the opposition is or what tactics they employ.
    Is this an inability to recognise what’s going wrong and what to do about it ?
    As for lineups, why are we playing a 4-4-2 or even a 4-5-1.
    We should be playing a lineup as b/low,

    Cabaye in the Ya Ya Toure role as the back end of a triangle, where he can lay on the perfect pass to whichever combination of strikers we decide to use and like Toure get those clean up goals.
    I’m afraid Obertan is not quite cutting it as a winger, sure he’s got pace, but little end product, love to see Jr. Hoilett and perhaps Marveaux on the wings.
    But that would make us into an exciting attacking side rather than a side employing seven defenders, as per Pardew
    It should be obvious to all by now that Tiote does his best work breaking up attacks sitting in front of the back four and i’m sure they are happy enough with that.
    Which gives the side a more balanced approach between attacking and defending, not having the wingers play more of a defensive role.
    He is improving his game, learning that an easing off the ball draws less attention than putting the guy in the stands, that plus looking for the best choice of pass, not just gettin rid of it and if he stays we should have a very impressive player on our hands.
    Also rumored we are looking at Jr. Hoilett and Davies @ Bolton.
    Both well worth adding to the side, but our real need is to strengthen the back line, yeah we have done ok as a defensive side , but so could any side who employed seven or eight players to that role.
    We have to organize a balanced side and for that we need better defenders, looka like Santon has the makings of a pretty good wingback, reminds me of Jose Enrique and of course Colo is playing well, unfortunately Simpson has fallen off the pace a bit, but i put that down to his partner Williamson who is IMO woefull.
    Soh ! A decent CD is a must and at least two more defenders one of which has to be able to play across the line, unless Ashley wants to dig deep.
    There is an alternative however by signing a couple of good vets. with at least a good year or two left in them.
    There could be an enormous shake up come summer, a general cleanout plus a few signings to replace them,
    Which raises the question who should go and who should we bring in?

  44. chuck, that would be…..

    collo, simpson, willo, raylor, best, lovenkrands, possibly krul, ba, smith, kadar, HBA.

    £40-50 million for the lot.

  45. All the negativity on this comment stream is depressing. Sixth in the league the season after getting promoted. One point behind Arsenal and Chelsea, and all you can talk about is how we’re going to sell all our best players and make predictions about how we won’t do as well next season.

    “Enjoy it while it lasts,” you say. But you’re not even enjoying it, are you?!

  46. Makro – this’ll cheer ya up.

    after 30 years of marriage jim the plumber left his wife florence.the note on the table simply read..

    “it’s over flo”

    that failing – try hoying a few prozac doon ya gregory peck.

  47. makro

    its not that we need prozac, some of us just have a realistic aproach. my glass is never half full or half empty it is as full as i want it.

    looking at other clubs around us and seeing players like edin hazard making it clear he wants to go to spurs but distance between us and the top 4-6

    i think liverpool will spend big again. remember that the european spending rules only apply to those in europe. all clubs around them can do as then please without sanctions.

    that means with the current policy we will struggle to keep up. apart from Man u we have scraped results, wolves wil lbe a good test on how we can perform.

    it is not just me that can see the unrest at the club, the hooneymoon preiod is over and now players are really starting to show their unhappiness.

    when was the last time a player at Newcastle was offered a new contract and wanted to sign it? the board are treating the players like dirt, offering them a pittance of what they could earn elsewhere. for what? love of the club? football is a short career so why do people think players should stick around when they have their whole lives to think about?

    the current aproach needs to change, no doubt pardew will be on a bonus for player sales like Arry was. so i wonder how much did pardew get from the sale of carroll? maybe that is why we were told it was nearly all gone. we were just about to spend £5 million on a defender before cisse came around. so what happened to the rest? the vigin cash has gone on cisse with what ever scraping were left after the sale of carroll.

    so let us not kid ourselves that everything is rosy at St. James. its not. we are being exploited and humiliated. in three or 4 years time pardew will be soaking the sun somewhere with a few million quid in his bank courtesy of the geordie nation. i very much doubt he will be anywhere near newcastle upon tyne in 3 to 4 years. he will know this and will be creaming every bit of bonus he can get.

    don’t say i didn’t tel you so. there isn’t many times i’m wrong on this blog, i can spot a herring a mile off.

    and something doesnt sit right with me with pardew, lambias and ashley. i think they are up to the eye in something and dont want us to know. maybe it is a simple fact that they pocketed a bonus or three on the sale of certain players in the summer. and now people see through it.

    so who draws the short straw? whos is going to ask the question? how much cash in bonuses did lamearse, pardew and their dogs receive in the sales of carroll, nolan and enrique?

  48. I think we may have run out of steam on this thread – it’s provided mutch food for thought from all angles.

    My I go back to basics please on this 4-4-2 issue.
    With the right players it can work well and even be flexible.
    But what players do we have to fill the required roles?

    Firstly – back 4 – we started the season very well but its looking a bit creaky now. we have : Simpson – Coloccini – Saylor – Santon

    Secondly – front 2 – DembaB & DembaC – bags of potential

    Thirdly – midfield 4 – 2 wingers/wingbacks – Jonas – Obertan
    2 midfielders – Tiote & Cabaye

    and that looks like Pardew’s first choice team.

    of the rest –

    defenders – Williamson Kadar Perch Raylor – are not top drawer

    midfield – Mehdi Abeid Haris Vuckic Shane Ferguson – look promising

    Danny Guthrie & Benny are worth 1st team place – Dan Gosling is a passenger

    forwards – Nile Ranger Sammy Ameobi Shola Ameobi Peter Lovenkrands Sylvain Marveaux Leon Best – none of which are top class

    Conclusion – 2 of our best players Danny Guthrie & Benny are being kept out.

    Lets look at it from another angle – play our best players – and I think we get

    Coloccini – Saylor – Santon
    Benny – Guthrie – Cabaye – Jonas

    what is it? 3-1-4-1-1 or a flexible 4-4-2 ?

  49. Stephen C says:
    February 15, 2012 at 1:41 pm


    I remember being taken to their place in Washington when I was a bairn, it was like paradise.

  50. Supermac
    Yeah agree with you for the most part, except for Guthrie, who has his days but is inconsitent.
    Sure he’s ok as a benchwarmer but not of the required quality, now the same could be said for Gosling, though he has’nt really had enough playing time to tell.
    Actually had my druthers, would replace Obertan n’ Jonas and Pardew with them as i prefer my wingers in the attacking role, not as used by Pardew as suplementary defenders, an ugly game with no redeeming features.
    Would like to see Jr. Hoilett on the right and Marveaux on the left, both having pace and an eye for goal.
    With Cabaye in the middle and Tiote behind in front of the back four, Cissokho, Saylor, Colo and Santon.
    Our two Senegalese up front and challenging for the league title, why not ?
    Hopefully our present side is capeable of attracting a decent manager, as it,s obviouse to all that Pardew has his limitations, look at the Fulham game, where we were strolling in the first half, but ended up loosing to a smarter manager who figured out what was required.
    Sorry but from where i ‘m looking from Pardew has two tactical variations 4-4-2 or 4-5-1, fine if you are managing Gateshead but one would look for a more sophisticated approach in one of the worlds major leagues.
    Could this be the reason there are so few English managers around.

  51. wahey the silly cNUt has pulled down the sjp signage outside sjp, the guy who did it shud off been knocked off his ladder and aSRe fcuked with his red cro-bar, and whoopsee doo the fat 1 could make 16 mill if his company keeps sales increasing. GET OUT OF OUR CLUB!!! TAKE UR SCAB WITH THE LADDER WITH YA