Hints at tactics from Pardew and Wenger?

Posted on March 12th, 2012 | 7 Comments |

Arsenal v Newcastle March 2012
Can Pardew out-think Wenger?
Alan Pardew suggests that tonight’s game between Newcastle United and Arsenal is make or break in terms of Newcastle’s Champions League qualification. Wenger for his part bemoans Gervinho’s sending off at St James’ Park earlier this season. But in amongst that, do both managers hint at their tactical approach for tonight’s game?

Alan Pardew is piling the pressure on for tonight’s game against Arsenal, suggesting that anything but a win will put paid to our Champions League ambitions. Pardew said:

It’s a mini-season for us now and this is an important game in terms of the Champions League because, if we win we are going to be given a shout. We can gain momentum and we go to the next game.

If we lose, really it’s over and then we can focus on ten games and the Europa League. Realistically, it would be a bridge too far for us with what I’ve got on the training pitch.

But if we were to be fortunate enough to win – or good enough to win because one or the other is going to decide it – then we will face Norwich with a chance.

Personally, I’ve always thought the Champions League is beyond us this season. In fact, at the start of the season I’d have said any sort of European qualification was beyond us, but we do find ourselves in 6th with 11 games to go and two teams either side of us that are certainly far from infallible this season. It’s ours to lose, as they say.

Even if we lose tonight we remain 5 points behind Chelsea and 5 points ahead of Liverpool – although the latter have a match in hand over us – and we have to play both those teams before the season’s out (Liverpool at home on 1st April and Chelsea away on 14th April). But we have to start notching up 3 points from games like our home fixture against Norwich next week.

Even a point tonight would be useful and Pardew went on to say:

I want to win the game, but we’ve got to be in the game. At Tottenham, we didn’t have a way back and we were dead and buried at half time. But look at Spurs now and I have to say that we probably met them at their optimum.

We have to be in the game with ten or 15 minutes to go and, if we are, I won’t settle for a draw, for sure.

Arsenal have just been knocked out of the Champions League and are maybe now focused on the top three or four. We have got to be on our guard so that after 30 minutes we are not in big trouble like we were at Spurs.

That hints a bit at Pardew’s tactics for tonight’s game: defend solidly for 60-75 minutes to try and break Arsenal’s spirit and the, if we’re still in the game, go for it.

Meanwhile, the Arsenal manager is still bitter about Gervinho’s sending off at our place. Wenger said:

At Newcastle, he had a bad response to provocation from our friend Barton. Gervinho was shocked because he felt he didn’t do a lot. I think he learned his lesson in the first game and it’s better than learning it after 20 matches.

And commenting on tonight’s game he said:

It’s better not to go behind. But you do what you have to do to win and Newcastle are a team that has offensive strength, so a good defensive performance will be needed.

We have a good spirit and our results are more consistent as a result. We have a flow in our game because maybe the confidence is higher.

If that’s any indication of Wenger’s tactical plans it sounds like we’ll have two teams desperate not to concede and at least starting cautiously.

Let’s hope that works in our favour!

NUFCBlog Author: Hugh de Payen I'm a baby-boomer of the punk rock persuasion, currently exiled in Somerset for crimes committed in a previous life where locals keep trying to poison me with something called 'scrumpy'. Hates sprouts, coat-hangers, Cilla Black, ornaments, Steven Seagull movies and 50 Cent (he's not worth 10). Hugh de Payen has written 634 articles on this blog.

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7 Responses

  1. Hi Worky

    My apologies over Friday , It genuinly wasnt me , one of the lads in work was trying to be funny. I had left my pc unlocked and I happened to have been on here last.

    I only found out about it this morning and while I dont think either of us will lose any sleep over it I just thought I would clear it up. I dont post on here anymore but I do still read the blog and yourself and your other writers put a lot of work in and I certainly wouldnt have a silly pop over anything , Ive been on nufcblog.com .org and now co.uk for a good few years now and I dont think I have ever had a pop at anyone , even as a stupid one that was posted on Friday.

    But I do apologies for what happened.

    Take Care

    Johno Toon

  2. Johno Toon says:
    March 12, 2012 at 10:58 am

    “Hi Worky

    My apologies over Friday , It genuinly wasnt me , one of the lads in work was trying to be funny. I had left my pc unlocked and I happened to have been on here last.”

    No worries Johno Toon. It wasn’t that bad anyway.

  3. Got a horrible feeling about tonight. Hopefully im wrong could get a hiding.
    Anybody got any teams news

    hope can cling on for at least a draw.