After two abysmal performances against Bournemouth and Leicester, it is time for some radical/sensible changes to the Newcastle team v Crystal Palace.
At first glance, it may not look to many people as though Steve McClaren has too many options to change things.
However, I think it becomes a lot clearer once you identify a lot of the problems that exist in the team at the moment, the things that aren’t working…
Coloccini is not good enough at centre-back.
Paul Dummett is a really poor left-back.
Gouffran cannot be allowed anywhere near the team, especially in the centre of midfield.
Newcastle don’t have any decent central midfielders.
There is no playmaker within the whole squad.
There are no wingers capable of playing and giving any decent service to Aleksandar Mitrovic.
Siem de Jong is knackered.
Once you have digested the information above, this is what I would propose for the Newcastle team v Crystal Palace.
Drop Fabricio Coloccini and move Paul Dummett to centre-back where he has had all of his better games. Then give either Janmaat or Wijnaldum the captain’s armband.
Bring Kevin Mbabu back in at left-back as even in two and a half games this season he has shown more promise than Haidara and Dummett combined.
With no suitable central midfielders available, pick only Vurnon Anita as the token defensive central midfield player and in a diamond formation push Gini Wijnaldum up behind a front two, yes front TWO.
What is more, play Mitrovic AND Cisse, then play Sissoko and Perez in the midfield as their hard work can help to release Wijnaldum to do what he does best and get into the box and score goals.
What is more, it might sound like going backwards to go forwards but we need to revert to the long ball game.
Put simply, Newcastle don’t have any central midfielders to play the ball through and progress it up the pitch, these last two matches have proved that.
Where Alan Pardew’s long ball tactics looked so ridiculous was when he was doing it with Papiss Cisse as the lone striker, when he had Demba Ba alongside him it made sense to miss out the midfield at times.
It is called playing to your strengths!
Mitrovic has looked terrible and unmotivated, nobody will deny that. However, he is a young player coming to a much more difficult league and who is getting zero service. Is it any wonder he has ended up disillusioned with what is happening around him.
Rob Elliot is actually a lot better at his distribution so in bypassing the midfield, United can get the ball up to Mitrovic and then Newcastle can start theur play from there with predominantly Cisse and Wijnaldum giving the Serbian support.
It might not be perfect in many fans’ eyes but we need a plan to try and score goals and with Mike Ashley not having allowed the purchase of the quality central midfielders we desperately needed, trying to play it through the likes of Anita, Tiote, Gouffran, whoever, is just going to give us more of the same misery.
Maybe when Jack Colback is back this plan can be modified slightly but surely it makes sense to try something different at both ends of the pitch because the current set-up is dragging everybody down.
Combined, Bournemouth and Leicester had around 40 chances over the course of two games against Newcastle, whilst United had a fraction of that and only two shots on target – the winner at Bournemouth and a shot that was never going to go in, booted away against Leicester.
Sometimes desperate times need desperate/radical solutions, this team below is mine, at least in the short-term.
My choice of Newcastle team v Crystal Palace:
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Go to the NUFC team selector now and choose and share your Newcastle team v Crystal Palace.
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