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All Of Alan Pardew’s Formations Add Up To Success

10 years ago

Much has been made of Ben Arfa recent surge of form and we have all seen the enigmatic Frenchman light up matches in recent weeks with sublime moments of genius and trickery.

Cisse’s unbelievable goal to game ratio has also whet the lips of every Newcastle fan and I would dare say fans of other clubs are no doubt envious of his natural finishing ability and high work rate. The key to this massive upturn in form is Pardew’s fortitude when it came to adapting the side to fit Cisse in.

Previously we had been playing a fairly rigid 4-4-2 in which we had two out and out strikers and defensively minded wingers, allowing Cabaye a certain amount of freedom, Gutierrez contributing immeasurably to that successful system by providing cover for Ryan Taylor and showing stamina and commitment outstripping his more skilful peers.

The arrival of Cisse provided Pardew with a genuine make or break choice, he tried to play 4-4-2 against Tottenham with Ba and Cisse up top and we were exposed in midfield, as due to injuries/suspensions the options we had in midfield could not retain possession or create many chances.

Despite this, the system Pardew implemented had seen us go undefeated until we faced Chelsea and even then it was not an abject display despite the rather flattering 0-3 score line. Pardew was also uncomfortable picking Ben Arfa because he lacked the defensive discipline to be effective in both attacking and defensive dimensions in a 4-4-2.

Pards was expecting a centre back in January from the comments which were made in interviews, so the arrival of a new striker, despite our other ‘new’ striker rivalling the likes of Rooney, Van Persie and Aguero at the top of the goal scoring charts, probably came as a surprise to him.

To me, it seems that when the price is right and the target is available we move regardless of necessity. So Pardew took a massive decision, changed a previously successful formula, sacrificed Ba’s game to accommodate Cisse as he, as Pardew said, ‘works at the top of the move’.

This change allowed Ben Arfa to break into the team as playing as a winger in a 4-3-3 requires less defensive responsibility when the three midfielders are as solid as Cabaye, Tiote and to his credit, Guthrie.

The bravery required to change an unbelievably successful formation and the swift transition to retain the fluid play he had previously instilled, has to be credited to Pardew.

So thanks Pards; for flair, skills, goals, communication and respect. Long may it continue.


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