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Pardew Needs To Stop Putting Square Pegs In Round Holes

7 years ago
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I spent many an hour as a child playing with one of those Shape Sorter toys.

You know, the ones where you had to find the right shape to fit into the respective hole in a box. Squares, circles, triangles and stars each with their own matching hole.

One Size/Shape Doesn’t Fit all

Considering his latest tactics and selections I can only imagine that hapless Newcastle United boss Alan Pardew either wasn’t lucky enough to have one of these most educational of toys, or otherwise came up with some crackpot way to make every piece fit into each and every hole.

There have been a couple of positives in the Newcastle squad so far this season, notably the early form of Ben Arfa and Remy. Undoubtedly, we saw the best of Ben Arfa when he started on the right side of a forward three. Similarly, Loic Remy’s best performances came from a left sided starting berth, providing both with the opportunity to cut inside onto their strongest foot. So, why change this system?

Granted, Gouffran works his socks off every week and many would say deserves a place in the starting XI while at the same time Cisse has apparently forgotten the basics of how to control the ball, pass and shoot, while continuously running aimlessly offside.

However, our number nine isn’t the first forward, nor will he be the last, to suffer such a dismal and apparently never ending run of poor form.

I’m sure we all agree that Ben Arfa doesn’t do well with back to goal against big, physical defenders, particularly when the ball is hoofed in his general direction from the back. So, leave him on the right. Remy’s pace is most effective from the left, either running past defenders hitting the byline, or cutting inside and eyeing a shot. Resisting the temptation to bleat about non-transfers, my preference would be to stick with Cisse and let him play through his present rot.

Pardew’s 4-3-3 or 4-5-1 formation (whichever you want to call it!) is fine with me. The defense picks itself considering current injuries and suspensions. The midfield three surely must consist of Tiote, Cabaye and Sissoko. The latter has certainly disappointed this season but he has repeatedly been played out of position, with yesterday’s debacle being the worst application thus far. Sissoko started behind the forward, moved to left wing, then to wide right before being yanked at half time.

Just one look at him tells you that he has the potential to be a powerhouse, a box-to-box midfielder, as likely to grab a goal as he is to clatter an opposition player when called to mix it. I still have high hopes that he can eventually be our very own Patrick Vieira with the ability to take a game by the scruff of the neck. Get him alongside Tiote and push Cabaye up the field at the top of the midfield triangle.

Tiote’s job should be to provide cover in front of the back four, win the ball, and give it as quickly and simply as possible to someone else. Simple. Cabaye can then be encouraged to support the forwards and link the play, lessening the temptation for him to leave the leg in and his Gallic red mist to descend.

Yesterday was a terrible game to lose and a performance that simply wasn’t good enough. Please Pardew, set the team up to play to our strengths for a change and stop trying to fit Ben Arfa and/or Remy into a Cisse shaped hole!

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