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A change of Newcastle United formation at Old Trafford?

6 years ago
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Back to the Theatre of Dreams (last season!) after a miserable week (and a miserable 2014) or so, could we possibly see a new Newcastle United formation this afternoon.

So what do we know already? There is no change in the injury situation as yet, while Tiote is suspended for the Boxing Day match. When I was thinking that was actually the best thing to come out of the Derby misery, I was reminded that Abeid has not healed his broken toe yet!

With that in mind, and the available fit options we have, let’s look at the different formations which are possible.

(To feature like Rishiraj, send in your articles for our website to [email protected])

And let me warn you, you have to be Pardew-alistic in your head while picking your team.

More of the same: 4-3-3

Not much of a change from the derby then. A straight swap of Anita for Tiote with maybe Vuckic/Bigirimana making the bench. Ayoze upfront, Sammy and Gouffy (sigh!) on the wings, Sissoko down the middle, Colback and Anita covering the back four of Dummett, Saylor, Colo and Janmaat.

PROS: Not much change in personnel, back four and Colback work well. Anita can be threatened (by Pardew of course) not to go forward, letting Janmaat do the running. Pardew yes men aplenty.

CONS: Boring stuff in the final third, no crosses from the wings, lot of effort (apparently!) but nil quality. Tangling legs of Sammy losing ball too often.

Mag Readers’ Choice: A 4-4-1-1 or a 4-4-2?

The Mag’s Predicted 11 based on fan votes throws up surprising possibilities. Consider this. Perez and Cisse as the front two, a midfield four of Cabella, Sissoko, Colback, Ameobi, in that order; and a back-four of Janmaat, Colo, Saylor and Dummett.

To change this slightly, Ayoze dropping behind Cisse for a withdrawn no. 10 role also may seem a possibility with this team selection. You can also imagine this with Gouffran replacing Cabella (a much more realisitic option with our Gaffer).

PROS: A solid midfield, pretty much so considering Ayoze as the no. 10, linking play from the defensive to the attacking third. Much more solid cover for the defence to counter the attacking threats of ManU. Better chances of counter-attacking football.

CONS: Sissoko’s attacking threat neutralized due to his defensive positioning, Cisse, and sometimes even Ayoze, left alone too much at the top with hopeful (err, hopeless) aerial balls.

My adventurous 5-3-2 (or 5-1-2-1-1, eh?)

So away from home, with a relentless quartet of Rooney, Mata, Van Persie and Falcao bombarding poor Alnwick, thinking of getting their goal difference to reach new heights. What will I do?

I will have a 3 man defensive cover in front of the goalie: Saylor, Colo and Dummett. Janmaat and Haidara will make my 5 man defence, giving some options with their forward runs without worrying about ‘over-expressing’ themselves. The midfield will have Colback in front of the 3 man defensive cover, with Cabella (Ok Gouffran, I forgot) and Sammy on the wings. I will have Ayoze right up top, with Sissoko in the no. 10 role. Yes, that’s it. I love it.

PROS: Solid defence, with two wing-backs for the counter-attacking game. Remember the Haidara-Sammy partnership which was impressing us Toons not too long while ago. Also, with Janmaat running down the wing, Cabella can cut inside the field. Sissoko can do what he does best. Come second half, bring Cisse on around the hour mark, drop Cabella/Gouffran/Sammy to the bench (based on who is having a better day and how fit one looks after 60 mins), and get Ayoze move actoss to replace that winger with Cisse up top.

CONS: Oh I believe this is the best formation with our team. Yeah but no chance Pardew will go with this! However, the midfield becomes too empty with this kind of formation and we will struggle keeping the ball and thus invite more and more attacks, but would that not suit a counter-attacking game, eh?

Whatever the formation is on the field today, I would like to see some spirit and exuberance from our squad. I want the desire in those eyes again. I want to see some passion, some belief in the playing 11.

I want Pardew to take some chances, give Cabella 90 mins for a change, throw in Vuckic or Armstrong sometime in the game, swap wingers, ask Colback to distribute wide long balls for Sammy and Cabella, or even Ayoze, to do some running and test the shaky back-four of Man Utd.

Let’s hope for the best, and while you do so, why don’t you share what your formation will look like?

Merry Christmas from myself in Bangalore to all Newcastle fans.

You can follow Rishiraj on Twitter @rishirajlahiri

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