It is the QPR question that needs answering at Newcastle United
Only 13 days ago on Tuesday 13 September, Newcastle fans were celebrating QPR 0 Newcastle 6.
The West London side suffering the biggest ever home league defeat in their history, whilst Newcastle had seemingly discovered how not just to win – but to do it in some style.
Up to that point United had ground out four Championship wins, built on good defensive discipline and taking the odd chance when it came along.
The night at Loftus Road blew that apart, the cat was out the bag, Newcastle were still winning AND had played some great football – overwhelming the opposition.
An expectant fifty two thousand crowd turned up at St James Park for the Wolves match but Rafa Benitez returned to his usual 4-4-1-1 formation, dropped goalscorer Mitrovic for Gayle, moving Perez to left wing, reinstating Mohamed Diame behind Dwight Gayle.
At Villa Park, many supporters expected another shake-up to that Wolves defeat but Rafa once again stuck with the Diame in behind Gayle tactic, the only changes being Clark in for Mbemba due to the expected physical Villa approach, Gouffran replacing Perez left wing, and Yedlin in for the suspended Vurnon Anita.
Despite being the better team, Newcastle failed to win against Villa, leaving me with one question.
Not so much doubting the team Rafa did put out but certainly left wondering why he hasn’t given the formation/tactics that ripped QPR apart, another try?
To me it is baffling. I can only think that the QPR result ended up being a bit of a problem for the manager, if we had won by the odd goal then fair enough but surely to win 6-0 and then revert to the usual safety first formation/tactics, suggest that surely Rafa Benitez must see the QPR result and performance as a total fluke.
Against QPR, Mitrovic was excellent and got his goal, plus his all round play brought others into the game and Newcastle looked a very dangerous and fluid side.
Rangers were doing at least as well as Wolves and Villa were doing when we played them, so not as though they are a sitting duck for everybody.
At Loftus Road, Ayoze Perez looked a completely different player through the middle, playing with Mitrovic, rather than stuck out on the left where he is invariably terrible. Not just those two strikers, it appeared to open the game up and get the best out of Ritchie, Shelvey and others as well.
Dropped for the Wolves match, Mitrovic only came on once Newcastle were two down, then on Saturday he was given 10 minutes to try and help see the game out.
Will the QPR 0 Newcastle 6 formation/tactics be seen once again any time soon?
I hope so because I think the margins are just too fine with the way we usually play, it was only really Villa’s desperate defending that helped Newcastle to get a few more clear chances than we have usually had in previous matches. Plus what it appears to be boil down to is that a two striker system with Mitrovic and probably Gayle, is being sacrificed to accommodate the often anonymous Diame.
Not suggesting I know more than Rafa of course but I am asking him to reconsider whether QPR 0 Newcastle 6 was really such a fluke result…
The last three Championship matches, scorelines and selections/formations.
QPR 0 Newcastle 6
Anita, Clark, Lascelles, Dummett
Ritchie, Hayden, Shelvey, Gouffran
Newcastle 0 Wolves 2
Anita, Mbemba, Lascelles, Dummett
Ritchie, Hayden, Shelvey, Perez,
Yedlin, Clark, Lascelles, Dummett
Ritchie, Hayden, Shelvey, Gouffran
If you would like to feature on The Mag, submit your article to [email protected]