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Archive for tag: Newcastle United tactics.

How Alan Pardew’s return to route one is saving Newcastle United’s season

November 3rd, 2014 | 155 Comments |

NUFC - Route One.
NUFC: Riding the Route One road to success.
You don’t even have to be a Newcastle United fan to notice that Alan Pardew and Newcastle United have done very well in their last four games, all wins with three against top sides Tottenham, Manchester City and Liverpool.

Credit where credit is due, Pardew and the team have gone some way at least to answering their critics in terms of results after a dismal start to the season. However, in studying the stats there is one fact which might cause a dilemma for some fans who advocate that Newcastle United should adopt a more passing style like the top clubs. The fact is that Pardew’s lighting fast turn of fortune rests on the exact opposite. What I mean is that after an effort to play like a modern passing side, an effort which brought him no wins in his first eight Premier League games, the Silver Fox has now found salvation through abruptly returning to his ‘route one’ roots, as you will be able to see in the evidence below.

First, to give some perspective, I will include the long ball percentage scale I devised a few years ago when I wrote a series of pieces revealing and monitoring Pardew’s long ball tactics at Newcastle. The references might be a little out of date as this was from the time when David Moyes was the manager of Everton and Tony Pulis was at Stoke.

The NUFC Blog long ball scale ©™ (more…)


Which Newcastle United manager had the longest balls?

February 21st, 2013 | 7 Comments |

Newcastle United - A long ball dinosaur?
Newcastle United – A long ball dinosaur?
Since I wrote a few pieces on how Alan Pardew’s Newcastle United had become the biggest “long ball” side in the Premiership this season some time ago, It piqued my curiosity to look beyond and see how the “route one” style favoured by Pardew this term compared with that of his predecessors, and possibly, what we might be able to learn from what comes out in the wash so to speak.

The stats contained in the table below go back to the start of the 2008-9 relegation season. Hence, the managers I have included are Kevin Keegan, Joe Kinnear, Alan Shearer, Chris Hughton (x3) and Alan Pardew.

Admittedly, some of the managerial spells are ridiculously short, and one would prefer at least a whole season for each manager, where every other team in the division was played with their varying tactics pitted against Newcastle United’s would have been the ideal. However, in the crazy world of Newcastle United since the blundering Mike Ashley took over, the longest continuous run of Premiership matches for any manager apart from the current one has been Joe Kinnear’s nineteen. Although Chris Hughton at least had a full season in the Championship, his spells as caretaker apart, he only had sixteen games in the Premiership before being sacked. Anyway, the point of this is more to take a look at Newcastle United’s long ball style as a whole in recent years, rather than just focusing on one particular manager. This brings me to my final point in this section, why I haven’t included that Championship season. This was for two reasons: Firstly, because I do not have the same stats for that season (I only have Premiership stats from “OPTA”). Secondly, it is also (literally) a different league, a different paradigm where different standards apply. (more…)


Can Newcastle cope without Ba and Cisse? – An alternative eleven.

September 3rd, 2012 | 24 Comments |

A potential Newcastle United 11 without Ba and Cisse.
A potential Newcastle United 11 without Ba and Cisse.
Following the departures of Leon Best and Peter Lovenkrands Newcastle United have only three recognised strikers in our 12/13 squad – fact.

A much documented lack of transfer activity has left countless Geordies despondent with the size of our squad entering a hectic season, yearning for the signature of a new striker. The biggest worry is that whilst both Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse are competing in the African Cup of Nations (or potentially injured) we will be left unable to cope without arguably our two most recognised strikers, where a lack of goals could become a defining factor in our Premier League campaign. It’s worth noting that Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse contributed a huge 53% of our goals total in the Premier League last year (29 of 55), highlighting their importance.

So, should we of signed another striker? Not necessarily. Can we cope without Ba and Cisse? I believe so. A conventional 4-4-2 formation is unachievable should only one recognised striker in Shola Ameobi be available, but alternatives can be utilised to apt effect. Of 38 Premier League fixtures last season a 4-4-2 formation was utilised 26 times (68.4%). What about our other fixtures? We were often tagged as operating in a 4-5-1, 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3 formation with 1 conventional striker, 3 advanced mid-fielders and 2 central defensive mid-fielders in behind operating predominately defensively. Why could this not be used in the few games where both Cisse and Ba would not be available? Another alternative would be to play a 4-4-1-1 formation (often favoured by Alan Pardew’s predecessor Chris Hughton) with Ben Arfa operating in what is essentially a free role behind Shola Ameobi. (more…)


How do we pull ourselves out of the win drought?

March 8th, 2012 | 44 Comments |

Gabriel Obertan - Out of favour?
Out of favour?
Newcastle United are going through (what is so far) a short spell without a win, so what can be done to pull us out of that?

We’re in the midst of a slightly disappointing run. Since our 5-0 thrashing from Spurs we’ve only managed two draws. We seemed to lack resilience and second-half ‘attitude’ against Wolves and threw away a 2-0 lead. Against the mackems it was the other way around and we clawed our way back into the game in the second half to snatch a draw. We’re up against Arsenal next of course and I can’t help but feel pessimistic about our chances of coming away from The Emirates with any points.

So what can we do to improve?

One of the criticisms of the team I’ve heard a lot is that our midfield plays too deep and this isolates our strikers a bit, and it has been suggested that introducing Ben Arfa into the mix helps to alleviate this problem. Yet Alan Pardew seems reluctant to start with Benny and has insinuated that this may be because Benny doesn’t defend well enough and thus leaves us open at the other end. (more…)