How do we effectively combat Stoke?

Who could replace him?
I was thinking a bit about the Stoke game ad I just started wondering about how will we break them down and avoid a humiliating defeat like last season.

There are in my eyes two options that we could combat the Stoke team, it will be a very tough game between the two sides and I’m sure Alan Pardew and his as yet unbeaten in the league warriors will want to continue marching forward.

Now the first option that I am going to suggest would involve a 4-5-1 formation. This way we would have an extra midfielder in order to deal with some of Stoke’s more tricky customers.

That formation would consist of:

Tim Krul, Davide Santon, Steven Taylor, Fabricio Coloccini, Ryan Taylor, Gabriel Obertan, Danny Guthrie, Yohan Cabaye, Cheik Tiote, Jonas Gutierrez and Demba Ba


Now as you can see I have included Tiote in that lineup as I think if he was passed fit for the game, Stoke may find it hard to get past him. Now if that wasn’t the case could we include Ben Arfa into the five-man midfield? That could be a possibility as that would allow him to advance down the wings and join in on the attacks.

I feel that Santon should be handed his Premier League debut, I like Simpson but some of his performances this season have not been up to par and I think Ryan Taylor has managed to nab the left-back slot for the foreseeable future. This formation would still allow Obertan and Jonas to push forward and their pace may be an attribute that could see us succeed against Stoke.

Now the other option is to stick with the formation we have seen in recent games, my only concern is that it might be hard for us to actually gain anything if we used that formation as we were so exposed when we last played them at the Britannia stadium.

Tiote would stay in my lineup if he is passed fully fit, the Ivorian adds something different to our side and we certainly do seem to miss him. However if he is not passed fit then that would allow Guthrie to come into the side and take on a more attacking midfield role. That would then seen Cabaye revert to defensive midfield, a job which I feel he is capable of.

Based on how we were left so bare when we last played the Potters, I think it would make sense for us to play a more defensive formation. That way we would be harder to break down and effectively combat the players who attack. Of course there would be limits to this formation but it would certainly stop the floodgates being opened on us, like last time.

What do you think?

About Zoë Vicarage

A lifelong Newcastle fan. Currently exiled in Sunderland studying Sports Journalism at the University of Sunderland Follow me on Twitter: @ZoeVicarage

53 thoughts on “How do we effectively combat Stoke?

  1. Good article Zoe but have to say I reckon that Simpson will start purely on experience in the premier league. Santon was a little bit roughed out the game at blackburn so stoke even more so. He will come good just needs more pl experience. Other than that would love to see a 5 man midfield dominate but think if tiote out he may put in gosling instead of hba? As we know gosling from reserves etc can get a goal or 2?

      (Quote)

  2. Liam: yes I agree about Gosling but it seems Pardew doesn’t deem him ready yet. I think he would be another option for us to include tonight. It will be very interesting to see who he goes with. I really like the look of Gosling so if he gets a chance then he could make a name for himself.

      (Quote)

  3. I think pace and trickery will defeat Stoke on the evening. They’ve got some big ole’ boys, to be sure, but those boys can’t move or flow like our’s. Speed and clinical finesse will defeat brute strength every single time, and God knows our side is capable of this. We simply MUST make sure that we’re ready for their set pieces. I think we will probably draw 0-0, but I could see us skatin’ by with a dodgy 0-1 victory. We’ll know in a few hours!

      (Quote)

  4. Btw Zoe-

    I always love your articles! Great reads all of them. You’ve a terrific football mind and I love readin’ about your thoughts and strategies.

      (Quote)

  5. AoD-

    You don’t think Loverpants would be out of his depth? When games get physical, he seems to have a hard time slottin’ in and doin’ the business…

      (Quote)

  6. Supposing on the 4-5-1 front, we made it a bit more attacking (if Tiote is fit, that is)

    ——————-Krul——————-

    Simp—–Tayls—–Colo——Rayls

    ——————Tiote——————-

    Marv——————————Jonas

    ——–Cabaye——HBA————-

    ——————–Ba———————

    This might give us a little edge like up front whilst still being able to boss the midfield. I dunno, just a thought.

      (Quote)

  7. Thanks Ohurley, I like doing strategies. I think I gained it from when I used to play in goal as you can observe all the players around you etc. Now that I play LB and LM I still get opportunities to see that. I love analysing newcastle games too and thinking who could play where.

      (Quote)

  8. I think that AP has made his mind up that we are playing 4-4-1-1 or 4-4-2 with 2 wingers and relying on the workrate of Tiote & Cabaye to hold the midfield.

    Given that he is not for changing personnel unless there is a reason. So if we have Tiote missing he will bring in his 1st reserve midfielder who appears to be Guthrie. If Best is missing he can then look to Other strikers. Shola is missing, which means either Lovenkrands or HBA. Probably Lovenkrands. HBA still an impact sub.

    As to tweaking his formations he is not going to do what he did last year, and we are much better drilled defensively this year. Another reason why Simpson will start against stoke. Stoke will play the set pieces we will play counterattacking and hopefully press them into their own half.

      (Quote)

  9. Zoe-

    I never even played footie. Growin’ up as a yank, we never developed an appreciation for anything other throwball. In retrospect, there are WAY too many rules and it’s much too “start-stop”. So when I discovered this great sport in 2006, needless to say, my strategic mind went into overdrive. I can literally take a club like Bury in FIFA and use strategy to beat dang near any premier league club any time. It’s the best sport ever!

      (Quote)

  10. @PREMANDUP

    Why HBA as an impact sub ? he will gain more match time pushing his confidence up. And he’s more likely to create something than Loverman.

      (Quote)

  11. Every Newcastle player, coach & staff should walk out on the pitch for pre-game with a power lawn mower and cut the grass down to the size the Toon like.

      (Quote)

  12. Ohurley- I’ve gone off fifa recently but it offers fans like us the chance to create tactics etc to beat opposition. I think it my current season on fifa 11 I am top of the premier league, only drawn one game and have won the rest. All through tactics etc, tonight’s game will be a tactical one I think more than a football game etc so it will be very interesting to see

      (Quote)

  13. Calum, it’s what he has been used as so far this season, Loverman has been used from the off. I percieve that AP does not change tings that are working, so do net expect people to start at the expense of the “invincibles”. If he is going to choose HBA would he do so at Stoke?

      (Quote)

  14. I think its important to control and pass the game, and I think that means we have to bring Guthrie into the middle alongside Cheick and Cabaye.

    Stoke press very high up the pitch and everyone closes down very quickly, but that means theres space if you can work it out of the first wave of closing down, so with 3 in the middle we should be able to cope with it and then get Obertan and Gutierrez running at their full backs.

      (Quote)

  15. Don’t feel good about this one. Although the defence has been great this season it’s been at tackling and blocking not defending an aerial bombardment at which we’re pretty poor. And that’s ALL Stoke do!

      (Quote)

  16. Would be interested to know what Guthrie’s “ground covered” stats for Blackburn was, and also Perch’s tackles/blocks/headers. Could be that they are on par with Tiote & Saylor… or maybe not 🙂

      (Quote)

  17. Yeah but when else is going to HBA from when Best is out ? Honestly I’ve never been a fan of Loverman and HBA could actually pull something out of the bag in what will be a tough game.

      (Quote)

  18. [email protected],thing is with stoke they have never changed there style of play,the top teams have got nowt there,they try diff styles but havent cracked it yet.i wouldnt play benny against these cloggers,maybe try marv behind the front man a bit pace in there might just upset them.

    good thread again ZOE 😉

      (Quote)

  19. Thanks Ice

    Thad: I’ve been trying to look for his stats against Blackburn but I’ve not had any luck so far

      (Quote)

  20. Agree with you icedog, I don’t think this is a game for Hatem. He likes to hold the ball close to his body and invite players to come on to him then beat them. Stoke are full bodied tacklers and with a big back four Hatem won’t be at his best. We need a bigger man in behind if we play 4-4-1-1. Too bad Vuckic hasn’t had more games he would be ideal against them. The 4-5-1 idea is good as we have only Ba fit of Ba, Best, and Shola ( the big strikers). They tend to clog the middle and try to break fast so please no Perch. Can’t see a win for us here unfortunately. Would love a draw but think it will be 2-1 to them. Good strategy article Zoe.

      (Quote)

  21. I think pardew has said it himself he worried too much about stokes game and didnt concentrate enough on our own, i feel this season our team plays like a team and has the belief installed in them that they can play their own game as long as they all know their jobs and do them.I have been encouraged alot by what ive seen so far, sometimes the team has been poor but they have kept at their jobs and played as a team and in the end achieved a result when maybe they shouldnt have.
    Ice i think your right if best is injured maybe try marv there instead of hba as i think he has shown more and is tidy and creative on the ball.

      (Quote)

  22. The thing with Stoke is they are one demtionsal. So we have to do two things to stop them. We need to stop the supply of crosses / long balls , so we are going to have to push up and press them. We wont be able to stop every ball and we wont win every ball in the air so we have to win every ‘ second ball ‘ so to speak. Do that and we will have more or less nulified them.

    Also we have to make sure we dont concede too many free kicks etc etc.

    I think Obertan can be the key tonight , his pace could casue them lets of problems. And I would start Ben Arfa, I would expect him to bullied out of it alot tonight but he has the ability to pull something out of the bag in an instance and change the game for us.

      (Quote)

  23. SB aye mate pardew did say that i forgot,and good on him to say he stuffed up not many managers would admit that.
    one thing rough and tumble defenders hate is nippy pacey guy, brawn against brawn gets nowhere imo,apart from “cards”like

      (Quote)

  24. It seems Ranger is a lost cause. Another arrest for drunk and disorderly. How many is that now? Needs to be sent away as he could be a disaster as an example to younger players. Had some talent but is sadly wasting it.

      (Quote)

  25. Zoe agree I really Like gosling just can’t work out why he hasn’t had a chance but pards is with him all week so he must know what’s what.
    Am nervous for tonight but at the same time am not expecting a result so anything would be a bonus

      (Quote)

  26. Liam yeah it’s really hard to understand, unless they are bringing him back very slowly considering he was out for a long period of time. Will be very interesting to see what our lineup is for tonight.

      (Quote)

  27. 70 % of Stoke’s goals this season have come from set-pieces. We need added height to combat this. Maybe Ranger would have got a run out if he wasn’t such a prick. I would be looking at Vuckic and maybe a place on the bench for Kadar. Saylor must play as too Obertan and Santon, who are both tall and good athletes. Pains me to suggest such a line up based on size etc. but we really struggled with Samba at Blackburn and Stoke have caused better teams than us problems in the last few years. What chance Saylor gets an accidental crack on his bugle early doors? Why couldn’t we have played Stoke on the back of an away European tie like the Mackems?

      (Quote)

  28. Something like 70% of all Stoke’s goals come from set-plays so organisation is key. With this in mind, bringing in Santon here would be a mistake, and I think he should stick with R Taylor, Colo, S Taylor, Simpson.

    Fingers crossed for Tiote!

      (Quote)

  29. Agree with the comments about vuckic as an ideal type of player to play behind ba but unfortunately inexperienced and didn’t play against BBurn so cant see it.

    They’ve only scored 7 in 9 games so i think our best chance is limiting their opportunities. Personally i’d go with hba – i think stoke average something like 60% possession and our new team is very capable of controlling it too. If we are to have a lot of the ball, we’ll need someone who can do something a bit special to unlock their defence

      (Quote)

  30. Getting excited now. Imagine if we go third tonight! 😯

    Ok, now I’m really getting ahead of myself, but a win tonight and we’ll have the chance to go SECOND on Saturday!!! 😆

      (Quote)

  31. TC fear the worst and you may be suprised! What amazes me is that before the games started everyone is writing us off in the media I mean and that annoys me. We are there on merit but hey ho all we can do is answer the critics

      (Quote)

  32. I think my dad was right when he was telling me newcastle look to be set up as a more counter-attacking team. Better at playing in away games. So when they’re all in the box for a delap throw we’ll have jonas, marvaeuw/obertan, HBA and ba ready to run at them, outnumbering their defence.
    Also I read the article by that geordie writer for the telegraph, he seems to be writing as if it were a blog, even critisising the media. odd 😯

      (Quote)

  33. Keep the ball and try not to give away cheap throw ins and set pieces, Shame we let Sol leave his experience was invaluble last time we played these lot… 🙄

      (Quote)

  34. CC – It was poetry. I was there watching him and no joke it was actual poetry. He could have written one in the time in took him to turn 😆

      (Quote)

  35. Certainly disagree with your evaluation of Simpson, who is imo a much improved player from the one who joined us and is a steady if unspectacular defender.

    Whereas Raylor a Utility player, who’s actual position is unknown, is still learning the LB role and appears to be doing ok, simply because of the fact he only plays defensively.

    To-days ( FB’s) are actually expected to both start in and join in the attacking game as (WB’s) (Raylor vs Enrique for instance) thats something we lose right there.

    I dont get it ? we have an Italian International LWB that aint getting a game
    because our genius Manager, believes that old bullshit about it takes time to learn the EPL game.

    Sure it’s a bit faster and obviously more physical, but how long does it take for a pro to adapt and he will never adapt by sitting on the bench.

    Also appears he (pardew) will pencil in Guthrie for Tiote, hell i would rather have Jonas in that role, (controversial i know) but the guy has all the requirements, can run all day, good defender, etc, why not ?

    The other general tude is play a big side against the Stoke Neanderthals,
    otherwise we will end up with broken legs etc.

    I recall the Dutch player’s post game remarks following their defeat by Spain, “we went out there to kick the ………out of them, but we could’nt catch them” !

    So here’s my choice for Stoke
    *************Krul***********
    ****Saylor*****Colocinni**
    Simpson**********Santon
    **********Jonas***********
    Ben Arfa*Cabaye*Marveaux
    ***********Ba******************
    Raylor
    Abeid
    Obertan
    Best
    Goalie
    A side balanced both defensively and offensively..

      (Quote)

  36. Chuck: I disagree about Simpson, yes he has improved but in games like Spurs etc he does not get back to his position quick enough. If you join the attack and then the attack fails he should be getting back to help the defence out. If you don’t then you leave the team exposed, do we really want that to happen in our games?

      (Quote)

  37. I was at the away game last season and Pardew fcked up, at least he admitted it after the game. Tactics were shocking and it didn’t help that he played Sol Campbell. The way to approach this game is play the style of football we play…

    Have to say lads im not confident at all of getting a result tonight 🙁

      (Quote)

  38. Aye Liam, only decent memory was his run in the second half, would have been some goal if he pulled it off.

      (Quote)

  39. Zoe Vicerage

    The obvious reason may be the fact on the left flank we have Jonas, who constantly tracks back and covers for his wing back when he brings the ball forward.
    Who does that on the right, Obertan ? i think not.
    Simpson is a steady much improved RB, the fact he is unspectacular shows he is doing his job, not unlike Dennis Erwin at Man U. a player recognized by Ferguson for making the job look easy, through positional nous, a player who never went to ground, did’nt have to.
    Perhaps you should watch Simpson a bit more carefully ?

      (Quote)

  40. I do watch Simpson, games like Villa and Wigan he had very good games but surely if you are part of the defense once you have contributed to an attack you should run back, yes sometimes our CB’s can deal with those balls but he needs to come back and help out. Some performances of his are good but I’m not fully convinced by him. If he plays well tonight then I will praise but some of his performances have been poor some of them have been good. That’s just my opinion

      (Quote)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Question   Razz  Sad   Evil  Exclaim  Smile  Redface  Biggrin  Surprised  Eek   Confused   Cool  LOL   Mad   Twisted  Rolleyes   Wink  Idea  Arrow  Neutral  Cry   Mr. Green