Now I was at the game myself and when the team got announced I just assumed it would be the standard 4-4-1-1 but it was not until maybe the 15th minute and we were 2-0 up me and AndrewNUFC realized we were playing 4-3-3.
We had Danny Guthrie patrolling the middle of the pitch, Jonas Gutierrez and Yohan Cabaye either side and a front three of Hatem Ben Arfa, Papiss Cisse and Demba Ba.
Now this formation clearly did the business and although in the first half we were devastating and cut West Brom to ribbons with some fantastic, free flowing football, I felt second half was where we seen what this formation could do for us.
When West Brom made it 1-3 early in the second half, we were all fearing the worst and memories of the final game of last season where we let a three goal lead slip came flooding back.
But in the end we were fairly comfortable and I felt the formation played a crucial role in that. If we were playing our 4-4-1-1 formation I fear we may have seen us play long ball in the second half and the ball would have just kept coming back at us and invited huge amounts of pressure.
But 4-3-3 meant that the three in midfield could over run West Brom and with Ben Arfa and Ba coming deep and showing for the ball and the clever movement of Cisse up top, we were able to pass our way out of trouble and keep the ball, whilst also still being a threat on the counter.
Now 4-4-1-1 has seen us to our best league position for a good few year but a lot of victories have been by the odd goal and it has taken some heroic goalkeeping and defending to see us get the three points.
But I feel 4-3-3 would not only give us an edge going forward but would allow to see out games a lot easier without us fans on the edge of our seat until the very last second.
Looking to the rest of the season: with Tiote sitting and letting Cabaye and Jonas get forward when possible and Ben Arfa, Ba and Cisse interchanging and causing opposition teams defences all sorts of problems.
And with likes of Sylvain Marveaux and Steven Taylor coming back next season, Davide Santon being a year older and wiser and Romain Amalfitano, who would fit perfectly into this formation, seemingly on his way, we could see 4-3-3 staying for next season and beyond!
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