Is 4-3-3 the way forward?

4-3-3 with this man up top?
In our brilliant performance against West Brom at the weekend, we seen a new formation used by us. I want to ask the question, is 4-3-3 the way forward?

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!

What are your thoughts?

About dan4toon

A young man obsessed with Newcastle United and Twitter; http://twitter.com/Dan_Arnold7

66 thoughts on “Is 4-3-3 the way forward?

  1. Yeah I definitely think it is. Our wingers aren’t talented enough to play 4-4-2 well atm anyway. Or not good enough at crossing anyway.
    We looked immense on Sunday.

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  2. The majority of teams play a very fluid interactive system these days. They’ll change between 4-4-2, 4-3-3 and 4-5-1. I think we’ve got the players to play an attacking 4-3-3 effectively as we did on Sunday.

    My thoughts are just get the ball to Ba, Cisse and HBA in the final third with support from Cabaye and Jonas andwe’ll cause any team problems.

    Of course our defence is a different story.

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  3. I personally think that employing the right formation and tactics for the opposition you are playing, the players you have available and the position you are in, as well as not limiting yourself to playing the same way throughout the 90 minutes is the way forward.

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  4. I think/hope it’s the way forward, as I said on the other thread WBA was only one game, but what a game it was. Now to do it consistently. The good thing is, if needs be we have the players to change the sytem during the game quickly and effortlessly when required.

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  5. I think it’s good to we have added the 4-3-3 formation to our armory, to many teams play 4-4-2 for the whole season and get found out by January which is when they tail off once they have been found out.
    We need to mix our formations dependent on what teams we are up against rather than finding one and sticking to it.
    Let the opposition try and guess what we are going to do, but it certainly looks a good option for us.

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  6. heres my predictions for the last 8 games , i am very confident after our last peformance so here goes ….
    April
    Sun 01 13:30 H Liverpool win 2-1
    Fri 06 16:30 A Swansea City draw 1-1
    Mon 09 15:00 H Bolton win 3-1
    Sat 14 15:00 A Chelsea lose 2-1
    Sat 21 15:00 H Stoke City win 2-0
    Sat 28 15:00 A Wigan Athletic draw 2-2
    May
    Sun 06 14:00 H Manchester City win 3-2
    Sun 13 15:00 A Everton lose 2-1
    thats 4 wins , 2draws and 2 defeats for me which will get us up to 64 points!! i really think if we can achieve this we could possibly snatch 5th place!! lets hope chelsea and liverpool lose another 3-4 games ! if we can keep benny , ba and cisse fit for the next 8 games im very sure we will bang the goals in as 1st half at west brom on sunday was the best attacking football ive seen us play since the keegan days!! HAPPY DAYS

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  7. I THINK 4-3-3 IS MINT!! especially when cisse , ba and benny lead the line!! i cant think of a maore exciting front line in the prem tbh

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  8. On the right thread now Richie 😎

    The thing that made it for me in the game against WBA was the combination of BA – Cisse & Ben Arfa.
    I think what I saw in that game was potential & that potential is very exciting indeed. If those 3 switch on; look out any opposition team.
    All 3 have goals in them and you can’t say that about too many other attacking combinations atm.

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  9. for me the 3rd goal newcastle scored on sunday was 1 of the goals of the season in the prem! it was fantastic football tbh! benny making a runf rom the half way line , passing it to ba on 18 yards , ba back heeling it back to benny then banny crossing it for cisse to score with an excellent finish!! all round play was brilliant

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  10. I actually liked the second goal better Army.. The first time pass from Cabaye was exquisite… Then Benny’s run and finish…. well what more can you say…

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  11. Dan good read mate, aslong as we attack they will be too busy trying to stop us that they won’t have as much time to build up attacks on us. πŸ˜‰

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  12. @ BD – true, we have looked our weakest when we sit back and try and defend. I actually get more nervous if we score early because we tend to then sit back to much as a result…

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  13. True also Army…. All attacking moves were fearsome for any defensive unit to counter… I think that is what has got a bit of a buzz happening.. O.K it was against WBA but if it continues…..

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  14. We don’t have wingers who can cross a ball so 4-3-3 should have been implemented yonks ago…plenty of people have said the same things on here for a while now.

    I can only assume that Pardew has been waiting to get Benny’s fitness and head screwed on before deploying it. It’s also fair to say we couldn’t do this without Cisse, so have had to wait until January to start applying it in practice games…

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  15. Lads if we attack we could get hit on the counter, but if we sit back and try to defend we WILL get hit with attack after attack.
    And no harm to our defence but I don’t think they will be the strongest with Colo missing.
    So let the bin dippers worry about us hitting them with attack after attack. πŸ˜‰

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  16. Attack is the way forward 😯 I think we just need Tiote to sit back deeper to cover our defence in this game… Hang on is he playing this weekend??

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  17. Army all’s good mate just busy as fuk.
    Aussie I hope Tiote is back as I feel a bit safer if he is in the side.
    I just hope Carroll doesn’t start for them, πŸ‘Ώ as he is due to finally open his account and with the luck we have with ex players I hope its not this game.

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  18. I think this is the way forward ,if the players we are linked with,Geoffrey Kondogbia cover for tiote (eventual replacement?),Douglas,Amfaltino and pieters plus Gosling finding his box to box goalscoring touch I think we would be well set up to cope with the upper reaches of the premiership.

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  19. I think I must be the only one who is worried about the game on Sunday.

    A combination of crowd expectations, no Colo, Judas returning, the usual biased Liverpool Sky TV love fest from the commentary and ‘pundits’, and coming straight off a really excellent performance spells trouble.

    I know its negative, but I think it’s all set up to make us look like twats live on TV, not that you’ll be able to see much with all the ejaculant covering the cameras from everyone involved at Liverpool TV.

    Gerrard, oh yes, yes, YES! He’s so great. Carroll is a snip at Β£35 million, NUFC were mugs to let him go. Cabaye/Tiote/Benny/Ba/Cisse/Perch are far too good for the Toon, Liverpool have the god given right to sign them in the summer. King Kenny is a legend and he didn’t dismantle one of the greatest teams the Toon have ever had. Etc, etc,etc.

    God, I hate Sky TV.

    Anyway, I hope I’m wrong and we thrash them, but I do worry.

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  20. ———————————- Krul ——————————

    Simpson——– Williamson—- Perch ——— Santon-

    ————–cabaye———–Tiote——– Jonas———–

    ——————— Ben Arfa————-Ba——————-

    ———————————- Cisse ————————–

    who said Graham Taylors “Christmas Tree” was stupid, just 30 years ahead of his time and the journalists knew nout πŸ™‚

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  21. of course the back four shouldn’t be that in the long run πŸ™‚ Santon might sneak in… but we need three replacements for the others over and above collo, staylor…. over to Mr Carr !!!!

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  22. Definately, We have been outnumbered so many times with a two in the middle this season, The midfield 3 were more comfortable keeping possession and seemed to have an outball more often than not, Ba has played and scored loads from the left for hoffenheim and wham so i cant see that hindering him too much plus the three interchanged the other day Cisse popping up on both wings at times and still managed to score twice and probably should have had a hat trick.

    The back four looked relatively solid even without Colo (apart from the goal) and should be more confident having Tiote shielding them.

    Certainly the way forward and probably the way pardew planned when he was trying to buy Matuidi to play on the left of a three last summer… πŸ˜‰

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  23. Aussie – tiote and raylor supposed to be back. Don’t know if pards will drop guthrie for him again though?

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  24. Well Guthrie isn’t Tiote’s backup he’s Cabaye’s. He was dropped for Cabaye coming back from his suspension and quite rightly spat his dummy out because he had been playing really well in Cabaye’s absence.

    It’s the 1 thing I didn’t think Pardew would do because he seems to be a manager that keeps players in the starting 11 if they keep performing.

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  25. Has to be our team next year:
    ———————Krul——————-
    Santon-S.Taylor-Coloccini-Pieters
    ——————–Tiote——————-
    ——–Cabaye———Gutierrez——
    –Ben Arfa——CissΓ©———-Ba—–
    Solid at the back and exciting going forward.

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  26. Wasn’t the Christmas tree Terry Venables idea ?

    Anyway 4-3-3 is great for now, but hopefully next season 3-3-1-3

    ————-Krul————-

    ————Colo————-
    Saylor————–Pieters

    ————Tiote————
    Santon————–Jonas
    ———–Cabaye———-

    HBA———————-Ba
    ————Cisse————

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  27. Good article Dan.
    Haven’t seen NUFC counter attack like that for many a year. We were truly awesome.
    I hope we stick with the same game plan against the racists. I think they are ripe for a good plucking. We should of had them at there place, but we gave them too much respect, and paid dearly. Hope we have a better, more positive attitude this time.
    Only player I’d have off them would be skirtel (sp?).
    Anyhoo 3-1 is my prediction. πŸ˜€
    HTL

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  28. was Taylor, think he used Waddle and Barnes as the full backs (early theory on wing backs I guess)… did we not like that….

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  29. That second goal on Sunday, from the counter attack was mental. Agree with BB I haven’t seen us play like that for a long time. So used to Jonas doing something like that and losing it in the final third. I can remember thinking… ‘if this ends up in the back of the net, my neighbours are gona think I’m murdering someone’ πŸ˜† …was very pleasantly surprised it came off.

    So glad Pardew seems to be playing a good attacking line up again, those front 3 will put the shits up any team. All the long ball bollocks had been doing my head in, and with Barfa now seemingly integrated into the first team there are exciting times ahead. I think with our current defensive misfortunes we’re set to finish the rest of the season with a ‘we’ll score more than you’ mentality.

    …looking forward to a belter on Sunday. 4:2 to the Toon!

    HTL!! 😎

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  30. Definitely think this is going to be the way forward, particularly with Collo out for a few games, Attack is the best form of defence!!

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  31. I’m with Rodz on this one, but I’m going for another 4-3 meself (but it’s our turn to score the 4 πŸ˜€ )
    HTL!!

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  32. It’s not new – the personnel is, the formation aint. We saw it at home vs QPR after Cabaye went off, at Fulham, at Brighton and at Blackburn (1st half)

    I’m liking the new configuration tho – putting Jonas in a holding mid role was a masterstroke, allowing/encouraging/forcing Cabaye to take up more advanced positions to receive the ball

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  33. Dunno Rod…

    But I’d still like us to go in for Hoilett in the summer and have him and Marveax as our dedicated out and out wingers for when we need to revert to 4-4-2 or 4-5-1. Think they would be a great pairing.

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  34. Benny agΓ inst Enrique.. should be an interesting match up. Jose should have the leg speed in a straight line but his turning circle is bigger than Benny’s. So I reckon Benny will be tucking iΓ±side Jose at every opportunity. I hope Benny embarresses him on the weekend!!

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  35. …agree Franky, but I can see Hoilett’s price being pretty inflated by the summer. He’s been the centre of attention for a while now. I can see us spending all our dosh on the defence, I hope we do really. I’d like to see at least a full back and a centre back, ideally 3 CBs who can all play FB if required, but I ain’t counting any chickens.

    Hoping Marveaux gets a few sub appearances in for us before the end of the season in the meantime though.

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  36. Army
    The chelsea game is postponed because of their cup commitments. By the time Barca have shagged them twice they will be in no fit state to play us.So hopeful for a point or a win buick the time we play them

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  37. Rod I thought Hoiletts contract was up in the summer and he is refusing to speak with Blackburn about an extension?? I could be completely wrong like! :mrgreen:

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  38. ah OK Franky, fair enough. Like you say though there’s sure to be others after him and I’d expect him to want to play week-in week-out, something he’d not be guaranteed with us. There’s always the wage attraction from ‘bigger’ clubs, to factor in too.

    Anyway, I’m skidaddling, check thees later……

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  39. The best thing about this formation is that it allows us to get all our best players on the pitch and basically in their best positions! Finally!

    Anyway, yeah much improved. One thing I noticed-Cabaye bombing forward-finally, he seemed reluctant to do so in a 4-4-2 which meant we were very stationary in the centre, now we can drive at an opposition on all sides of the pitch with good effectiveness. Long may it live.

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  40. Great article Dan. 1st half on sunday we were fantastic ,i been banging on about an out and out attacking formation ever since Saylor got crocked. Why invite players onto our backline when it’s so suspect ,makes no sense and is so tireing for the players. 442 is fine if you have wingers who are excellent crossers of the ball and a solid defence ,sadly we fail on both counts at present ,so yes 433 is the way to go for me. We looked so much more cohesive on sunday and the carpet football was a joy to watch ,we also seemed to be so much quicker too .I wonder if some work on stamina has been going on aswell as the team of recent weeks that looked so flat and lethargic was totally buzzin 😯 . I jokeingly said they should have 20 cups of strong coffee befor last weeks game on the blog , now I’m wondering if they actually did ! πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜† Prediction for sunday is 3.1 to the Toon and Carroll to finally get one against us and i sense a sending off in the game for cesspool too. 😯

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  41. Good article, and I’ve always been a proponent of the 4-3-3. I like attacking football and now that we can do it, we should. Man, HBA is like Shredder- cuttin the opposition to ribbons constantly. Lovin’ this stuff.

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  42. great read, but its only 1 game we have shown what we can do to teams. remember the game against manu…. but since then we are not consistant.
    i am afraid we all have hi hopes against loopoo but the reality is NUFC needs to learn from the team like MANU how to win game after game not draw. i can see the making of a great team if given time and also key players staying on to build a team to challenge the likes of Barca…. the 3 strike force can cause any team in the world headache…. but we need the same level in our back four.
    in simple terms get so 2CB, 1LB,1RB,2AW and we are champions league winners …. πŸ™‚ with premier league in our pocket…. now looking at this plan it will take ashly 4years to bring those 6players. so if my math is correct by then Ba would have slowed down and colo and jones out the picture. in summery… this will never happen (dream on)

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  43. Newkie @ 48-

    I’ve always thought that Cabaye is a better player goin’ forward too. I completely agree.

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  44. 4-4-2, 4-3-1-2, 4-3-3, who cares what it’s called, when Ben Arfa, Ba and Cisse play like that they should start the next game.

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  45. OHurley-exactly mate, it happened earlier in the season but I think perhaps after getting knackered he just sat in the centre and played out the long/cross field balls to the wings. Accurate yes, but with our wings having so little cutting edge we had to rely on Ba’s brilliant finishing….now we’ve got three great finishers, cabaye can play shorter through balls and now seems willing to push forward. All good news πŸ˜›

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  46. Dan – good read and balanced argument mate, nice one.

    I’ve heard the phrase “one swallow does make a summer” on this site afew times, and whilst I thought we were brilliant against WBA, I would say that it is only one game playing that formation.
    I absolutely agree it is the formation we should adopt and develop for the rest of the season.
    The point I’m simply trying to make is that we all agree 4-4-2 does not deliver the type of football we want to see and our players looked to be wearing shackles in that formation.
    But, maybe we looked so good on Sunday because WBA played below par, or set up to face us playing our 4-4-2 formation and we caught them by surprise – an element we no longer have now.

    4-4-3 certainly allows our most dangerous players to shine and the players we have are sensible footballers. I would love to see us turn in performances like West Brom in all of the remaining games, but we really shouldn’t get too carried away saying this is the formation for us until we have played it for afew more games, then decide.
    We were brilliant against Stoke in a 4-4-2 but IMO that was a one off. Give 4-3-3 a chance and if we get beat against Liverpool (and I hope we don’t coz god I hate Liverpool) we should not loose heart and switch back. The fact is that some of the players simply aren’t good enough and we will have problems regardless of what formation we play but 4-3-3 allows free flowing footie and we all love that.

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  47. Good read Dan.

    One things for sure a 433 formation brings out the best in Cabaye, Ben Arfa and Cisse – not sure it suits Ba though being out wide but as long as him and Cisse interchange it should be alright.

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  48. Sharpy – It’s the only formation we are genuinely good at. We don’t have wingers for a 4-4-2 system so I doubt it was a one off against WBA and hate it when people say it was down to the other team playing crap…my thoughts were we played far too well against them for them to compete.

    We couldn’t revert from a 4-4-2 in the first half of the season due to not having the forwards for it, then we signed Cisse and I believe this was the catalyst for us to switch after trying it in training.

    All in my opinion of course…

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  49. Andrew-It’s a good point with Ba, obviously as he hasn’t been scoring then it suggests it doesn’t suit him as well, but he’s still played well.

    One thing I was wondering though, could this upset Ba on a personal note? Does he strive to be the main man? Do any of our front three? While things are going well we should be alright, but jealousy is all too human….

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  50. I think the reason Ba’s not scored recently is less to do with this formation and more to do with the hoofball we’d been playing for the most part prior to sunday. Without a Shola or a Best up there to hold the ball up he wasn’t really getting a sniff.

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  51. Frankie – I don’t dispute that 4-4-2 isn’t the formation for us, I’m just saying that we shouldn’t be completely sold on 4-3-3 based on 1 game.
    Yes it worked unbelievably well against WBA but if Liverpool turn us over 3 or 4 nil will we all be as sold on the formation?
    I’m just suggesting that we reserve judgement for a few games before getting too carried away.

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  52. “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.”

    Totally agree with this. At times this season, look at Liverpool away for example, we have been outdone because we have been outnumbered 2 vs 3 in centre midfield. Demba has always dropped to help out, but being outnumbered has let to the long ball more times than not.

    With three in the middle, Jonas (who looks very comfortable in a withdrawn centre midfield role) and Tiote holding with Yohan running forward, I think we will control games better and allow the front three to play the way they want to.

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  53. 4-4-3 @ home is a must, away id like to see 3-5-2, reverting to a 4-4-2 or even 4-5-1 when req πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰ p.s. just in case nobody knew – 5under1and are still SHIT πŸ˜† πŸ˜† πŸ˜† πŸ˜† πŸ˜†

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  54. Jonas would really suit that position too. He’s beefed up to a beast.

    Pleased we have tried this and ya worked, gotta start it against Liverpool. If your opponents suss it out and things are going badly then they can always change it to a more familiar one if need be

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