What Could Newcastle Do Differently Ahead Of Forest Clash?

There has been some talk this week that Rafa Benitez may change things up for tonight’s clash with Nottingham Forest, but what exactly could Benitez do differently?

The first, and probably most unlikely scenario is that he could play a 4-4-2 formation with Dwight Gayle and Aleksandar Mitrovic up front and play a far more direct style.

However, since Benitez’s arrival, he has played a style of football that is very dependant on ball possession and taking control of the pace of the game. When playing 4-4-2, you are often left short in midfield, making ball retention much more difficult.

If Benitez did want to play two up front, a far more likely scenario is that he could change to three at the back.

This would still allow for what is essentially a five man midfield and an extra centre-back, meaning that the side would not be outnumbered in midfield.


The thing with that is, 3-5-2 is usually a formation that has to be worked a lot on and late December does not seem the time for experimentation of that level.

Meaning that is far more likely that Benitez will stick with his favoured 4-2-3-1 formation and instead of relying on Shelvey, he will rely on the vision and flair of the three behind the striker.

39 thoughts on “What Could Newcastle Do Differently Ahead Of Forest Clash?

  1. I think he will stick with the usual formation today but will be forced to change things when we lose Atsu and Diame to ACON. Then he might play Mitro and Perez and might not call it a 4-4-2 but it will probably look like it to us.

    If he sticks with Hayden and Colback I would give it until half time. If Gayle is isolated without Shelvey like he was against Sheffield then you would have to consider having a target man that even Colback could hit and the wingers could then play as natural wingers instead of tucking in.

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  2. Rob from the last thread: watch out you don’t get too many youtube followers or it might go to your head like The True Geordie. I am sure he was asked to comment on other games and such but it has gone from a NUFC or England rant to him being a talk show host. I have to admit I haven’t listened to much of his recent podcasts as they are now 2 hours long.

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  3. I read we may be interested in signing Henri Lansbury 😳😂.

    Either drop Diame back or put Anita midfield with Hayden & play Yedlin at RB. Colback is far to negative for my liking.

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  4. I agree. Colback offers nothing. Hayden outperforms him in almost every department. I think Colback has more successful tackles, but is tackled more also – so not much in it there. However for clearances, interceptions, blocks, Key passes , duels won, headers, shots etc Hayden wins hands down. Play Hayden with Diame.

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  5. I think it’s better that Shelvey’s ban came now and not in December. After Monday he will have already served 3 out of the 5 games. Then the next game is a cup game so doesn’t matter for our promotion hopes. This is better timing wise than having him out for a whole 5 or 6 weeks I reckon. He is back for the game at Brighton, which we need to win if we want the title. We did quite well against them at home. They are obviously, probably the best and most experienced championship side but we had a bit too much for them in that game. It’s one of only two games they have lost all season and we need to learn how to salvage a draw, it has given them an extra 5 points compared to us.

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  6. As I said on the previous thread, I think we should play attacking fullbacks at home. I’d also drop Diame into midfield and play Perez behind Gayle.

    They didn’t look very good when we played them last time and even at 11v10 we still looked comfortable. A lot will depend on our confidence, but we have always managed to get back to winning ways after a defeat so that shouldn’t be a problem.

    One things for sure though, we need a win and I would like a convincing win so the rest of the division can see we’re still a very good team.

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  7. Does anybody have any links? For some reason they are not showing it over here. I know NUFCTV is now free and I can get the radio coverage but no TV.

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  8. Diame was just chasing shadows against Sheffield 95% of the time. I would drop Colback, play Diame in CM (Hayden can play the holding role well) then play Mitrovic as a proper no. 9. Diame as a no.10/ false 9 just isn’t working at home. From midfield he can get the ball and carry it forward, which is what he does best.

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  9. Aye, Eric, I could do with a link too. They had the Villa game on yesterday on US tv but nothing today. Maybe only Sky games?

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  10. Stuart: you still on the cruise mate? I am off to Miami in a week or so, getting out of the freezing Chicago weather, you have to it drives you mad. Then off to Madrid at the end of Feb. Booked the bloody flights and then I find out that neither Real or Athletico are at home (Althletico play the day I leave).

    One of the lads that goes to the pub in Chicago is going to see Forest today and Blackburn. First time in Newcastle for him and staying in Consett. I’ll have to hear if he went to the Bigg Market or Quay Side on New Years. I told him to look in The Sun or The Daily Mail on New Years Day as they love to condescend to drunken northerners, but it is funny anyway to see the t-shirts and short skirts in zero degrees.

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  11. 1) Perez is on the cover of the match day programme. Is he going to start?

    2) Brighton game called off due to fog.

    3) Rafa says tonight it’s 11 V 11…..

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  12. Nah, I’m in Syracuse until tomorrow then off to NYC for the New Year. Back to UK on 2nd and back to reality… 🙁

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  13. Sham – How long its 11 v 11 is debatable. Refereeing standards in this league are so poor you just never know.

    I’d expect us to be extra motivated tonight – although not too much as we’ll probably get someone sent off!

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  14. Good point Stu. Tonight is so important that I just can’t see the team imploding. Going for a Toon win by at least 2 goals. I’m expecting Forest to sit deep and counter.

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  15. So Yedlin, Atsu and Perez replace Anita, Gouffy and Diame. System looks the same. Colback still in the side and Mitro can’t buy a game. I expect to see Hayden more offensively active today. Not a lot of height in the side so the ball will be on the floor and wingers will be cutting inside.

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  16. just wish Diame was instead of Colback i just dont rate his sideways and backwards passes reminds me of L.Clark waste of a place imo

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  17. I’m glad we picked up those lucky points at the beginning of the season.
    We’re being shown up for what we are, a team of journeymen totally reliant on our only decent midfielder.
    Lascelles my favourite involved in the Forest goal, a decidedly average defender

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  18. Listening to the toon on the radio is shit, listening to a shit toon on the radio is even worse

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  19. It’s obvious that the are too many joureymen at the town who just cannot handle the pressure. Rafa gambled by making changes and the replacements obviously are no improvement whatsoever. A lot striker at home against an absolutely shit Forest. Cowardly.

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  20. Ice – I think that is very harsh. If we have the same second half of the season as the first we will finish on over 90 points. That’s enough for automatic promotion. You’re also assuming other clubs will win most games which doesn’t often happen.

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  21. Stuart79:
    Ice – I think that is very harsh. If we have the same second half of the season as the first we will finish on over 90 points. That’s enough for automatic promotion. You’re also assuming other clubs will win most games which doesn’t often happen.

    you picked the right word mate,one of the biggest “IF”

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  22. Cheeses.! The negativity has got a grip of the blog again.
    Wow! You’ll be calling for Rafa to go shortly.
    YCMIU😨

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  23. no negativity here as far as I can see. A lot of people speaking the truth, while other punters are quite happy to wait and see. sticking your head in the sand and ignoring the facts gets you nowhere

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  24. Troy, with the fishy on the little dishy.
    Fingers crossed that Gayle doesn’t get paggred, but you have to wonder what is going through Rafas mind when he brings in Jesus and that bloke from Ipswich, and Yedlin then they are nowhere near the first team. ditto Lazaar from Italy. Bad signings or what ?
    Toon trying to get back up on the cheap, at least Mr Ashley will be happy. 50,000 sell out crowds, parachute payments from the prem, and were still not convincing, and a two and a half man team… Gayle, Shelvey and Richie.
    Mitro and Perez both gone from good squad players to absolute zeros under Rafas watch.

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  25. Blackburn on the absolute bones of their bum, mass protests, crap team near the bottom of the league, 7000 mags on the road, yet they will still boss wor lot. Mark my words, 2-1 loss tomorrow.

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