Is too much being made of our tactics?

A question of tactics
It’s been quite an evolving process for fans of Newcastle United in these past few years.

Not only have a lot of people become football finance analysts keen to know the details of the money side of things, but more recently a lot of people have turned into tactical masters and insist their way is the best way.

Now what is blatantly obvious is we, as a team, aren’t playing well at the moment and it’s tactics, or Alan Pardew and his implementation of them, that are getting the blame for the bulk of it. My own personal opinion is that they do have an impact on how we’ve been laying, but I also think it is a bit blinkered to think that it is only tactics that have been our downfall recently.

There are more factors behind it as Jonas Gutierrez has mentioned today in the local press. Long story short he basically said that tactics are one part of a winning team and that United have a number of systems that they train with and use depending on opposition. The big thing for me though is his insistence that the most important factor in any formation is the players giving 100%, which is strange really as I don’t think Jonas, uncharacteristically, can be tagged in that bracket right now.

Many factors combine to win a football match. Tactics are one part of it, but also individual player performance, morale, and luck all also play a part. I’m not saying that a 4-3-3 or a 4-1-3-2 or whatever wouldn’t have worked better, all I’m saying is that none of those formations could negate some of the poor individual performances that have contributed far more to our defeats in recent weeks. Name me one tactic that will stop our goalkeeper spooning clearances straight to the opposition or another which allows our players to actually make a pass to a player five yards away?

Much has been made of the 4-3-3 system that we used effectively last season. It was great to watch and we really opened teams with it, but we also had players playing in that formation who were bang in form. We had Papiss Cisse scoring from anywhere and everywhere, Hatem Ben Arfa showing that he can destroy teams on his own, Yohan Cabaye spraying the ball about, Jonas Gutierrez working his socks off, Fabricio Coloccini being some form of colossus and Tim Krul showing that he is one of the best young goalkeepers in Europe.

Is it any coincidence our performances have dipped along with the form of so may of our players? And is that down to tactics or is it down to other factors?

About toonsy

A lifelong Newcastle fan and current webmaster of this very 'blog who has the sole aim of creating a place by Newcastle United fans, for Newcastle United fans.

306 thoughts on “Is too much being made of our tactics?

  1. Well, I’m glad to see everyone coming round to the idea of 4-3-1-2 that I thought up with along with Strumpet, back in pre-season 😉



    I do agree with this, there’s not much point heaping pressure on Pardew IMO. He’s only doing what he can with what is available (although admittedly he hasn’t used what was available to 100%) The players and manager have enough time to dig themselves out of this mess and get some points in the bag. Really the board are in no position to put pressure on Pardew, he said he needed a CB and a FB and they failed to deliver. The chickens have come home to roost it’s as simple as that.


  3. TBH the club just seems to be set up to try and finish in the top 17 of the premier league anyway. No matter what bs Lambias says about top 6-8 finishes etc. We are nowhere near that level of investment in the playing squad. We would have had to spend at least 25-30 million on an international quality CB, LB and winger in the summer IMO and keep what we had from last season. What did we do? We spent around £6M on another utility defender/midfielder. You have to aim for the top just to make sure you finish in the pack now. The league seems stronger this season because what has come up has done quite well and the likes of Swansea and Norwich are kicking on as well. The sad thing is, I think the line between success and having a disappointing season is actually less than it seems and if we signed even 2 or 3 top players we would have been okay. Like when Cabaye, Ba and Raylor were playing well, the boost that gave to the whole team.


  4. Couldnt help but notice that the reserves and academy teams have been struggling as much as the seniors…

    here’s our record as a club in all competitions since Oct 29th (day after Cisse scored with his arse) –

    Academy W0 D1 L4 F3 A17 (last win Oct 20th)
    Reserves W0 D1 L4 F5 A17 (last win Oct 22nd)
    Senior W0 D3 L4 F6 A11 (last win Oct 28th)

    Total W0 D5 L12 F13 A45




    I don’t know if you responded to my post when I mocked your Laurent Blanc suggestion.

    What on earth makes you believe he would want to manage us when he knows expectations are so high and Ashley balances the book.

    This is a job for someone with no ambition or if they have got ambition, someone with no track record or a crap one.

    Please make a realistic suggestion.


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