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?