Why Kenedy’s arrival could instigate big changes at Benitez’s NUFC – a new formation in the offing?

It isn’t the big name we wanted or a position on the pitch that urgently needed improving, but the arrival of Brazilian Kenedy finally signals the start of a much needed recruitment drive this month. On the surface it seems slightly odd that Rafa would chase a loan signing of a young player whose temperament has been questioned, but many at Chelsea feel he is a big talent who just need games.

As with any loan deal where the parent club are keen to see him develop and get his chance, he’s come to get played each week, so I’ve been wondering where he may fit into our team..

I’m wondering if his arrival may see Rafa trial the popular 5-2-2-1 / 3-4-3 system used affectively by Chelsea, Arsenal and Spurs at present?

Here is what this could look like in reality and my thought as to why this might be the best thing for the team to pick up the points needed to stay up…

The potential line up

Kenedy in his favoured position

From watching him a little and from observing the opinions of Chelsea fans, Kenedy seems a talent, but one that must be nurtured. He has clear skill (see that sublime trick against Norwich!) but on the face of it doesn’t score enough goals, nor does he have the defensive instincts to be a left-back in a four man defence (why would Rafa drop Dummett on current form?).

With that taken into account, I don’t see him being used as a left winger (Atsu, Murphy and Ritchie all viable options at present) and don’t see him being used as an out and out left-back, but feel he could thrive in a left wing back role of a back five.

The likes of the more defensively minded Dummett playing left centre half and covering while the Brazilian can use his pace,  skill and attacking flair (which we badly lack) further up the field. Our current full backs, mainly Dummett and Manquillo, offer next to nothing going forward. Switching to this system would give us two pacey full backs in him and Yedlin, making assurances for both their defensive weaknesses. It also would allow a far more solid base than when we have been overpowered in midfield playing 4-4-2.

As this clip of him in a recent FA Cup game vs Norwich highlights, he looks ideal as a left-wing back role:

More support for the lone striker

The new system would mean four quick wide players on the field at once, which can only help the striker playing, whether it is Joselu or a new centre forward (hopefully.) It would also explain why the likes of Jorgensen and Slimani are being targeted, with both being more of a target man in style and not lightening quick.

Both could thrive with a quick and supportive supply line at hand. Whether it is Joselu still starting for us come February depends on how serious Ashley is in actually investing…

Gives us better balance?

As well as going forward it could give us more balance in midfield and defence too. Rafa appears hesitant to play Merino and Shelvey together and often likes to play Hayden instead as sort of defensive screen.  Having 5 at the back gives you an extra centre half who can help with that job and allows more creativity in the middle of the park, hopefully. As Chelsea showed in their title winning season under Conte, this system can allow you to have an array of attacking options and a comfort blanket at the back at the same time (if played correctly of course – but I’d back Benitez to make it work).

The players have also played this system already this season as well so it should be familiar to them. I think it would give us a far better balance between attack and defence, whilst giving us full backs who are comfortable going forward and perhaps less comfortable defensively. Maybe it could be the key to pushing us on at home? Something’s got to give to improve our wretched run at St James’!

Gets rid of the number 10 role…

Having looked at the benefits of this formation, the main drawback is that it doesn’t allow you to play a number 10. For top teams, like Chelsea and Spurs they have adjusted to this by playing this system but playing the likes of Eriksen and Hazard as one of the two wide men off the striker. After all, world class number 10’s like those two players are able to play anywhere across the striking roles.

This isn’t a drawback for NUFC particularly as this is a position we have struggled with since we sold Wijnaldum. We got promoted without having a successful attacking central midfielder/goal scorer. Rafa has used it as it offers a better defensive shape but going forward it offers us no real goal scoring benefit when it is the likes of Perez and Diame occupying the role. Until we sign a quality number 10, this formation switch could work well and would explain why Rafa has been so keen to get Kenedy on board.

What do you think of this potential line up? Where do you see Kenedy fitting into our plans?

(Fancy writing for us? Send any articles/ideas over to us at NUFCblogsubmissions@gmail.com & we’ll get back to you!)

About Simon Riddlesden

Lifelong Newcastle United fan and East Stand season ticket holder. Observations from a supporter who has followed NUFC during Champions League participation and through relegation, taking me from Milan to Scunthorpe.

135 thoughts on “Why Kenedy’s arrival could instigate big changes at Benitez’s NUFC – a new formation in the offing?

  1. Who’s that homeless guy they had on Sky Sports? He reminded me a bit of a fat, slouching Paul Merson with about 8 days growth of grey beard. Oh, it is Paul Merson you say. I wonder what his predictions are? I think he had us down for an upset against Luton last round.

    I suppose it was an upset, we won!!!!

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  2. Not impressed with the links to this Jorgensen gadgie. Scoring in Dutch league is not the same as in prem… Luuk De Yong…? ☹️

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  3. kimtoon:
    SSN says we are in talks for Slimani, thought he’d gone to Monaco.

    Might be a veiled interest Kim for Feyenoord to come back with a – give us £17m and you can have him.

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  4. I tell you what I notice as well. All these ‘sports writers’ who are so vocal when things aren’t going our way with transfers or take overs – they certainly go quite when we look like doing business. Funny that innit?!.

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  5. Oh and the likes of Merson and Charlie Nichols – who have slaughtered Arsenal and Arsene Wenger for allowing the contracts of Ozil and Sanchez to run down – all of a sudden Charlie is excited by the new Arsenal look. Bunch of absolute two faced tossers the lot of them!!.

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  6. Rafa on transfers: “We are in the same situation. We had the green light and we are waiting

    no Rafa, you are stuck at a red light and jabba’s in control of the traffic lights !

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  7. How can Spurs get Lucas Moura for 25 million? This makes absolutely no sense. He is a 25 year old right winger who has played 36 times for Brazil and scored 19 goals last season.

    How is he 25 million and Jorgensen 20 million?

    Guess whose days are numbered at Spurs?

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  8. Sharpy17: Stu – I have no issue with spending £20m, but it’s that risk v reward thing for me.B’mth had Ake on loan before buying him for that money so the risk was less having seen what they are buying.Your £50m full back in Kyle Walker had years of PL experience and was a consistent performer, so whilst it was high, Pep was pretty much guaranteed a quality player.
    Benteke had been scoring at Villa.I’d have no issues with that.
    There will still be ones that don’t come off – like Sissoko or Torres (in his Chelsea days) – there is always risk in any transfer.

    I just can’t help thinking this is an unnecessary risk when Mitrovic is there.I know Rafa doesn’t like him & should get the players he wants – so ok, we go with it.But I’m uneasy coz I’m not sure this lad has the PL quality needed.

    My point really is that £20m today is the equivalent of £7-£8m 3 years ago. We took a risk on Riviere for £6m so in relative terms it’s not any different imo.

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  9. OK, there’s usually a loan fee when an international is sent out. Why don’t we just give Feyenoord 17 million (20 million euros, what they originally asked) and loan them Mitro for free with us paying half his wages? We get Rafa’s man, they get a ready made replacement until the summer when they look for a permanent deal and Mitro gets to play in a world cup year.

    Oh, and we get to see what Mitro can do with regular starts. You just know he would do as well as Jorgensen has and then he would be worth 20 million euros 🙂

    Too logical?

    We could then move on to finding a midfielder. With this dragging on it is clogging up the process for others. We all know Charnley cannot walk and chew gum at the same time.

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  10. Whatever happened to the Schurrle talk?

    Good that Aarons is going out on loan. Hopefully, he will do well because he has looked good on occasions and deserves a run in a team. Bristol? I think that’s where we got him from.

    Football365 named Mats Sels as our most impressive loanee. 9 clean sheets in 16 games for Anderlecht. I know there wasn’t much competition. I think next-big-thing Adam Armstrong has like 1 goal this season. I really want the lad to succeed but it seems that since Gazza the next-big-thing at NUFC has never actually done anything apart from bounce around the lower leagues.

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  11. It’s going to go down to the wire, Eric. When was the last time we signed anybody in the last couple of days of a transfer window? Jabba where’s it like a badge of honour. He expected selling teams to back down and accept his price. The fact it’s never happened yet is irrelevant to him.

    If Rafa gets his 4 players in that he wanted I will be staggered. Who cares that every other club seems to be winning games now? Not Jabba that’s for sure.

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  12. I still can’t understand Rafa and the Mitro/Mbemba situation. Apparently he won’t now play Mitro against Chelsea in case he gets injured. What nonsense. Can anybody tell me why Mbemba isn’t a better fullback than Manquillo or a better centre back than Dummett or Hayden? They would both improve our team Rafa and that’s the bottom line not worrying about red cards or poor English!

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  13. What are our squad numbers atm?.. do we need to get rid to sign?
    Trying to unload our **** might be holding up deals. .
    Anyway…

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  14. Aussie: teams can make as many changes as they want to the squad in theJanuary transfer window. If we don’t have room for a new player we could simply drop an existing player from the squad, Jamie Sterry for example since he is transfer listed anyway.

    Making room in the squad is purely a money thing, not PL rules.

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  15. Cheers Eric.. I can see why we don’t want to get robbed by selling clubs but the simple fact is every pl club gets ****ed over when buying players. We seem to want to maintain some form of chastity. May as well bend over as you enter the negotiations now days.. world has gone mad..

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  16. icedog:
    well my worry is how come bloody wearside jack is still haunting SJP

    Aye, mate was gonna post that very thing too. He won’t move too far away and likes his wages apparently. Well he’ll have to when his contract expires.

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  17. Had virgin out this morning , new box, cables and new router too. Was fed up of poor internet reception and the picture freezing every half hour on SSN. Now to phone on the 4th feb and renegotiate my payments ( they do promotions on the 4th of every month ) got tipped off by the tech guy 🙂
    Alternatively if they don’t give me a good deal I will bring my package down to basic level and get a now tv box.

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  18. georgio:
    I still can’t understand Rafa and the Mitro/Mbemba situation. Apparently he won’t now play Mitro against Chelsea in case he gets injured. What nonsense. Can anybody tell me why Mbemba isn’t a better fullback than Manquillo or a better centre back than Dummett or Hayden? They would both improve our team Rafa and that’s the bottom line not worrying about red cards or poor English!

    I get staying away from the Mad Serb but Mbemba has played well when called upon. How much English does he really need at fullback? Centre back maybe, but not fullback. Even then Colo was captain for 3+ years and I never saw him do single interview in English. Rafa does make mistakes, he is not infallible – remember Ritchie as left back 🙂

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  19. Eric Sykes:
    Slimani not even on the bench for Leicester. Steven Taylor starts for Peterboro

    They will sell to a PL club but willing to loan to Monaco, Slimani wants PL footie though apparently.

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  20. Icedog:
    Deal nearly done for striker,jabba not paying all money up frontas he wants to use it for two other signings

    I was banging on about that all summer Ice. That the way to afford more and better players was to pay in installments – LIKE EVERY OTHER CLUB DOES. Just goes to show how little Fatty knows about football because he was wanting to sell NUFC and all buyers expect that there will be payments due for players to other clubs as well as payments due from other clubs, eg. Sissoko.

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  21. Icedog:
    Deal nearly done for striker,jabba not paying all money up frontas he wants to use it for two other signings

    Also Ice. The fact that Fatty wants to pay in installments makes me think that he sees a deal on the horizon if we stay up.

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  22. Icedog:
    Deal nearly done for striker,jabba not paying all money up frontas he wants to use it for two other signings

    Ice – to be fair, if that’s true then that shows they have changed their approach – coz in the past his thing was to pay in full up front.
    So breaking transfers records & paying in instalments could mean they’ve learned a lesson & turned a corner … we will see by the end of the week I reckon.

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  23. I am sure Olly will do a projected team but I’ll start it off. My big question is who do we save for Burnley? Probably Shelvey, give Ritchie another few days off, Dummett. Lascelles only gets 60 minutes and sub out the forwards also on 60 minutes assuming that we will get a striker in anyway. Plus we hold back Gayle just in case there is a 15 million bid in the next few days. So to start:

    Darlow

    Yedlin Lascelles Clark Mbemba

    Murphy Diame Hayden Atsu

    Joselu Perez

    I have massive reservations about central midfield but why risk Merino and Sheley is more important for Burnley.

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  24. I’ve got a Dutch friend here in Dubai that is a Feyenoord fan, actually played for them years ago, and he is gutted that we are trying buy Jorgensen. Says he’s their best player. Let’s hope he is right and that form can be brought into Prem.

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  25. Aussie: Must be mate..best paid reservesinceCisko or what ever his name was…

    Aussie we have a lot of well paid reserves. In fact, we have a lot of well paid first teamers who should be reserves!

    Not totally true. What we have is a lot of samey, in-betweeners. Too good for the Championship but often found a bit wanting in the PL. We don’t have a single game changer save Shelvey who only turns it on 1 in 5, and that is not good enough.

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  26. Eric Sykes: Aussie we have a lot of well paid reserves. In fact, we have a lot of well paid first teamers who should be reserves!

    Not totally true. What we have is a lot of samey, in-betweeners. Too good for the Championship but often found a bit wanting in the PL. We don’t have a single game changer save Shelvey who only turns it on 1 in 5, and that is not good enough.

    Eric – I don’t completely agree with that to be fair mate. I think the likes of Ritchie & Perez have the ability to change games – but as you say, it’s that consistency that’s lacking.

    I think Murphy & Atsu have ability too, and may improve with more PL experience. I think Hayden & Merino could well come good too with experience – but I’m not so sure they are game changers as such.
    I think Lascelles & Clark are a good partnership.
    So I don’t think it’s all bleak, but we need to bring in that quality that will take us clear of all this relegation mess. The quality that would have got us those extra 9-10pts so far that would see us more in mid-top half safety, than right in the mix of relegation.

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  27. Sharpy17: Eric – I don’t completely agree with that to be fair mate.I think the likes of Ritchie & Perez have the ability to change games – but as you say, it’s that consistency that’s lacking.

    I think Murphy & Atsu have ability too, and may improve with more PL experience.I think Hayden & Merino could well come good too with experience – but I’m not so sure they are game changers as such.
    I think Lascelles & Clark are a good partnership.
    So I don’t think it’s all bleak, but we need to bring in that quality that will take us clear of all this relegation mess.The quality that would have got us those extra 9-10pts so far that would see us more in mid-top half safety, than right in the mix of relegation.

    I don’t think it is all bleak either. I have said before on here that I disagree with the pundits who repeat endlessly that we have a Championship team. We have plenty of players who have played in the PL but lack a bit of quality. What we really lack is a couple of players who will create space and make everybody better.

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  28. I’m watching Notts County vs Swansea… Notts have a cracking striker that we could probably get quite reasonably… Ameobi… lots of prem experience. Knows how to fall down and look good doing it.. I think we could get him cheap. ??? would suit the fat man.

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  29. Fulham now 7th and 1 point behind a playoff spot. I think we will get a bid for Gayle. I know that is not much of a stretch to say since they supposedly made an offer in the summer. This time I think we will accept. Fatty has to balance them books ! 🙂

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  30. funrafa: Ice was saying it is close to be done. Which one I should believe?

    Rafa – is that a serious question? Gotta go with Ice over Lee Ryder anyday of the week and twice tomorrow!! ?

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  31. Fulham up to 6th after win. It is close around those playoff spots so I reckon they are about 6-1 to go up. I am not a bookie though. However, I reckon if they got Gayle their odds would be about 2 or 3 to 1. I am also not a betting man but I do know Stuart is. What do you think Stuart, worth a punt for Fulham for 15 million?

    I think it is because the reward is 100 million and it is not like you are wasting the 15 mil because you would have Gayle for a full season next year for another go at it.

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  32. Sharpy17: Rafa – is that a serious question? Gotta go with Ice over Lee Ryder anyday of the week and twice tomorrow!!

    Thanks mate. Seriously I tend to believe ice’s source more than other reports. 🙂

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  33. That Chronicle article is total tosh. Feyenoord are out of the title race and apart from a league game tomorrow, their next game is a cup final on deadline day at 19:45.

    Their manager will be planning 2 scenarios, 1 where he stays and 1 where he goes. Of course an agreement will have to be reached in the next few days or the deal is off – the window will be closed!

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  34. Icedog:
    Pools new c/b is doing well NOT

    he is doing ok. but he himself can not save the whole defence. The balance between offence and defence is a subject for every coach.

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  35. We all know what will happen, it is always the same script with Pards. It is like an episode of Are You Being Served or Keeping Up Appearances, just keeps repeating.

    I feel sorry for the West Brom fans because they will get false hope. I was sure he would keep them up because he always has a honeymoon period. I still think that way. The WBA fans will see his arrogance as confidence to start with but when the results turn, as they always do, they will see the real Pards. The excuses, the throwing the players under the bus, the death spiral with a win or 2 here and there to give renewed hope, but it will be a false dawn as the players have already realized he was always full of **** and full of himself.

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  36. Where is Troy anyway? I thought an away win at Liverpool would have him crowing that Pards is not so bad after all.

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