Newcastle’s Alan Pardew needs to revert back to his winning formula

Sharethematch.com looks at why Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew needs to revert back to a three-man front-line

alan pardew
Alan Pardew led Newcastle to a fifth-place finish last season Photo: Back Page Images

alan pardew

It is early days in the new Premier League campaign but already Newcastle United look like they might have to make the switch back to the 4-3-3 formation that saw Papiss Cisse and Hatem Ben Arfa fire them to a top-five finish last season.

Newcastle lost only their second home game of 2012 on Sunday, however, the manner of defeat to Manchester United was arguably more disappointing than the result itself, with the hosts conceding twice from two corners inside the opening 15 minutes.

The result means Alan Pardew’s side are five points worse off from the same fixtures last season, leaving people wondering whether the previous campaign’s success was simply a fluke.

Newcastle ended last season with seven wins in ten games but have only won two in the league this time around despite the side not changing much over the summer.

The slight decline in form could be attributed to Pardew’s insistence on beginning most games in a 4-4-2 formation, a tactic which fails to give his side much fluidity.

In almost every game this season, Pardew has changed to a 4-3-3 later on in the game and the stats show a significant improvement – 88 per cent of Newcastle’s Premier League goals have come in the second half.

It is no surprise Newcastle’s blistering form at the back end of last year came when playing 4-3-3 with the attacking trio of Ben Arfa, Cisse and Demba Ba linking up fantastically.

The 4-4-2 formation was played before Cisse arrived at the club, when Ba lined up with Leon Best and scored 15 goals before Christmas, partially due to Best’s ability to hold up the play and allow Ba to thrive as a striker.

However, Cisse cannot play that role and instead plays off the shoulder of the opposing defenders, leaving a breakdown in creativity and lack of service to the strikers.

Another factor could simply be that while other sides strengthened in the summer, Newcastle failed to acquire some of their top targets and only signed four players.

Whatever the case, it appears that 4-3-3 is the way forward for the Toon and hopefully for the Geordies, Pardew will realise that sooner rather than later.

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