In the last game of the 2013-14 season against Liverpool, Alan Pardew, with a new formation and the team that had conceded the worst defence outside of the bottom three, gave a decent account of themselves.
That was of course the 3-5-2 formation where the Magpies held the Reds at bay in open play and only succumbed to set pieces. In attack too the team mounted attacks and could have added to the one goal that they did score.
The formation seems to be in vogue these days with both Manchester United and with Hull City deploying the same formation. Last season, it was used by Liverpool on occasions and of course you cannot look beyond the modern day masters of the formation, the winners of last three Serie A campaigns Juventus.
The formation will suit the Team well given the personnel at their disposal.
On the defensive side of things Pardew can have Mike Williamson on the right and Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa on the left with Club captain Fabricio Coloccini sweeping. This will cover all the options that the team needs. Williamson is good at heading the ball, Yanga-Mbiwa has pace while Coloccini provides the option of passing out from the back.
For the wing back options Pardew can select recent arrival Daryl Janmaat on the right and Davide Santon (When fit) on the left. Both players like to attack but are primarily defenders so a nice mix of attack and defence can be achieved.
Pardew can go a bit left field and can also select Yoan Gouffran on the left, with the discipline shown by the former Bordeaux player it could be an option. Haidara or Dummett provide options that are rather conventional (Not that the club is short on left backs).
For the midfield three my first choice would be Siem de Jong, Jack Colback and Moussa Sissoko. The trio of players would provide intelligence, power and defensive stability for the club to push on.
Remy Cabella can be deployed in a playmaker’s role behind a sole front striker or both can play side by side. With ample service available Papiss Cisse has to be the number one choice for that berth. Emmanuel Riviere has started the last two games and he along with loan signing Facundo Ferrerya are club’s other options to consider.
This formation will allow the Magpies’ midfield to connect better with the strike force too and the front men will not be as isolated as they have been.
It also gives opposition something different to think about. This is the team I would play:
Whether Alan Pardew has the tactical nouse or temperamental nouse to change the flat back four remains to be seen, after all he shelved a 4-3-3 formation which had delivered him his best Premier league finish of fifth for a rather rigid and cumbersome 4-4-2 at the start of 2012 season.
Of course no formation is full proof and has its weaknesses too. For instance, it could leave the team vulnerable in the full back positions and many center backs are brought up playing in a back four than three.
Given the players it could work really well for the team as it has for others, if not with a change of one player it could be changed back to whatever has been tried and tested in the training. If cups are not their priority, as has been suggested by the management in recent years, then there is no harm in giving it a go in those games.
What do you think?