Category Archives: Newcastle United

Is 3 5 2 The New 4 4 2?

This post looks at the emergnce if that is the right word of the 3 5 2 Formation.

Is it the new  4 4 2, which in recent years has become our default, almost formation in the English league?

The 3 5 2 Formation is not exactly new, and has been employed by a number of foreign coaches over the years, with great success.

How it works, is like this and it is accepted that there are variations of the formation, according to the coach or manager employing the tactic.

With that in mind, lets look at some of the teams who use this formation:

Accrington Stanley

AFC Wimbledon

Wolves

Newcastle United

Sheffield United

Czech Republic

MK Dons

The formation relies on the use of very speedy, and effective wingbacks.

Those Wingbacks can either be, Wingers, or they can fullbacks pushed up operating as wingers. Ashley Young is a great example of a winger turned full back over time.

If you are using fullbacks pushed up as wingers, then effectively you are leaving wingers redundant, which is in the case of AFC Wimbledon, who use 3 Central Defenders, primarily because Wally Downes who implemented the system is a defensive coach, so you could almost say he was using a 5 3 2 version, though that is digressing from the point.

The general idea is to play two full backs and one central defender, so that you keep the players positionally as close to their favoured posistion as possible, without too much disruption to the team flow.

The 3 5 2 offers a lot of flexibility to the changing needs as the game unfolds, compared to other formations, such as the 4 2 3 1, or the 4 3 3.

Wolves and Sheffield United are two great examples of this, because both clubs, have progressed through the English Football League Championship and now are in the premiership playing this formation.

It is a system that is very difficult to play against, because when it works well, the team employing it, very often outnumber the defensive team and always have the flanks overloaded through the use of the over lapping ‘outer’ defenders.

This is the reason, that Arsenal, struggled last night against Sheffield United, England came unstuck in their recent match against the Czech Republic, Wolves were able to go to the Etihad and beat Man City 2-0, while Accrington Stanley beat Ipswich on Sunday 2-0 in League 1.

In fact Sheffield United are probably the best example of how this system works effectively, because together with Wolves they have used the system the longest, Sheffield United started using it in League 1, when Chris Wilder took over.

The defending team, have absolutly no idea, where the attacks are going to come from, especially as in the case of Wolves, who employ an attacking midfielder in their version of the system, while Sheffield United, newly promoted, don’t.

It will also be interesting to see, if Newcastle United, continue to use it, because they have just reverted back to it, to cater to the teams strengths and in doing so, their results have improved.

The one downside to the system, is that though you have numbers in attack, should you get caught on the counter attack, if you lost possession, then you are liable to potentialy concede goals, through lack of cover.

Either way the teams listed in this article who use the system, will be worth following and their progress noted this season.

Liverpool 3-1 Newcastle United: Subtle Reds create Premier League history

Liverpool cruised to a comprehensive 3-1 victory over Newcastle United to retain the top spot in the Premier League standings.

Anfield witnessed yet another sublime display as Liverpool outplayed the Magpies on quality and matched a Premier League record. Their triumph against Steve Bruce’s side means it’s Reds’ 14th consecutive win in Premier League, just 4 short of Pep Guardiola’s consecutive win record. Liverpool are the first team in top-flight history to win 14 straight matches, by scoring more than once in each win.

However, Liverpool did have an unusually slow start and the visitors made the most out of it as Jetro Willems scored with a sublime right-footed strike. Nevertheless, the hosts responded in stunning fashion, as in-form Sadio Mane dispatched a crucial equalizer on the 27th-minute mark. Minutes before the second half, Jurgen Klopp was forced to make a substitution which saw Roberto Firmino coming off the bench to replace injured Divock Origi.

The Brazillian had a lightning-quick impact on the game, and submitted a delicious pass for The Reds’ second goal. The European champions were ahead in a flash.

After the second one, they looked relatively more comfortable, predominately Roberto Firmino was under a constant spotlight, displaying a unique extravaganza of subtle twist and turns and exquisite passes. Salah’s first and Liverpool’s third came due to Brazillian’s wonderful backheel. It was just wonderful to watch.

Moreover, Reds’ midfield also did a good job, and Oxlade-Chamberlain’s return was one of the positive signs.

Liverpool sit at the top of the pile with a five point lead on Manchester City. They are looking very sharp and looking hungry from the very start to land their first Premier League title

Player Ratings:

Liverpool:

Adrian – 6, Van Dijk – 8, Matip – 7, Alexander Arnold -7, Robertson – 7, Fabinho 8, Oxlade Chamberlain 8, Wijnaldum -7, Mane -8, Salah – 7, Origi -6

Subs:

Firmino- 9, Milner – 6, Shaqiri -6

Newcastle United:

Martin Dubravka- 5, Krafth -6, Schar -6, Lascelles -6, Dumeett -6, Willems -7, Almiron-6, Hayden-6, Shelvey -6, Atsu-5, Joelinton -6.

Subs:

Muto- 6, Fernandez-6, Manquillo-6.

 

 

Dean Saunders Jailed!…

Dean Saunders, the ex Liverpool FC Striker, has been jailed today for 10 weeks for failing to be breathalysed, after being pulled over on suspicion of Drink Driving.

Saunders worked as a coach at Newcastle United, under Graeme Souness and has also managed Wrexham and Wolves as well as being capped 75 times for Wales.

Saunders was stopped by Police on suspicion of drink driving in Boughton, Chester on May 10th this year, but pleaded guilty by letter, on Tuesday, but appeared in Court Today (28th August).

Initially denying both charges at an earlier hearing, he was also banned from driving for 30 months. Saunders is currently working for BT Sport, so could it affect his job too?

The jailing, is a sad hiccup in what has been a good and solid career, as a player, and a steady, if unspectacular managerial career.

What Now for Newcastle?

At the end of last season I saw an opportunity for Newcastle to grow under Rafael Benitez and new owners following a promising end to the season. However Mike Ashley once again has showed he is not an ambitious football man; he has failed to negotiate the sale of the club, let go an excellent manager, let their best players leave and appointed a manager in Steve Bruce who is best described as a top level championship manager. What does all the mean for Newcastle? I predict a difficult season battling for survival rather than the possibility of a top half finish under Benitez.

Under Benitez Newcastle were showing progress being resolute at the back; Liverpool needed a very late goal to beat them. They broke there transfer record to sign Miguel Almiron which at the time showed Ashley was backing Benitez but this papered over the cracks a little bit and despite giving Ashley a little bit of power back., Almiron was only signed on deadline day despite Benitez having the deal in place, ready to go, at the start of the month. Benitez wanted further backing in order to extend his contract

Benitez wanted more money to spend in the transfer window. He also wanted assurances that money would go into the academy and the infrastructure of the club. The contract on offer didn’t fulfil those requirements and it was also only for one year. He wanted more, he wanted to improve, and he wanted the club to get better. Whereas it seems Ashley is quite happy to just stay in the Premier League – rather than challenge for trophies and get into Europe.

Newcastle had goal scorers in Rondon and Perez last season, Benitez wanted to sign Rondon permanently last summer, but was only allowed to sign him on loan because Ashley only wants players of a certain age. Ashley wants players with sell-on value. Someone like Rondon, at 30 years old, didn’t fit with that. Now Benitez has taken Rondon with him to Chinese club Dalian Yifang

And Perez has left signing for Leicester, they did get £30 million for Perez which Ashley will see as good business however it remains to be seen whether it is good football business.

Benitez was promised £50m per transfer window, which isn’t that bad, but it’s not a huge amount. The wage structure was another issue. Newcastle’s highest earner is on £75,000-per-week, but Rafa wanted to be able to sign players on upwards of £100,00-per-week. He couldn’t do that, so it limited the pool of players he could sign.

Bruce has massive shoes to fill the supporters took to Benitez so lovingly that it’s now a no-win situation win for him he is however a Tyneside native who is “delighted and incredibly proud to be appointed as head coach of Newcastle United. This is my boyhood club and it was my dad’s club, so this is a very special moment for me and my family” said Bruce.

This doesn’t hide the fact he managed bitter rivals Sunderland and hasn’t managed with great success in the Premier League.

The make-or-break nature of Championship promotion

In recent years, the Premier League has flourished as one of the best leagues in the world, and with its success, the financial implications of the league have grown exponentially. Clubs have started to be managed as international businesses, and team crests have become commonplace icons across all cultures throughout the globe. TV rights have skyrocketed, with the Premier League’s current deal agreed in 2015 worth a humbling £5.14bn.

With all this considered, the gulf in profitability between the Premier League and England’s second division, the Championship, is unnerving. The Championship is considered by many as an unpredictable league, with a handful of teams every year making a push for promotion. However, for their team to compete amongst England’s best, club owners are required to get their cheque books out.

Reports have shown that clubs that successfully achieved promotion from the Championship in recent years averaged losses of £550,000 a week. Current holders of the Championship title, Wolverhampton Wanderers, took the league by storm in 2018, ending their campaign on a colossal 99 points. However, their dominance came at a huge cost, with the West Midlands side reporting a loss of £59.7m throughout the season, an average of over a £1m loss per week.

Similarly, after Newcastle’s promotion back to the top flight in 2017, the Magpies suffered a heavy loss of £59m during their journey back to the Premier League. Add on top the current predicament of Bolton Wanderers and their financial issues regarding players wages, it is apparent that the Championship is an economic wasteland for club owners.

The reason behind such huge losses for Championship clubs seems to lie in the cost of wages and transfer fee amortisation. In 2017/18, Wolves, Birmingham City and Reading all paid more than twice as much in wages and amort than their seasonal income. With the Royals finishing in a disappointing 20th position that season, it beckons the question over the sustainability of a Championship club when promotion is out of the question and such heavy financial investment has been made.

When teams are spending so much in a push for promotion, it seems that going up is a make-or-break situation for clubs in the Championship. However, the rewards for a promoted team are staggering. During the 2017/18 season, the smallest amount of TV rights money earned by a club was the £95.4m granted to West Brom. This figure alone trumps the seasonal income of the highest-earning Championship side in the same season, with Aston Villa reportedly making an income of £68.6m.

A disheartening correlation can be found when comparing the income of clubs in the Premier League, and the losses of clubs in the Championship. The income of Premier League giants is ever-increasing, with Liverpool’s expected profits reaching the eye-watering heights of £100m after their Champions League success last season. In contrast, the combined operating loss of Championship clubs since the 2014/15 season is spiralling out of control. The combined loss of Championship clubs in 2014/15 was £288m. That number has increased annually, eventually resulting in the £391m collective loss in 2016/17.

With the Premier League increasingly becoming a profitable international franchise, should more care be taken with Championship clubs in their pursuit of top-flight football?

Sean Fisher @seanfisher1502