Football

Newcastle lack tactical flexibility in Swansea defeat

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Alan Pardew's post-match interview following Newcastle's 3-0 defeat to Newcastle focused on a handball that was given and Jonjo Shelvey's questionable presence on the pitch after his tangle with Mathieu Debuchy. This is understandable but it doesn't disguise the fact that Newcastle looked like a very limited side on Wednesday night.

In the first half of the game, Newcastle struggled to string four passes together. Pardew's plan seemed to be to sit back soak up the pressure and break quickly against a Swansea backline which often looks exposed when the midfield lose possession.

Away from home this is an acceptable tactic. To play this way though - especially with a 4-4-2 - you need to press and harry the opposition, you need make life uncomfortable for them. Twenty years ago it would be the kind of tactic where a Vinnie Jones or a Dennis Wise would clatter the other team's star man early on and show him what's in store.

Newcastle are capable of doing this. The Geordie's central midfield pair of Yohan Cabaye and Cheick Tiote are the sort of combative players that can make this tactic work and, for large chunks of this season, it has worked. Prior to losing against Swansea, this tactic had given Newcastle four wins in a row including impressive victories over the likes of Chelsea and Tottenham.

Against Swansea, however, the required intensity was lacking. Worse still for Newcastle, an injury to Alvaro Vasquez led to Nathan Dyer's introduction. The effect of this was to create another midfield option as the Swans' system became almost striker-less.

Against this quick passing midfield, Newcastle were unable to get any foothold in the game. Tiote and Cabaye were passengers in a game where Newcastle needed them in the driving seat.

Still at 0-0, this wasn't a disaster. With Swansea's goal on the stroke of half-time, though, the stage was set for Newcastle's tactical shortcomings to be exposed.

A goal behind, Newcastle needed to offer something more substantive. They needed to get into the game and score.

Pardew's response was to keep the high tempo pressing game that had been outplayed in the first half but push more men forward. The outcome of this was predictable - quick Swansea counter attack and goal.

With the Premier League so open this year, Newcastle could just replicate the form from a few years ago when they finished fifth.

To do this, though, they need to come up with a plan B that can work. At the moment, they don't seem to have one.

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Topics:
Football
Premier League
Newcastle United

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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