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Alan Pardew has remained resolute in his tactics—sometimes to his cost.
Brendan Rodgers showed a great deal of tactical nous at half time last week, bringing on Sebastian Coates in an effort to stop the destruction of Liverpool along the flanks.
This gave Wilson more support and allowed Rodgers to switch Sterling to the central role described earlier, which brought a great deal of success. Had Liverpool won the game, it would have been difficult to credit anyone but Rodgers.
Newcastle fans wish their manager was so flexible with his attacking options. Pardew will, more often than not, roll out a variant of the standard 4-4-2, relying on his central midfielders to dictate possession.
This leads him open to exploitation should an opposing manager change the shape of his team to something more unconventional, which was all-too evident against Manchester United earlier this year.
United had been adopting 4-2-3-1 formations in various games leading up to the Newcastle fixture, so Pardew will have been aware of the tactic.
However, in sticking with 4-4-2 he left Tiote and Cabaye surrounded by Wayne Rooney, Tom Cleverley, Michael Carrick and Shinji Kagawa. The game was away from Newcastle within the first15 minutes.
There is enough talent within the Magpies’ lineup to vary the system and not remain so rigidly adhered to the 4-4-2. Even a 4-3-3 would allow for a greater variety of attacking options.
There is already a huge amount of reliance on Cabaye and Ben Arfa to produce, so leaving them stranded and outnumbered isn’t going to help. Pardew must be willing to call the game as it progresses, or he could find it slipping away from him.