Keegan Thinking Of Reverting Back To Wingers

Kevin is seeing some of his players coming back from injury, with Charles N’Zogbia fit again after he injured a knee in the France Under-21 game a couple of weeks ago and James Milner isn’t too fay away either.


Charles N’Zogbia – fit again for Saturday

Kevin Keegan talked to the Newcastle Journal this morning about the players who are not currently part of his new 4-3-3 starting eleven:.

“We’ve not only got a good squad at the minute, we’ve also got a good squad around it,”

“Alan Smith – you couldn’t have anyone better to bring on. I know he would prefer to play but he covers you in so many positions and he’s got a great attitude.”

Duff has not started since the 3-0 defeat at Liverpool, where Milner picked up his injury, and after that Keegan reverted to his 4-3-3 formation and started all three of his top strikers.

Kevin continued:

“We’d been playing with two wingers and not scored goals,” “I’m not blaming the wingers for that. I’m blaming the whole team performance. We had Milner on the right, Duffer on the left and two up front but weren’t scoring goals.”“It might work if we went back to it now because the confidence is there, but we had to change.”

“You’ll see now when Duffer comes back in and James comes back in and Alan Smith comes back in – and they will – they’ll be coming back into a side which has some confidence. That can make a major difference to how they play.”

Maybe Kevin will revert to a 4-4-2 formation before the end of the season, once he’s got N’Zogbia, Milner and Duff all looking to play. But that only gives you two of the strikers in the middle and one of them wouldn’t start.

While we never liked the 4-3-3 formation that Big Sam played, we can well see the benefits of that formation under Keegan, and the lads are playing to it very well and also keeping their shape very well indeed. Both Butt and Barton have raised their game and are also able to cover lots of the midfield, which is so necessary in this formation.

But the major thing right now, as it will be next season, is what’s the formation that will allow us to win games and score goals.

For the tough game at Portsmouth on Saturday, there’s no doubt Kevin will keep faith in his new 4-3-3 formation and hope Newcastle can register their fourth win on the trot.

What do you think?

Comments welcome.

32 comments so far

  • dougnufc

    Apr 8, 2008 at 9:45 AM

    Comment #1

    Why Alan Smith to come back?

  • Eric

    Apr 8, 2008 at 9:49 AM

    Comment #2

    Depends on the wingers does it not? KK seems to select horses for courses and in the last three games it has worked well. According to the SUN we are supposed to be interested in Jermaine Pennant – he could be a useful addition. The Mail (again?) suggests Mbarek Boussoufa, a Dutch Moroccan (?) left winger. Watched him on Utube. He is zippy and skilful but am concerned he may not be ready or up to the type of game in the premier. Anyway I do not think KK will change things (other than the bench) on Saturday. But wingers – of course if it fits the game tactics on the day.Why Alan Smith? he is not a winger. Do not know what he is!He does not seem to know where he is most of the time!

  • Nev

    Apr 8, 2008 at 10:04 AM

    Comment #3

    Why change a winning formula ?

    id only consider changing to 4-4-2 if we play one of the top 4 … the rest we can stick to 4-3-3 as it seems to be doing well … away from home aswell!

  • Leo

    Apr 8, 2008 at 10:09 AM

    Comment #4

    if we were to use wingers and revert back to 442 who would play up top?

    well my first choice is viduka because he is master of holding the ball up and giving other players chances to come off him and nick a goal, not to mention his stunning quality to turn on a pin head and shoot without the defenders having a chance.

    oba or owen, now thats a hard one, i think owen would start and oba would be warming up from the start of the match, he could come off the bench and light the fire when the pompey players are tired.

    good thing about playing portsmouth at the weekend is that they are playing midweek

  • Callum

    Apr 8, 2008 at 10:09 AM

    Comment #5

    Why change when the 4-3-3 is working? If its not broken dont fix it…

  • hanzemre

    Apr 8, 2008 at 10:16 AM

    Comment #6

    🙂 the important thing is to keep on scoring goals & winning games whether with 4-3-3 / 4-4-2 / else.

  • HeronMag

    Apr 8, 2008 at 10:28 AM

    Comment #7

    People will say why change a winning formula and usually I’d agree. But against Portsmouth we are going to struggle to control the midfield with only 3 men. Portsmouth are a big, strong, physical side. If we stick with 4-3-3 Owen will have to play a lot deeper.

  • Robert from Serbia

    Apr 8, 2008 at 10:29 AM

    Comment #8

    Keegan,No to Smith !!!! No to Duff !!!

  • Zx

    Apr 8, 2008 at 10:30 AM

    Comment #9

    I don’t understand why you guys hate Alan Smith that much. Give him a chance. KK can turn him into a much better player I believe.


    Apr 8, 2008 at 10:43 AM

    Comment #10

    Yes the 433 has worked against Brum in the second half, Fulham, An uninterested Spurs team and Reading

    I have said for a while that we may be found out in the 433 and if we are, i hope its against Pompey this saturday and not the week after!

    If the Mackems play this side against the 433 then im scared they may take our three midfieders out of the game and double up on our full backs and hurt us down the wings.



    Apr 8, 2008 at 10:46 AM

    Comment #11

    Harte may even start at Left back to give them better attacking options

  • coolsmurf

    Apr 8, 2008 at 10:55 AM

    Comment #12

    it will be criminal to change a winning side. please no!!! leave the experiment to pre-season

  • Cyprus Mag

    Apr 8, 2008 at 11:23 AM

    Comment #13

    Craigg, how do you know so much about the Sunderland squad? Are you a closet Mackem?


    Apr 8, 2008 at 11:31 AM

    Comment #14

    No i just do my homework on the premier league and our opponents

  • broon ale

    Apr 8, 2008 at 11:38 AM

    Comment #15

    craigg. let sunderland worry about us.

  • Whumpie

    Apr 8, 2008 at 11:43 AM

    Comment #16

    KK is right to start looking at alternative formations. The 4-3-3 may have blown mid-tablers out of the water, but it won’t take the likes of Ferguson and Wenger long to work out how to win against it.

    KK needs to get at least two very different approaches sorted and thoroughly trained on. The good news is that we do have some good wingers; my only concern is that none of them has an accurate, ‘Nobby-like’ cross on him.

    A clever winger with a deadly accurate cross on him – one for the summer shopping list, I think.

  • hanzemre

    Apr 8, 2008 at 11:53 AM

    Comment #17

    Yeah CRAIGG you’re right there that we may would be found out against stronger teams & concede a goal/s with this 433. Having said that i however do think & confident that we’d always be a serious threat to opponents’ defense & manage to score more goals. Don’t you think so?

  • clinta

    Apr 8, 2008 at 11:54 AM

    Comment #18

    i think it’s good that KK’s thinking about option for his team and ways of playing, alot of people are saying if it ‘aint broken don’t fix it’, i understand there point but i think we need to be able to play with some variety and be flexible and while we’d all like to win the remaining games of the season it’s also improtant to try new things and experiment now while we don’t have much to play for other than pride.


    Apr 8, 2008 at 12:01 PM

    Comment #19

    Broon ale its easy to say that, but KK will keep the same line up so Keane straight away knows what he is up against so can then plan how to stop us playing which isnt hard just sit 3 CMs on ours and they will cancel each other out.

    We dont play the same 433 as Chelseas or Man Utd do with width we play 3 centralised strikes our width comes from our full backs who could be pegged back by their full backs and wingers doubling up on them.

    I left Reid out of their side also who is deadly from dead balls and Chopra who has been getting a bit of a habit of coming off the bench and scoring recently. He would love to put one past us, also Murphy and Stokes who can score a few as well and Yorke maybe in their midfield, Higginbotham is a danger from set pieces scored in the match down their end and takes a mean penalty.

    No Doubt in my mind we should be back at 442 with Milner and Zog on the wings for the Derby its up to KK who starts i would go like this.


    Subs: Forster, Edgar, Geremi, Carroll, Martins


    Apr 8, 2008 at 12:05 PM

    Comment #20

    hanzemre i do think we can score aginst the best but you cannot play so openly against them either.

    Not saying the mackems are the best but they will be up for this one, Theyve won three on the bounce and play Man City at home this weekend so 3 points there i think.


    Apr 8, 2008 at 12:07 PM

    Comment #21

    There is no saying that Keane will play 451 im just assuming that would represent there best chance of getting something if they play 442 then i think we will stuff them

  • Leo

    Apr 8, 2008 at 12:29 PM

    Comment #22

    anyone watch the film battle royal last nite?!!! what a film that was!

  • Ryan

    Apr 8, 2008 at 12:42 PM

    Comment #23

    I don’t think that KK will stick with 4-3-3 for very long. True, it is effective. But, if we ever wanna get top in table. We need to sort out every possible tactics which work effectively.^^

  • scott9

    Apr 8, 2008 at 1:09 PM

    Comment #24

    i say stick with the 4 3 3 viduka martins and owen on hav to play they win us games

  • Thomas

    Apr 8, 2008 at 1:15 PM

    Comment #25

    since we are all but safe, it would be good to use the remaining games to test the squad in different formations and situations. if we can do this and still finish above spurs, we’ll have plenty to look forward to next season

  • hanzemre

    Apr 8, 2008 at 1:17 PM

    Comment #26

    Even KK said that we may now trying 4-4-2 as confidence is again sky high as we can shift to 4-4-3 during game. So for Pompey & Mackem games if we’d start with 4-4-2 i just think Geremi’d start as he edges abit Milner due to his better performance of late & Milner is not that match fit . So i assume.

    Sub : Forster,Diatta,Edgar,Duff,Martins

  • hanzemre

    Apr 8, 2008 at 1:27 PM

    Comment #27

    Also hopefully Mike Ashley / Christ Mort could revert/ change our next season jersey design to last season /else which looks more brighter with more white than black in there. Or at least try white shorts instead. Just my view for better perspective & future.

  • Vitorbarbosa

    Apr 8, 2008 at 1:42 PM

    Comment #28

    Let’s not forget that not every player can play in the three men midfield, and not every player in our three men midfield, Barton, Butt and Geremi can play week in week out without having problem. They might get suspended, injured, attend to birth of new child, bla bla bla.

    So, we must have a plan in case, we don’t have the 3 midfielders or the 3 strikers available. Moreover, we have decent players in Duff, Charlie and Milner. It’s wise to familiar your team with a few tactics(tactics??).

  • Ausgeordie

    Apr 8, 2008 at 2:25 PM

    Comment #29

    Where to put these players? Its great to have most of them fit and we need more but I’m loving the striker situation and I dont want to see any of them taken off. Injury and form is the only way we should swap this formation. they are all pulling their weight and playing well. HOWAY THE LADS!

  • Ross

    Apr 8, 2008 at 2:59 PM

    Comment #30

    stick with 4-3-3 against the unwashed.
    i really want us to thump them.

  • m.

    Apr 8, 2008 at 11:11 PM

    Comment #31


  • marcus owen

    Apr 8, 2008 at 11:30 PM

    Comment #32

    We don’t need 4-4-2 for our wingers to get involve. Duff,Milner and N’Zogbia all can be part of the 4-3-3. I suggest KK bring in one winger at a time when opposition RB or LB is particularly weak. By doing this, we can stick to 4-3-3 where our players are feeling so comfortable with it.


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