Possibility Newcastle May Switch To 4-3-3 Formation

The lads played very well indeed on Monday night, when they ended up worthy winners 2-0 against Aston Villa, and were able to limit captain Michael Owen to a minute or so of first team football, in his comeback from groin injury problems.

Michael Owen – itching to get back in Newcastle’s side

But now with Shola and Oba Martins playing so well up front it would be a little unfair to replace one of them with Michael, and we need a big guy up front in any case, with Shola’s role being to help batter the opposition defense. And he gave Danish defender Martin Laursen a tough game on Monday night, although Matt gave as much as he got, in an intriguing struggle between the two.

So maybe the time is right to try the 4-3-3 that Kevin Keegan used so successfully, when he faced a similar challenge once Mark Viduka came back last season, and it seemed to work so well.

But we’re not sure if Joe has used 4-3-3 many times.

With Joey Barton looking so good as a box to box midfielder. we could definitely play three in the middle of the Park with Barton, Butt, Guthrie and Geremi all challenging for those positions.

We’ll have to wait and see what Kinnear decides to do, but Joe is coming off an excellent piece of coaching from Monday night, where he may have even out-coached the great Martin O’Neill on the night.

We must also be in with a reasonable of chance of getting all 3 points at Craven Cottage, although Fulham are always a difficult team to play, because they always play with 100% commitment and heart every game.

Captain Michael Owen is itching to get back on Sunday and said:

“Hopefully, I can get back in for that one,” “It’s always nice coming back into a team that has won a game or two.”

“And when you win you get a little bit greedy and want another win.” “It wasn’t a serious injury I’ve had, but it’s been a frustrating one, given the timing.”

Owen will be anxious to get back in the Newcastle side as he tries to impress England manager Fabio Capello, who has left him out of the two previous England squads, which have also done so well. Michael needs to start hitting those goals again, although the England boss has warned goals must come with also playing well in the team.

Michael talked about getting back in the England squad:

“That just comes with playing well and scoring goals,” “It’s a by-product of doing well for your club.”

The team Joe selects for the game at Craven Cottage will be interesting now he has some of his better players back. But Mark Viduka and Ignacio Gonzalez are still out with Achilles probelms, with do dates set for their return to training.

Comments welcome.

56 comments so far

  • Debuilder

    Nov 6, 2008 at 9:34 AM

    Comment #1

    Come on, the main reason for the success against Villa was the performance of the 4 man midfield.

    Butt and Barton patrolling the middle and Duff and Gutierez pushed further up creating.

    Not really going to lose that now is he?

  • bettyswollocks

    Nov 6, 2008 at 9:34 AM

    Comment #2

    if we were to go 4-3-3 i think duff would have to be the one to make way. doubt it will happen to be honest as he has been playing quite well but he is too light-weight to be part of a 3-man midfield.

  • knowitall

    Nov 6, 2008 at 9:35 AM

    Comment #3

    Martin Laursen is Danish

  • Geordie69

    Nov 6, 2008 at 9:35 AM

    Comment #4

    And leave Spiderman oot? Are yee mad?

  • ElfyToon

    Nov 6, 2008 at 9:35 AM

    Comment #5

    will be interesting to see what team jk decides to field. personally id keep the same team and bring on owen in the second half if ameobi or martins runs out of energy.

  • Irish John

    Nov 6, 2008 at 9:37 AM

    Comment #6

    Don’t think so Ed…I would’nt drop Guuterriez and Duff just to accomadate one player..Owen is going to have to wait for he’s chance .. Same again for me, no changes from the villa game..Martins and amazingly Ameboi deserve to be on the starting 11 for the next game aswell as Duff and Gutteriez..
    That’;s what competition for places is all about..End up[ being very good for the team because players HAVE TO perform on a weekly basis..

  • Ausgeordie

    Nov 6, 2008 at 9:39 AM

    Comment #7

    I think Joe likes the big man up front and I can see Ameobi keeping his place though I would love to see martins and owen together. They never got much of a run together in the past.

    If we have a 3 man midfield it has to be Jonas Barton and Duff. On form and on attacking nuance they are the ones. I would have no problem with Joe then taking off Owen or Ameobi and putting Butt or Capaca on to more defensive duties but we have to be a goal or two up at this stage. Its good to see martins has been told to see what he can do with the ball around the box as he has stopped doing this in the past.

  • ToonRich

    Nov 6, 2008 at 9:44 AM

    Comment #8

    This would be a tough decision to make. How can you go messing with the formation now we’ve started to play better.
    Who would you play as the middle 3?
    For me Joey and Jonas have to be in there, but I dont know who else we’d play…duffer, zog, guthrie to name but a few JK could select!???

    Good choices to have, but I’d stick with 4-4-2 for now…

  • Guinea Mag

    Nov 6, 2008 at 9:52 AM

    Comment #9

    Can’t see JFK changing a winning team although Owen will likely play 30+ mins on Sunday….

    The team is looking stronger all round and with 3~4 additional players in January transfer window, we should continue our rise up the PL.

  • 4rm the pearl of Africa

    Nov 6, 2008 at 9:54 AM

    Comment #10

    JK,pliz dont try to fix what aint broken.Owen can have 20 minutes on Sunday(when we are 3-0 up).Is it just me or is Jose Enrique starting to look like the 6mill player he is?

  • Mart

    Nov 6, 2008 at 9:58 AM

    Comment #11

    Definitely keep the same team, why change it when we’re winning? Certainly don’t take Shola out as without his performance against Villa, we’d have had no physical presence up front.

    Owen is world class but at the end of the day, if someone comes in with a bid and a big contract in January, he’s gonna be out the door. Something that cannot be said for Martins and Big Sho.

  • Who is Derek Llambias?

    Nov 6, 2008 at 9:59 AM

    Comment #12

    At this point in time I think Ameobi offers us more for 90min than Owen…..
    christ!!! never in a month of sundays did I think I’d ever type that

  • Tom

    Nov 6, 2008 at 9:59 AM

    Comment #13

    4-3-3 to put owen in the team at the cost of either Duff or Jonas? madness, let Owen sit on the bench till the other strikers have bad games or get injured then put him back in. Use him as a super sub in the mean time.

  • Toon Chicken

    Nov 6, 2008 at 10:03 AM

    Comment #14

    I’d drop either Oba or Ameobi in a shot. Oba may try hard but his positional sense and the timing and direction of his runs off the ball are woeful. Ameobi is Ameobi – he has done ok of late but no way on earth should he be keeping one of the best goalscorers in world football out of the team.

    Saying that I think and expect JK to stick with the same team on Sunday – give Shola another 45 mins and unless he does anything exceptional get Mickey O on in the second half and give him and Oba the chance to work out an understanding and develop what has the potential to be a potent partnership.

  • ToonKing

    Nov 6, 2008 at 10:04 AM

    Comment #15

    I love Owen, but the only place right now for him in the team would be to replace Oba and Martins doesn’t deserve being dropped.

    I say leave the team unchanged for Fulham, then bring on Owen for Oba on the 60′ mark and then we take it from there.

  • Irish John

    Nov 6, 2008 at 10:12 AM

    Comment #16

    I think there’s no question owen is going to be a starter from the start at some stage but at the moment he’s only place is the bench..Why upset Growing confidence and moral for one player ( even if it is owen) .Owen will get he’s chance and no doubt he will take it but he has to be patient for a couple off games at least

  • charlie

    Nov 6, 2008 at 10:27 AM

    Comment #17

    i agree with many of the posts on here, the team looked very balanced with barton butt jonas and duff in the middle. We look like an attacking threat which has lacked when we had two holding midfielders in the shape of guthrie and butt playing. This in turn has kept the pressure off our defence and helped them out no end. I think we should keep the team as it is. Owen has played well this season when he has played but the team as a whole have looked good the 2 weeks with him not there. Also on a slightly sour note if he is not signing a new contract and the team is playing well without him why should we bend over backwards to accomodate him only for him to leave in jaunary or the summer ???

  • JP from The Rock

    Nov 6, 2008 at 10:28 AM

    Comment #18


    The team is doing marvelously well right now we don’t need to chop and change when everything is working fine. Owen will have to be patient and sit on the bench for a while. Not until Martins or Owen stop impressing then give Owen a run-out.
    I can’t help but notice how amazing Ameobi is of late. I was desperate for us to get rid of him this year and the last but now I don’t want him to leave. Come to think about it he is a better choice than Sick Note Viduka or Slow-mo Carroll. KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK AMEOBI u look like a 8M plus striker at the moment. (10 times better than Alan Smith..remember him!?)

  • Spyro

    Nov 6, 2008 at 10:35 AM

    Comment #19

    Ed, it is this type of attitude that really makes me want Owen gone. The man does not deserve an automatic place. He should wait like anyone else, if he is not happy with that he can do one.

  • Viper

    Nov 6, 2008 at 10:35 AM

    Comment #20

    Aye, we all know about MO, but at the same time don’t try and fix what is not broken…?

    KK’s 4-3-3 was a winner no doubt, as proven, yet we’ve also witnessed what chopping and changing can do; does do.

    JFK’ll make choice anyway.

    We need 3 points due to bloody volatile nature of bottom half of table. On the Toon!!!!

  • goochy23

    Nov 6, 2008 at 10:40 AM

    Comment #21

    gud sensible posts on ere lads, agree with most you.
    oh and colo is the best defender for newcastle eva FACT!

  • toonarmy08

    Nov 6, 2008 at 10:40 AM

    Comment #22

    Toon chicken -drop oba ,after hes scored 3 in 2 ,i dont think so .I never thought id hear myself say this but at the moment i would leave oba and shola in there ,and assess it at half time .if we are behind or need an injection up front ,then bring on owen .he shouldnt expect to walk straight into the team ,esp with oba and strolla playing well together.

  • Tom_Toon

    Nov 6, 2008 at 10:40 AM

    Comment #23

    JK will not change the formation, he will not start Owen and he will NEVER play 4-3-3.

  • Mart

    Nov 6, 2008 at 10:52 AM

    Comment #24

    I don’t think that KK’s 4-3-3 was a formation that he actually wanted to play, it was done out of necessity. Nothing was working, we had all these talented strikers and it was out of desperation that KK went with it.

    It proved a tactical masterstroke, but anyone who thinks that Keegan wouldn’t have preferred to have the players to put out an attacking, wide 4-4-2 is retarded.

    Maybe go back to 4-3-3 if Duff and Jonas get injured or something, but otherwise, stick with 4-4-2.

    Plus, we played shite the last few games of last season with the 4-3-3.

  • AndyT

    Nov 6, 2008 at 10:54 AM

    Comment #25

    Well two weeks ago who would have thought that the biggest issue JFK would be facing in team slection is wether to keep an in form Ameobi in a winning team ahead of a recovering Michael Owen! Personally I hope he keeps the same team, with maybe Guthrie and Owen coming on for the last 30 mins. Owen to get more match fitness and Guthrie to prevent Butt giving away anything stupid when he’s knackered.

    I have to admit I would be pretty daunted picking the team for Wigan, if he did that and we won 3-0 with a goal each from Ameobi, Martins and Owen. Especially with the Owen contract stuff still hanging around.

  • ToonKing

    Nov 6, 2008 at 10:58 AM

    Comment #26

    Come on JP from The Rock, Ameobi was decent in recent games, yes……….but “amazing”…. 🙂

  • clinta

    Nov 6, 2008 at 11:46 AM

    Comment #27

    442 for me at the moment, leaving jonas and duff/zog out of the side is something i just couldn’t do at the moment.

    true were best with a big and little guy up front, i’d start oba and replace him with owen second half if oba’s not proving a handful. if he is maybe just throw him on for 30 mins in place of shola and see what happens…????

    lookig forward to the fulham game joey to score again i’m thinking,

    hopefully he won’t leave it to the 92nd minute though?

  • tino97

    Nov 6, 2008 at 11:52 AM

    Comment #28

    I would keep it the same as the Villa game. Martins and Shola up front. They are doing quite well. Why would we start Owen. I doubt he is match fit, it would be a big risk starting him. Not to mention a kick in the teeth to Shola or Oba. I think Joe likes a big powerful striker to play, in that case Owen would have to replace Oba. Oba had a good game on Monday and scored 2 goals. He deserves his place. Owen will have to play his way into the starting 11.

  • scott9

    Nov 6, 2008 at 12:04 PM

    Comment #29

    why play 4 3 3 when duff and jonas are playing so well however i wud like to see owen and oba up top but i cnt see it happening cause kinear likes to play with a big man .

  • rooks

    Nov 6, 2008 at 12:19 PM

    Comment #30

    play oba up front with owen just behind. if we stop punting the ball up & instead do it through passing to feet & moving we don’t need a big man.

  • lialua777

    Nov 6, 2008 at 12:29 PM

    Comment #31

    can’t change formation atm.
    keep 4-4-2
    play the same 11 like we outplayed villa ;).
    bring on owen for butt if we are behind 30 mins left
    bring on owen for the striker who played better if we are 2-0 at least in front. 20 mins left

    up the league we go.

    i see us 8 th after fulham and wigan with atleast 4 points.

  • Punk Skunk

    Nov 6, 2008 at 12:36 PM

    Comment #32

    Did JK actually say he wanted to play 433 or is it just a servin’ suggestion?..
    …Don’t fix what ain’t bust, i guess!..

    …Defo can’t drop Duff, he’s just startin’ to show some good form…
    …Nice problem to have Owen bustin’ to get on the pitch, me thinks!..
    …Stick with a winnin’ team & allow some proper competition for places…
    …I actually prefer 433 but in this case, with such a tight league…Stick, for now!..

    …& yea, pearl of africa, i agree about Enrique!..

  • redeye

    Nov 6, 2008 at 1:23 PM

    Comment #33

    Little Michael will just have to wait for his chance, Oba’s found his scoring boots so can’t be dropped and Shola seems to be complimenting him quite well at the moment.

  • Nick 69

    Nov 6, 2008 at 1:39 PM

    Comment #34

    ed-ur suggesting dropping jonas and duff, who are at the minuter probly our most in form players, we wudnt have won the match on monday if those two werent on the pitch, owen can wait his turn on the bench until one of our forwards deserves to be dropped, he has no divine right to play and thats that

  • Whumpie

    Nov 6, 2008 at 1:47 PM

    Comment #35

    I think only JFK can make the decision on whether and how to get MO in there, and it’ll be based on how they perform in training.

    It’s a nice – and almost surreal – problem to have. I agree with AndyT and others who’ve suggested that Guthrie and Owen are there to replace tired legs. I’d add Zog to that list too.

    But only JFK has the info to base the decisio on. Let’s not forget that Owen has scored something like 12 goals in 16 starts, which puts even the resurgent Martins/Shola combo in the shade. ..


    Nov 6, 2008 at 2:01 PM

    Comment #36

    Michael Owen as a sub plus Zog and Guthrie also on the bench. All these three can’t make the first team because the people ahead of them are playing too well and can’t be dropped. How cool is that? Also, after all I’ve said about the garden shed that is Ameobi I’m amazed at the way he has played in the last couple of matches. Have aliens come along and replaced him with a footballer? What gives?

  • Paul141726

    Nov 6, 2008 at 3:23 PM

    Comment #37

    4-4-3 could work in certain situations, but don’t put it in just for something “different”. There must be a plan behind it, in my opinion, putting pressure on the opposition center backs, with much of our attacking down the middle. I woundn’t mind this , but it takes away our width, which, with Jose and Duff more or less on form goes away from our strength. I would like instead to see N’zogbia (forgotten at the moment) play inside, still keeping our 4-4-2 formation, but with a more attacking flair than with Barton and Butt in center midfield.

  • Whumpie

    Nov 6, 2008 at 3:38 PM

    Comment #38

    I’d also be wary of exposing the defence by removing the defensive midfield (i.e. Butt). I think once reason our back 4 remained so composed on Monday was that they had that barrier in front of them to break things up before they needed to get involved.

    This is also why Beye and (bless ‘im) Enrique were able to get forward so much. Even Taylor did a pitch-length dash which so nearly got a goal. You don’t get to do that with a 4-3-3 unless you’re supremely confident of getting back to defend the breaks. Which we’re not, to be honest.

  • Whumpie

    Nov 6, 2008 at 3:40 PM

    Comment #39

    GNNNGHHNN… this is tricky. Can’t get my head around not finding out what Owen, Shola and Martins could do to a defence if you could work it out. Soooo tempting…

  • reillers

    Nov 6, 2008 at 3:50 PM

    Comment #40

    I’ll be more then a wee bit annoyed if Owen just strolls back into the team with everyone else playing so well. There’s only one position I think he should get for the time being and that’s a position on the bench. Anything else will be purely from reputation then merrit.


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