Sunderland will play five across the middle against Newcastle on Sunday afternoon.
Cheick Tiote – important player for Newcastle on Sunday
And that’s what Wolves did last Sunday as they played in a 4-5-1 formation.
And while Cabaye and Tiote were okay in the first half, Wolves took control of the central midfield in the final 45 minutes and came back with two goals and they left St. James’ Park with a valuable point.
Alan Pardew seemed to take too long to notice the difference in the second half, when Wolves were a lot more lively, and he probably should have brought in Danny Guthrie earlier, after it was obvious Wolves were starting to take control in that second half.
Pardew must have a plan B to implement on Sunday, and if Sunderland start to dominate early in the game in midfield, he should move to his alternative formation, in case Cabaye and Tiote cannot cope.
Alan had this to say to the local press today about the way Sunderland play:
“It will be an interesting point of the game to see how well we cope with their five-man midfield.” “That’s what they’ll play. We need to cope better than we did against Wolves with our two strikers on the pitch.”
“We have done that in the past and we hope to do it again on Sunday.” “We just want to get four points from the two home games and, on the back of the run we’ve had at home, that is a success.”
“I want to win the game.” “We don’t want one point from this – that’s for sure.” “It is an important game in terms of our league position as well, and not just playing Sunderland.”
“It doesn’t matter what has gone on before – it is almost irrelevant really.” “What it will be about is the day itself and how we play.”
Newcastle have lost only once in the last 14 games between the two sides, but that means nothing, and Sunderland could even argue they are due a win, heaven forbid!
History doesn’t matter on Sunday, and the only thing that does matter is that Newcastle find some way of combating Sunderland packing their midfield, which we couldn’t do in the second half last Saturday against Wolves.
But that may even come as a blessing in disguise, as Newcastle will be very focused on winning the midfield on Sunday afternoon, and then the game.