Captain – We Only Had A Few Days To Practice New Formation

Captain Jamaal Lascelles is a trusted player of Rafa’s and that’s just one reason he made the 23 year-old the Newcastle caption although he is still young and fairly inexperienced.

Jamaal has talked about the training last week when Rafa introduced the new 3-5-2 formation he wanted to play against Birmingham last Saturday.

We suppose it’s another formation the team can switch to during a game if necessary, but Jamaal says they only had a few days to work on  it.

Jamaal Lascelles – Newcastle captain

In fact everything worked out well for the first 30 minutes, but then we went off the boil again and lost control of the game.

This is what Jamaal has said as reported in the Chronicle today:

“We set out in a different formation that we’re not used to.” 

“We’re going to trust whatever formation Benitez  tells us to play. We only had a few days to work on it.”

“We’ll have more time this week to work on our strengths and weaknesses.”

“We had a lot of players that hadn’t played in a while and I think they’ve come in and done a great job. They got a lot of fitness from the game.”

“We’re looking forward to playing them at our place.” “We did start off really well. We knew it would be really tough.”

“They’re physical and big on second balls. We know how to play against them.”

We have a great chance now to reach the 5th round of the FA Cup if we can beat Birmingham at home a week tomorrow.

We were drawn against Oxford United away on January 28th in the 4th round and although it will not be easy, it’s a game we can win if we play near our best form.

What do you think?

Comments welcome.

24 comments so far

  • RonVanDam

    Jan 10, 2017 at 8:53 AM

    Comment #1

    In regards to the FA cup, why not have the top 3 teams from qualify for CL and the 4th spot to the FA cup winner. That way we’ll see more competitive games

  • mindshaft

    Jan 10, 2017 at 9:00 AM

    Comment #2

    We have a good chance of progressing to 5th round … hopefully
    On a personal note: I once as a young in had a paper cut , hurt like hell but I still managed to turn out for the kick about in the schoolyard … I know, I’m a trooper and hard as nails

  • Tsunki

    Jan 10, 2017 at 9:04 AM

    Comment #3

    Only problem is of course we are at home. We don’t have the away advantage any more… 😐

  • Tsunki

    Jan 10, 2017 at 9:05 AM

    Comment #4

    Mindshaft – there are very few with the right stuff like you. 🙂

  • kimbo

    Jan 10, 2017 at 9:32 AM

    Comment #5

    Very interesting that plan”b” has only be practised in training for a couple of days. My recent comments which were laughed at about Rafa not being as good as he is made out to be has just been backed up by his captain, Rafa has not had a plan “b” and it has been totally obvious.

  • Steak and Kidney Pie

    Jan 10, 2017 at 9:41 AM

    Comment #6

    I think he was a bit surprised that plan A was so pedestrian without Shelvey. Ironic really, Shelvey now elevated to indispensable straight off the back of being a bit of a toe rag.

  • Mag52

    Jan 10, 2017 at 10:06 AM

    Comment #7


    Have to agree that the revelation of a plan B, with just a few days to practise it, coming half way through the season, is a bit of a surprise.
    Still, better late than never, and a longish cup run, with the opportunity to give more time to plan B on the pitch, can only help us in our promotion push.

  • martoon

    Jan 10, 2017 at 10:23 AM

    Comment #8

    I really don’t get the Rafa bashing. We normally play 4231 and sometimes switch to 442 or even 433 especially when chasing a game which I’m sure we practice a lot. However because of the players he wanted to use last Saturday Rafa decided 352 would be the best fit – this is not something we normally play and therefore needed a few days practice – what is the problem with that?

  • G

    Jan 10, 2017 at 10:28 AM

    Comment #9

    Benitez’s policy has generally been in the past to make other teams react to his teams, rather than the other way round. The policy has worked out pretty well for him in the past, indeed Bobby Robson employed a similar philosophy to much success. I’m not really too surprised at this revelation if I’m honest.

  • posada

    Jan 10, 2017 at 10:30 AM

    Comment #10

    Load of nonsense talked about us playing 4/2/3/1.
    We don’t.
    To make that system work you need fullbacks who can attack any space high up in the wide areas. Attacking full backs with pace. We don’t have that.
    The two centre mids play deep and one has got to be prepared to fill in if the fullbacks get caught up the field.
    Spurs do it.
    All these systems are variations of 4/4/2 by the way.

  • martoon

    Jan 10, 2017 at 10:49 AM

    Comment #11

    posada @1 – I really don’t see how it is nonsense, 4231 is the system we play. We may not exploit it to it’s full potential because of the fullbacks but it is not nonsense!

  • martoon

    Jan 10, 2017 at 10:49 AM

    Comment #12

    * @10

  • AncientC

    Jan 10, 2017 at 11:02 AM

    Comment #13

    “I think he (Benitez) was a bit surprised that plan A was so pedestrian without Shelvey.”

    I wonder if he was surprised that plan ‘B’ was even more pedestrian, with the side conceding possession and efforts on goal.

  • AncientC

    Jan 10, 2017 at 11:07 AM

    Comment #14

    Birmingham v Newcastle



    Shots on Target



    Plan B is going to take some work. Work that will detract from plan A.

  • posada

    Jan 10, 2017 at 11:12 AM

    Comment #15

    We play 4 defenders.
    4 midfielders.
    1 forward.
    and 1 deeper lying forward in Diame.
    It’s just a slight change to 4/4/2 mate.
    As I say all are variations of 4/4/2.
    Nonsense. Well perhaps too strong a word, but some of this hype with our manager annoys me. Rafa invented 4/2/3/1 and that’s how he plays bla bla. Folk hear it and just repeat it I think.
    Look at how Spurs play. World of difference to us.

  • Steak and Kidney Pie

    Jan 10, 2017 at 11:14 AM

    Comment #16

    Yeah, I think Rafa wants to stick with his 4331 even without Shelvey because it’s hard to change formation effectively. He really just needed to play Mitro up top, and Gayle as the withdrawn striker to do it, and had the defence and mid play a little further up the pitch as far as I can tell, but oddly didn’t. I guess because of Gayle’s goalscoring form.

  • Steak and Kidney Pie

    Jan 10, 2017 at 11:14 AM

    Comment #17


  • YoungMagpieFromBurnley

    Jan 10, 2017 at 11:36 AM

    Comment #18

    Who was the third Cb in the team if we were playing 3-5-2?

  • YoungMagpieFromBurnley

    Jan 10, 2017 at 11:40 AM

    Comment #19

    Haidara right?

  • Steak and Kidney Pie

    Jan 10, 2017 at 11:44 AM

    Comment #20

    I think it started out 442, then back to 4231 once Mitro went off. I think they were gonna play 352 but coal boxed it when Perez got ruled out.

  • Lindisfarne

    Jan 10, 2017 at 11:51 AM

    Comment #21

    Imo – generally in defense we play 4411 and in attack 4231, it is not nonsense as Rafa has openly explained his philosophy of playing a balanced formation.

  • Lindisfarne

    Jan 10, 2017 at 11:55 AM

    Comment #22

    Against Birmingham we started with 532 (or 352). Haidara was initially one of the three CD with Yedlin and Lazaar as wing backs. After Mitro went off and things started going wrong, they reverted to a 442 (or4411) with Gouffran as the withdrawn striker, Anita RW and Lazaar LW.

  • Belfast

    Jan 10, 2017 at 11:56 AM

    Comment #23

    Good idea Ron Van dam although the top six clubs won’t agree. It was the champions league that killed the fa cup along with the ridiculous tv money in the premier league. Most premier league clubs nowadays are either obsessed with finishing in the top 4 or shit scared of getting relegated. So the fa cup and league cup have been discarded.

  • posada

    Jan 10, 2017 at 12:08 PM

    Comment #24

    When it comes to the killing off of the FA cup is it down to the premier league etc. Do the clubs not take it seriously.
    Well, do the supporters now take it seriously.
    The Mackems only had 18,000 for their tie against Burnley.

    We’ll have loads more than that though.

    Someone said the cup winners should go into the Champions League. Think it was suggested but the european body would not allow it.
    The Cup Winners Cup. Now that was a good one. The Europa League is so bad most teams don’t want to be in it.


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