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Shearer To Use Attacking 4-3-3 Formation Against Pompey

Alan Shearer knows, just like the rest if us, that if we can win the game against Portsmouth next Monday evening, that could be the first step in saving ourselves this season.


Mark Viduka – we need to see some of this on Monday night

And Alan also knows that to win games we have to be able to score some goals, which has been lacking over our last 8 games, when we’ve scored a paltry 4 goals.

So it seems that Alan will take a leaf out of Kevin Keegan’s book, and play a 4-3-3 formation now that Martins and Viduka are getting fitter.

He will no doubt be on the phone to Kevin Keegan this week to understand better how they played that formation, although of course Chris Hughton was here supporting Keegan last year and will know how the formation was supposed to operate.

But to play 4-3-3 you also need at least one good box to box midfield player, which is where Joey Barton comes in. Joey will not be match fit for next Monday but if we can win the Pompey game, he should be able to come back to support the 4-3- 3  formation in our remaining games. However, we are unlikely to play this formation however, when we go to Anfield, after the Pompey game.

Alan Shearer talked about our three front men:

“We are certainly a bigger threat with those on the pitch than without them so it’s something we can work on,”

“If we can keep them fit in the week and get a good week’s training, we face Portsmouth and it’s a game we need to win.”

“They’ll all be in contention to start. If all three strikers were available it’s an option, but we’ve got to get them all fit to start the game.”

Although our situation in the league is perilous, and not where we want to be, we can still save ourselves, and when that’s still the case, you have to be positive and believe the lads can really produce when it matters.

And that has to be the case even though they have failed to produce for many a day.  Anything but a win next Monday night however, will be met with significant doom and gloom on Tyneside.

We have to hope the lads will start producing next Monday night, in front of a packed-full St. James’ Park crowd of 52,000 screaming Geordie fans.

Comments welcome.

63 comments so far

  • stevep

    Apr 21, 2009 at 10:45 AM

    Comment #1

    hink we need to be a tad realistic here, we’ve been fighting relegation every season since 2005, at some point we were going to lose the battle and it looks like that time is now.

    Ashley hasn’t killed the club he’s just helped it on its way to a slow death which started under the hall / sheppard regime – it was there poor mgmt appointments that killed off any hope of regaining the KK / Robson glory years.

    I think we all had visions of Ashley being a saviour when he came in but he’s made bad decisions on top of bad decisions, in fairness it looks like he’s now trying to put some of these right but I feel it’s to little to late, you can’t expect shearer to make a silk purse out of a sows ear.
    I can’t see the current crop of players (with a few exceptions) getting us out of thi smess as they have neither the skill nor attitude to get us out of this mess.
    The real issue is wether we can survive in the championship when the few players of skill that we do have jump ship to pastures new

  • Stuart79

    Apr 21, 2009 at 11:00 AM

    Comment #2

    Whatever anybody says and I mean anyone, the only way we can get better is by buying better players.

    That is going to require a lot of money being spent and that ain’t going to happen.

    It’s a fact of life, and definitely football that the rich get better (and richer) and the bad get worse(and poorer)

    We need to spend serious cash to improve.

    Our spending under Ashley has been like the current government spending £100 to try and build a top of the range hospital. It just ain’t gonna work!

  • Nick D

    Apr 21, 2009 at 11:12 AM

    Comment #3

    SteveP – truer words never spoken.

    Shepherd was the guy who really screwed the club. Nobody in their right mind with a then top 5 club would replace SBR with Souness then Roeder and Allardyce. As for Ashley, he just chose the wrong plaything. He broke his toy and can not fix it.

    I think what is really sickening and sums up the trouble at NUFC is that Owen and Butt share helicopter rides in to training. It just sends the wrong message entirely. 2 has beens being totally pampered by the fans money. They should be living in the area, not acting like a pair of playboys. Trouble is they are Shearer’s pals.
    But it is endemic of all that is wrong at the club, not matte rhow hard A.S is trying to address certain issues.

  • stk85

    Apr 21, 2009 at 11:15 AM

    Comment #4

    sadly steve i agree. don’t worry tho, if this club goes down, we have plenty of hungry up and coming youngsters who are in good form, have tremendous attitude and are likely to play their socks off for nufc.

    of course i hope we survive, but i dont see one win in 17 being a good precursor to a dramatic escape. we have good players, everyone knows it, they’re just extremely pressured and low on confidence and certain individuals traits such as colo’s positional sense of a drunk horse, geremi’s old man legs, smiths headlessness, butts unbelievably piss poor passing, nolans waddle, ryan taylors ineptitude, it all adds up. martins, beye, staylor can’t save the club by themselves. even bassongs had his moments. good, yes, but why oh why was he playing two spurs players onside by 5 yards just prior to their goal?! little mistakes, pressure. painful to watch. not as painful as the lack of commitment!

    as for kinnears two signings taylor and nolan, that is proof the guy gave his all but ultimately is a joke. sorry mate, leave or take a scouting role with ur head held high, while you can!

    next year i think we will be ok with a squad built around:

    tavernier beye s.taylor enrique(?)
    rw(??) guthrie vuckic adjei
    carroll ranger

    no idea who i’d put on rw. tbh, lost interest.

    however, for left back, whatever the circumstances, i’d sign someone like joe mattock from leicester. why we haven’t been after a 2nd left back last couple of seasons really defeats, baffles and annoys me.

    more midfielders? nolan? aye mate, sound. complete ineptitude. from ALL parties. how dare they do this to MY club

  • PaceOba

    Apr 21, 2009 at 11:18 AM

    Comment #5

    Either we play good football or not, if we are still not score a sigle of goal we still can’t make it. Hopefully this formation working and going like it should be. Howay the lads!!

  • spiderpig

    Apr 21, 2009 at 11:26 AM

    Comment #6

    all you blokes who harp on about money being spent on getting better players make me laugh.explain everton to me.explain wigan,go on ,do it.you cant.you know nothing about football,tactics or management.

  • Whumpie

    Apr 21, 2009 at 11:26 AM

    Comment #7

    Wow. Fun crowd in today.

    Ok, here’s how to feel better: look at our remaining matches. Then look the run-ins that Hull and Blackburn have.

    We can stay up, and we may not even need three wins to do it. I think Hull and Blackburn could each end up with 2 points from their last 5 games.

  • Toon Graeme

    Apr 21, 2009 at 11:28 AM

    Comment #8

    Just out of interest did anyone catch the Championship match on Sky Sports last night.

    I watched a bit and it was terrible to watch!

    The thought of playing in that league makes me feel sick!

    I will put my everylast ounce of faith in the team and be counted in the crowd at the remainder of we home matches.

    Lets hope whatever Shearer and the lads are doing behind the scenes is enough.

  • boater

    Apr 21, 2009 at 11:30 AM

    Comment #9

    I hate to break up the flow of your ‘Ashley Killed the Toon’ masterworks. But formation for pompey lads?

    4-3-3 doesn’t so much need a box to box player…. as much as a solid passing foundation to break up play and get it into the feet of the strikers quickly….

    Ed… Geremi was also a key part of that 3 across the park last time around – so I hope KK reminds Shearer of that… in this supposed phone call..


  • boater

    Apr 21, 2009 at 11:34 AM

    Comment #10

    Stuart79… I have to agree with spiderpig you are talking some crap there…

    It’s only in very recent history (18months) we have failed to spend big in the transfer market – we have spent as much as anyone outside the top 4 over the past 10 years… and we are in a relegation position with 5 games left…

  • Whumpie

    Apr 21, 2009 at 11:35 AM

    Comment #11

    Why do people get upset about rich players behaving like rich players? If you think our lot are flash, check out what goes on in any of the top four!

    Owen and Butt take helicopters and live in their family homes because they can. It is not a symptom of what’s wrong; that’s just the endemic problem on this blog of blaming things on the best known and highest paid people.

    We are where we are because Ashley has failed to acknowledge that you cannot hope to run a successful premiership football club with no experience on the board of doing just that. It’s been a succession of stupid, rookie decisions that have sent us to where we are.

    BUT – if we can stay up, we’re looking better than we have for years.

    And if we do go down, as stk85 points out, we have an incredible wave of talent to pull us back up in a couple of years.

    BTW, stk85 – you missed off Donninger, Lua Lua and Godsmark. Awesome talent.

    Lastly, if we do go down, it will cause a much-needed cull of the pathetic element that has crept into the fan base in recent years. The boo-boys, the “I’ve got the right to complain, I’ve paid for the ticket” idiots who are as much to blame as any player. Good riddance; let’s bring back the real supporters to fill the seats.

  • Stuart79

    Apr 21, 2009 at 11:44 AM

    Comment #12

    boater // Apr 21, 2009 at 11:34 AM

    Stuart79… I have to agree with spiderpig you are talking some crap there…

    It’s only in very recent history (18months) we have failed to spend big in the transfer market – we have spent as much as anyone outside the top 4 over the past 10 years… and we are in a relegation position with 5 games left…

    Yes you are right it’s only been in the two season that Ashley has been here that we have been seriously threatened with relegation.

    I can’t ever remember being 2nd bottom of the PL with five games to go and four points adrift under Shepherd when we were spending money.

    Shepherds problem was the managers he choose.

    Don’t get me wrong he didn’t do the club any favours but we were never threatened with relegation under him.

    Like I said if you don’t spend any money you end up where we are.

    Can’t argue with the facts I’m afraid!

  • boater

    Apr 21, 2009 at 11:44 AM

    Comment #13

    Ahhh …. man the rubbish spouted on here. Owen and Butt getting helicopter rides is the root of our problems? That’s a petty grievance which morbidly emphasizes the wealth divide between us and them… it’s got nowt to do with Owen’s commitment or finding the back of the net on saturday afternoon.

    There is one problem at newcastle… the common denominator which underwrites every single one of our problems and bad decisions over the years… the fans run the club. There is no separation from the general heated and momentary consensus on the terraces – and the decisions made at boardroom level.

    NickD…. YOU got SBR the sack… you and me – all of us you absolute HIPPOCRYTE. The fans booed SBRobson’s side and failed to applaud a 5th place finish,

    ‘He’s lost the battle in the dressing room’ you remember??? So get a sgt. major in to deal with Belles, Dyer, JJ, Ambrose, etc… wait just sell them – that’ll teach those young talented kids who ermmm.. got us in to the Champs League twice running… whoops…

  • kizza

    Apr 21, 2009 at 11:45 AM

    Comment #14




  • Michael12

    Apr 21, 2009 at 11:52 AM

    Comment #15

    The headline gives a facade. I think in other words, a Melee.

    No tactics it is as clear as day.
    Out of step, out of depth.

  • boater

    Apr 21, 2009 at 11:53 AM

    Comment #16

    Stuart 79….

    I think everyone agrees we failed to bring in a couple of much needed players in the past 2 windows… creative mid and LB… but that just doesn’t account for a squad like ours being in the relegation mire. It’s too easy talking about a lack of quality- it’s a red herring.

    We are reaping the results of a long-line of problems… some Ashley some Fat Fred.

  • punk skunk...

    Apr 21, 2009 at 12:02 PM

    Comment #17

    I’m with spiderpig!..
    …Good point mate!..

    …Wakey, wakey!..

    …As for 433, we shoulda been playin’ that formation all freakin’ season…DER!..

  • Nick D

    Apr 21, 2009 at 12:04 PM

    Comment #18

    Whumpie it’s just easier to justify the trappings of success for successful people, ie the top 4 clubs.

    I know at NUFC we seem to have a culture of rewarding abject failure. I wouldn’t have any problem with helicopters etc, if it was genuinely earned. Our lot clearly don’t earn their wages, which is reflected in being second to bottom.

    Stoke are a horrible team to watch but their players are pobably on a quarter of what our lot are. Just what exactly does Owen do for his £110k (allegedly) a week and Butt for his £55K (allegedly) a week?

    Ambition is fine, but the rewards should be refected accordingly . 19th place, but probably the 4/5th highest paid squad. Oh for pay and performance related salaries.

  • spiderpig

    Apr 21, 2009 at 12:07 PM

    Comment #19

    still havnt had it explained why everton and wigan have had such good seasons spending no money yet our reason for being in the relegation zone is because we havnt spent money.all the players we have signed over the last ten years have been based on how good they have been at former clubs which is understandable.the problem is and defo with defenders is they need good coaching,systems to work to and then the quality comes out.our problem is we give them a few games and then we are on their backs.they get too frightened to make a mistake rather than look for a good pass or tackle.whether we stay up or go down the fans have to accept they are part of the downfall,the constant demanding of manager changes and booing of individuals most notably collocini who has played all year behind a midfield thats changed every week,and in a team on a whole who have played crap all year under 4 managers.if we go down the whole of nufc deserve it

  • Nick D

    Apr 21, 2009 at 12:10 PM

    Comment #20

    Boater take a moment my friend to read the article properly. I didn’t say it was the root of all evil, just that at the current time it smacks of elitism and doesn’t exactly send out a great message if you’re tryign to bond as a team.

    Speak for yourself, I loved SBR and was devastated when he was brought down by the mob. And it’s the mob who got us Kinnear instead of a proper manager.

  • Whumpie

    Apr 21, 2009 at 12:11 PM

    Comment #21

    boater – well said. The ‘fans’ are the only common denominator through 40 years of under-achievement. Loyalty is something many boast about but simply don’t have.

    And just because we’ve seen the final decline in the past 2 seasons doesn’t mean it wasn’t partly caused by Freddie. There’s a reason we’re not spending money now – and it’s because we were very nearly bankrupt when Ashley took over. Does anyone really think we’d have spent another £40M in the summer of 07 if the club hadn’t been sold?

    We’d have been in adminstration.

    I’ve no problem with Ashley’s spending (or lack of) – it’s everything else that he’s got horribly wrong.

    And for those of you ALREADY having a go at Shearer’s decisions – shut it. I’m fed up with the armchair brigade who somehow think that just based on telly highlights they know more than Shearer and Dowie know with personal contact with the players and seeing them train every day.

    If we fail to stay up, it won’t be through management problems over the last 8 games. We’ve asked Big Al to pull up a ‘plane that’s in a nose-dive with the ground coming up fast. If he does it, great – but for chrissakes let’s support him and the team in the process.

  • komfort

    Apr 21, 2009 at 12:16 PM

    Comment #22

    whumpie @7 my feelings exactly..i can’t see hull picking up points this weekend which will set us up nicely for monday night.
    if we beat pompey then the hunting down of hull & hopefully blackburn should be well within our capability.

  • Toon Graeme

    Apr 21, 2009 at 12:21 PM

    Comment #23

    Found this when surfing on the sun website


    Which fans are calling for MO to be dropped?

    5th place not good enough so SBR was booeed by the crowd – your having a laugh. Thats before my time at SJP and I think that is ridiculous.

    How the mighty have fallen eh?

    The facts speak for themselves regarding our on pitch performance so far this season – we cant change that – just like we cant do anything about the activities upstairs on Barrack road.

    Frustrating doesnt come close to describe this season to date.

    All we can do is turn up – tune in and support our team and hope we can help our team by getting behind them.

    If you gonna boo – divnt go and stay in the goose and watch it on the tele.

    We need to back our lads and raise the roof!

    Will it make a difference – I hope so.


  • punk skunk...

    Apr 21, 2009 at 12:24 PM

    Comment #24

    Agree again spiderpig!..

    …Sick of the constant whinin’ about players, as soon as they make one mistake…They’re shit & should be sold…They earn too much, have no loyalty, aren’t playin’ for the badge etc, etc, etc.
    …No wonder the worlds in a mess, everyone’s a stress monkey with nee balls!..

  • Stuart79

    Apr 21, 2009 at 12:26 PM

    Comment #25

    spiderpig // Apr 21, 2009 at 12:07 PM

    I think you’ll find that Ashley sacked Alladyce for being pig headed, what fckin reason!!!!

    He brought back KK and didn’t back him in the transfer market and then backed Wise ahead of him only to sack Wise 6 months later!

    He’s onto his 4th manager in 2 seasons! Not including caretakers!

    Regarding Everton, they paid 15m on one player this summer, that’s what I call spending serious money.

    It’s no coincendence that Villa spend alot of money and find themselves fifth and nearly got to fourth.

    Wigan- Well there’s always a exception to every rule and this may just be a one off season for them.

    But they do have a good manager too!

    In conclusion Ashley is going through managers like FFS but he’s also not spending a penny either. Talk about speeding th whole capitulation up!

  • punk skunk...

    Apr 21, 2009 at 12:34 PM

    Comment #26

    Ashley sacked fat sam ‘cos a) he didn’t hire him,
    b) he was dumped on us by FFS, ta for that,
    & most importantly c) he was crap…
    …How much have neverton spent in the last 5 years to get to this point?..Comparitively little!..

  • punk skunk...

    Apr 21, 2009 at 12:37 PM

    Comment #27

    & he’d lost the crowd, if he ever had it!..

    …Fulham are also doin’ ok after spendin’ wisely for a few years…decent money this year!..

  • Stuart79

    Apr 21, 2009 at 12:39 PM

    Comment #28

    You could say the same about Bolton under Alladyce.

    He should have been given more time! No doubt!

    He is a proven successful manager on a budget and there’s no more club on a budget than us this year!

    In the last few years every club has increased their spending since the TV money got bigger.

    Well everyone apart from us!

  • Mikeflame

    Apr 21, 2009 at 12:39 PM

    Comment #29

    I think were lucky that our fate is in our hands playing the lower teams 3 times in our last 5 games! Looking at teams around us they have horrendous runins and I can’t see them taking many points! Villa are sliding fast too so maybe we can get 3 wins and a draw which would take us to the magic 40! Won’t need anywhere near 40 I bet but we’ll see! Can’t see scousers slipping up its the only thing they have to concentrate on now!

    Owen needs to play even though I can’t stand the money grabbin bugger! In a 4-3-3 he is not the main threat which gives him the chance to get in those positions where he can tap-in unmarked etc! In a 2 man attack he is nowhere near as effective as he used to be due to massive lack of speed and strength. Sub him off on 60mins and give Ranger last 30! Larduka has more experience than Carroll and has a superb touch, gave Martins plenty of chances last game and they seem to work very well together!

    The midfield 3 needs Jonas in there to give that running energy as he is really our only player who can run excellently with the ball, Smith and Barton would be my ideal other 2 with Smith on a DM role! Both Barton and Smith can pass but they need to be told to keep it easy and don’t give the ball away like we always seem to in midfield!


    With possibly Carroll on for Fatboy and Ranger for Owen and Duff on for one of the midfield 3!

    Were due a really cracking win where we dominate and I think that can come against Pompey….3/4 – 1 I say! Can’t see teams not scoring against us with that formation but at same time we have a hell of a lot of scoring potential! Were staying up but this season has gotta be a big dickslap across MAs face and summer we need a major overhaul with somebody like Shearer at the helm with the freedom to do what he wants!

  • punk skunk...

    Apr 21, 2009 at 12:43 PM

    Comment #30

    Money isn’t everything…
    …I thought that was the point?..

    …The more you rely on ‘just’ money, the more prolems you’ll have in the long run…
    …Supporters just start expectin’ more & more spent…Look at us lot…
    …Some actually believe that you get what you pay for…But that’s bollox, some players cost nowt but kick ass, others cost a fortune &…Well, fill in the blank…

  • Stuart79

    Apr 21, 2009 at 12:45 PM

    Comment #31

    I can’t be arsed with this argument

    The top five in the league are the biggest spenders in the league

    Simple as that!

  • sahota

    Apr 21, 2009 at 12:46 PM

    Comment #32

    I just hope whatever formation Shearer selects for Pompy match, we need to score 2 goals in first half. If its 0-0 in first half, things will become nervous towards end. Get us some goals lads. I can not just imagine us going down. Its terrible feeling. I can just pray it doesn’t happen.

  • punk skunk...

    Apr 21, 2009 at 12:51 PM

    Comment #33

    But stuart,
    ya’ missin’ the point mate…
    …& didn’t spuds spend zillions?..

    …It’s all about tactics, stability etc…

    …& when did you last see bad decisions goin’ against manure, chavs, iverpoo & villa?..

  • Toon Graeme

    Apr 21, 2009 at 12:52 PM

    Comment #34

    I will bet that MO and Butt will start on Monday.

    Lee Ryders Blog on the chronicle website hit a few nails on the head today. Have a read if you can be arsed.

  • punk skunk...

    Apr 21, 2009 at 12:55 PM

    Comment #35

    I don’t wanna argue with ya’ man, i’m just as frustrated as anyone here!..
    …We’ve had the most upheaval since f88k knows when, & it’s that that’s done for us!..

  • Toon Graeme

    Apr 21, 2009 at 12:55 PM

    Comment #36

    On another note – footie on the tele tonight.

    Liverpool or Arsenal. I would like the pool to win.

    Whats this got to do with NUFC – nowt and the point – non!

  • punk skunk...

    Apr 21, 2009 at 12:57 PM

    Comment #37

    Nice one Graeme…Lol!..
    …In the past i woulda said liverpool, but the way they get the pundits crawlin’ up their arse makes me want arsenal!..

  • Toon Graeme

    Apr 21, 2009 at 12:59 PM

    Comment #38

    Aye punk – the pundits are easily perswaded by success and change their opinion as quick as the wind on the tyne!

    As long as Chelsea win F’all this season (domestic and other) I will be happy.

  • Johno Toon

    Apr 21, 2009 at 1:01 PM

    Comment #39

    I think we will still stay up , only problem is we have no room for movement , we need to pick 9 points from those 3 homes games if we dont we will go down imo.

    I think with the money issue you have to strike a balance you cant spend what you dont have , and i think becasue we owe so much on transfers we have no money to spend now , but ashley should of done due dilligence

  • punk skunk...

    Apr 21, 2009 at 1:02 PM

    Comment #40

    arm off for a kick aboot down the park with my 2 year daughter, she’s all right footed like, gonna teach her to use her left a bit…Can’t wait for her to grow up to be the first Geordie legend no. 9 female, in about 14 years!..
    …Hey, it could happen!..Lol!..


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