Topical Top 5: Best Ever NUFC Formations

Over the past month of Black November, which has seen NUFC lose 4 out of 5 Premier League games, one topic of conversation stands out above any other. The formation. Every one has an opinion on it. The 4-4-2 Alan Pardew has insisted with pretty much throughout this season is despised (I would say) by most fans. So in the interest of doing something topical, as well as getting away from writing about how worse this season is getting, a topical top 5 is in order. 

So looking back over the past 20 years of Premier League football for Newcastle United here is my take on our Top 5 formations:

Topical Top 5: Best Ever NUFC Formations

5) 2008 Keegan's 4-3-1-2.- No NUFC historian will write eulogy's over Keegan's second time in charge. But when he went 4-3-1-2 in the spring of 2008 it was seen as a tactical master stroke. Playing Michael Owen in the hole was a fresh new idea that instantly worked. Its a shame Keegan never got the chance to build on this as he was soon gone. Highlight: Spanking Spurs away 4-1. Who could forget?

4) 2010 Hughton's 4-4-2 diamond - When we were promoted back to the Premier League under the guidance of rookie Chris Hughton, his tactical nous helped us have a cracking first season. His philosophy of Nolan at the tip of a midfield diamond in front of Tiote with Jonas and Barton lying deep either side was rightfully applauded. His sacking was a unwarranted but luckily his successor didn't rip this up and start again as Alan Pardew continued Hughton's good work. Highlight: Beating the mackems 5-1 then Arsenal 1-0 away in the space of a week. Nice work.

3) 2001-2004 Sir Bobby's 4-4-2 - It was simple. It was effective. We had wide players who constantly delivered quality into the box. We had Bellamy's pace playing off Shearer's old fashioned centre forward bullishness. We had Dyer's legs with Speeds nous in the middle. Premier League finishes of 4th, 3rd and 5th place were the rewards. Some of our best Premier League games were played out during this period with the Man Utd 4-3 win and two back to back epic away victories at Arsenal (3-1) and Leeds (4-3) to go top of the league at Christmas. An historic Champions League campaign also came our way with memories all Newcastle fans will never forget. To this day you will still never see a mackem in Milan. Highlight: One night in Rotterdam when we qualified from our Champions League group after losing the first 3 games. Historic.

2) 2012 Pardew's 4-3-3 - The infamous 4-3-3 which inflamed a 6 game winning streak as NUFC pushed for a Champions League spot is still spoken of today. It's what most of us want to see back at this football club. There is no reason to abandon this highly successful system given the fact the exact same players are still here to carry it out. It could/should be the future of our football club for many years to come. Sort it out Alan. Immediately. Highlight: Its debut destruction of West Brom still lives fresh in the memory.

1) 1993-1996 Keegan's 4-2-3-1 - People look back at the KK Entertainers era and think of all out attack. What they ignore is his tactical ability. Long before Wenger and Mourinho arrived on these shores, King Kev had a team that played with two out and out attacking wingers (Ginola/Gillespie or Sellars/Fox), a marauding midfielder from deep (Lee), with one centre forward (Cole or Ferdinand) and a player, sorry genius, in the hole (Beardsley). This system was way before its time in the English game and was highly successful. As soon as we got in the Premier League teams just couldn't handle us. This isn't just down to the attacking mentality but outclassing them tactically. Brilliant time to be a fan. Thanks for the memories KK. Highlight: No trophies but the fact Newcastle United even competed for the title, never mind consistently ripped the league to shreds, is some achievement.

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