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comment by Sima Yi (U8966)

posted on 13/6/21

Newcastle 4-3-3 / 2-3-5


Subs: Koke, Tomori, Fabian, Eriksen, Olmo, Coman, Raul

Today I’d like to take complete control of midfield, holding possession and stretch their back line while outnumbering every area of the middle third and final third of the pitch. Our full backs will play as inverted fullbacks assuming the role as box to box and pivoting midfielders, thereby pushing our midfielders further forwards creating a 5 man attack.


By doing so I will always have an extra man in midfield, including wide passing options, creating overloads. It will also help us stretch the field wider as I would expect opposition players to drift in-field to try and mitigate the presence of the extra bodies in midfield leaving wide areas for our wide players to exploit. As such the wide players will be given instruction so hug the touchline when waiting to receive the ball, then they can cut in and play their natural game but providing pass options initially is a must.

I fully expect us to create difficulty for the opposition in assessing exactly how and where to cover space and how to effectively pressure the ball. Create pass options to drag players out of position when they struggle to cope with the extra man in midfield exploiting gaps between the lines.

Our attacks will be taking a very vertical approach which allows the attacking midfielders to receive the ball in space allowing us to hurt them. Our version of a vertical approach is passing the ball up and down the field, with players inviting pressure as they receive and release the ball thereby creating a gap for another player to move into to receive a recycled pass. Eventually a path to goal will appear and it’ll be up to the players to exploit that playing their natural games. The whole point of this system is about opening greater space in between the lines for the attacking midfielders to receive. The attacking midfielders will also be expected to break the lines and make runs beyond the striker to find space higher up the pitch creating goal-scoring opportunities. The fullbacks therefore have many options to pass to, the 9, the 10s, and out wide depending on the natural movements of the players.

Defensive stability is very important to the way we want to play. One of the rules ultimately in football is you cannot score if you don’t have the ball, so we aim to keep the ball as much as possible with the ongoing ball recycling process of trying to drag players out of position finding space to exploit. When the opposition do gain possession they immediately face a block of five in the middle and our third of the pitch, quickly changing back to a standard 4-5-1 in two flat lines (plus the striker up top). Doing so will allow us to effectively defend our wide areas stopping any crosses coming in while congesting the middle enough for minimal gaps to appear between the lines. We press less to minimise the risk of gaps appearing but instead rely on cutting passing lanes and options. Once possession is regained, we immediately progress up the pitch and revert back to 2-3-5. The central defensive triangle of both CBs and the DM are good in the air capable of winning plenty of duels in the air as well as on the ground, in addition of course to their exceptional passing ability. It is important to have players that occupy those three positions that have on-the-ball intelligence, astute awareness of how to cover space in transition, and an aerial presence.


65 mins - Koke on Gundogan off. Fresh legs.

70 mins losing/drawing - Eriksen on Llorente off. Better finisher in the box from midfield.

75 mins losing/drawing - Raul on Andre off. Better presence up top.

75 mins winning - Fabian on Llorente off. Fresh legs while not losing creative quality.

posted on 13/6/21

All action 4-3-3

We play a 4-3-3 to dominate possession, best form of defence is attack and them not having the ball. We know they’ve dangerous front men, but their work shy and so we look to play attacking, with a high line, and press high up the park. Exploit the space behind their front 3 with our pace and high energy to get at their defence, we have some of the best defenders out to deal with their threat. Limit their chances on the ball and when they do get on the ball they’ll more often be far from goal and have it all to do.

We have a great mix of physicality and technical ability in midfield, but more importantly we’ve got ball playing defenders which is critical for a possession game, that and pace up top to stretch the opposition. The wingers stay high and wide in the first two thirds of the park.

Tino likes to mix it up, so we focus on our own all action possession game, an all signing all dancing energy approach fit for a final to entertain. Frustrate Portsmouth by keeping the ball, we know Tino will love an excuse to shout at Busquets and Neymar who are sure to play.

As you’d expect possession always starts with the defence and we will be patient in the first two thirds of the park, this means we will move the ball quickly and at pace but will not force the play, let them chase us tiring them physically and mentally. Fernandes is the exception as we give him freedom to play more direct balls from deeper areas.

In the final third we give all players freedom to use their quality to create and produce magic to open up the opposition. One fb gets forward at a time.

Up top we go with a front 3 full of pace, the wingers stay high and wide in possession, stretching Pompey’s defence and setting the side up perfectly for the possession play.

In defence Rodri drops behind the other two cms who press the play as the trio narrow, similarly in attack Rodri stays deepest but the trio do not play so narrow. We have a defence full of pace and great energy in front so play a reasonably high line, helping us press in high areas, and aiding distribution out from the back line.

Laporte the man marker as he is the stronger physically and can dominate in the air next to Marquinhos who is free to use his reading of the game and pace to sweep up. In midfield, the trio narrow in front with the cm opposite play dropping behind, allowing the other two to press with cover. Closing down the space, narrowing to the side of play. Win the ball back from Pompey quickly before they can get anywhere.

Quick passing and moving to find space in between the opposition lines. Using the pace of our wingers and fbs (one forward at a time) to create space in attack.

We have a fluid front three, who can switch positions or drop deep to collect the ball from midfield. This fluidity will help the players to get away from their markers, catch the opposition out and create space.

As we move forward we get quick one twos in the opposition half. Mount supports creating and linking the play, Fernandes gets in and around the box looking for the final ball or shooting.

Positional structure and technical ability will be key to our quick passing possession gameplan going forward. Our approach in build up is to play a flexible asymmetric shape, giving bodies on different lines to increase the options we have in possession, and to create gaps in the opposition, and space for our players.

————————————— Allison ———————————
Carvajal — Marquinhos —— Laporte —— Alaba
————————————— Rodri ————————————
—————— B.Fernandes —— M.Mount —————
Sterling —————— L.Martinez ————— Gnabry

Subs. Henderson, Theo, R.James, Thiago, Felix, Bale, Osimhen

Defending high

When we lose possession the closest player presses the ball, the second closest presses the obvious passing channel. As they’re doing this everyone gets into a narrow rigid formation behind the ball in position to press high up the park. Stop them breaking and press them high up the park.

In a narrow, rigid formation, we will look to press the space, not allowing them options. Keep them from advancing to positions and where they can’t hurt us. Then break quickly in these high positions when we do win the ball.

As Pompey advance into higher areas and into our half, our shape will resemble a 4-1-3-2. Winger on the side of play drops deep and Rodri drops behind the other two cms pressing the space behind the two cms pressing the ball, sweeping up danger behind them and in front of the defence.

Lautaro and the remaining wide forward in the space in between the opposition defence and midfield, and either side of their dm. This will make it difficult for their to dm to circulate possession back to their defence.

The wide man on the side of play that drops and the two cms (Mount and Fernandes) are the trio pressing the ball, force Pompey backwards. With two forwards left up this is where we look to press the opposition into mistakes and win the ball in high areas.

When Tino’s boys get past the initial press higher up the park, we drop deeper into a narrower tighter formation narrowing to the side of play, ensuring there are no gaps in the formation. Our fb’s have fantastic pace up against their wide forwards, bide their time, not diving in.


If winning after 70 mins bring on Osimhen for Lautaro. More pace and power up top. And height for defending and attacking set pieces.
If winning after 75 mins bring on Thiago for Mount. Strong defensively and hard working, fresh energy in Cm.
If winning after 75 mins bring on Bale for Sterling, fresh pace and big game player. More height to defend and attack set pieces.

If drawing after 70 mins bring on Theo for Alaba. More attacking lb and fresh pace.
If drawing after 75 mins bring on Felix for Mount.
If drawing after 75 mins bring on Bale for Sterling.

If losing after 65 mins bring on Thiago for Rodri. Thiago to dm. More attacking and control.
If losing after 70 mins bring on Bale for Carvajal. 3 at back with Alaba 3rd cb. Bale plays left wing, Sterling right.
If losing after 75 mins bring on Osimhen for Sterling. Gnabry to right wing.


1. Bruno Fernandes - pk king
2. Marquinhos - big game player and leader
3. Lautaro - our talisman
4. Gnabry - big game player and German
5. Bale - big game player
6. Alaba - big game player and as good as German
7. Osimhen / Felix / Theo

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