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Scouting Report: Newcastle | Stats & In Depth Tactical Analysis

As the 2012/13 Premier League season draws to a close Martin Lewis looks at Newcastle in his final Scouting Report for 2012/13. Not only will Newcastle supporters find this interesting but Arsenal supporters will want to know about their opponents tomorrow as they fight for that final fourth spot.

[box_light]N.B. Please note that the writing style in this scouting report is written specifically as a scouting report. It is not written as an article as we would normally publish.[/box_light]

Initial information:Screen shot 2013-05-15 at 16.35.24

  • Newcastle are currently on a bad run of results, but are now safe due to their much needed win against QPR and Wigan failing to beat Arsenal on Tuesday.
  • Will lack the same motivation as Arsenal, but will be professional and on a high after retaining their place in Premier League for next season.
  • Currently have an injury crisis, with the most injuries in the league at this moment in time.
  • Krul out long term and Elliot suspended, leaving Harper who has been involved in only five Premier League games this season.

Screen shot 2013-05-15 at 16.32.08

Injury news:

Screen shot 2013-05-15 at 16.19.53
Courtesy of

Offensive Organisation:Screen shot 2013-05-15 at 16.25.22

  • The team set up offensively in a classic 4x4x2, with one wide player playing as a pure winger [Gutierrez], with Yanga-Mbiwa supporting, and inside movements from the wide player [Ben Arfa – number 10 movements rather than second striker movements] with overlapping runs from the fullback [Debuchy] on the other side.
  • Cabaye and Tiote will share the ‘6’ and ‘8’ roles between them, with one going forward [Usually Cabaye] and the other holding.
  • With the dynamics of the team, the midfield can sometimes become a diamond shape, with Tiote at the base, Cabaye on the right, Gutierrez on the left and Ben Arfa as the number 10. When they do this they can dominate most second balls from Cisse, but suffer with their defensive transitions.
  • First and second phase patterns consist of long, direct and quick play – always looking to keep rhythm high and play for the second ball.
  • Third phase is usually upon gaining the second ball. Here they will look for quick and aggressive penetration, either through ball into depth or quick and short combinations.
  • In fourth phase, Cisse will always go to the second post [Good timing] but often only two players get in the box, with Gouffran being the other [Attacking first post].
  • Ben Arfa dangerous in between lines, with vision and ability to see and expose depth.

Team Dynamics:

2013-05-18 01.16.44


Defensive Organisation:Screen shot 2013-05-15 at 16.25.05

  •  Team set up in a 4x4x4 – medium block. Tight and narrow lines when defending in own half [Block compactness].
  • High defensive line until opposition is in 3rd phase, except when opposition play long from the goal keeper  or centre backs in first phase. When this happens, the centre backs drop [Too deep] and create big gaps between them and the central midfielders, as well as creating space behind both fullbacks.
  • This allows the possibility to dominate the second ball, over run their midfield and gain the initiative of the game.
  • Williamson is used as 3rd central midfielder in pressing short build [Teams that used four at the back] to press the central midfielder left by Cabaye, as he pushes up further to press the spare man.
  • Ben Arfa’s distances always off, either too high or deep, leaving lateral space next to the central midfielder or possibility for overloads [Numerically] on the fullback.
  • Yanga-Mbiwa can be drawn between lines, but good cover from Gutierrez. So passes will have to be first time and precise to exploit the space created.

Defending vs a back four on the ball in short build up:

2013-05-18 00.54.21

Offensive Transitions:

Screen shot 2013-05-15 at 16.25.15

  •  Quick and direct, looking for immediate penetration into depth.
  • Good mobility from strikers, Ben Arfa can progress with the ball (can beat opposition players in 1v1’s) and has vision + ability too see and penetrate depth.
  • Lots of outside movements from Cabaye.

Screen shot 2013-05-15 at 16.32.13


Defensive Transitions:Screen shot 2013-05-15 at 16.25.16

  •  Poor defensive transitions on their right from Ben Arfa, possibility to overload on fullback.
  • Good reaction to the area of the ball (press high initially). After initial reaction to the area of the ball they will regain shape and revert back to a medium block.
  • Both strikers chase everything, so defenders need to be aware when passing back to the goalkeeper and give him an extra passing option.

Defending in own half [medium block]:

Pressure on the ball from strikers, defenders aggressive in 1v1 capacity [When offensive players receive the ball with back to goal] and Ben Arfa not tracking man.

2013-05-18 01.01.23

Struggle to control second balls after long passes from opposition centre backs to strikers [To head]. Possibility to dominate second ball in between lines.

2013-05-18 01.02.39

Set Plays



2013-05-17 23.00.47



2013-05-17 23.11.50

Defensive frontal free kicks:

2013-05-17 22.47.25

Pattern and combination play

Long build up in first and second phase:

2013-05-18 00.39.13


Third phase patterns upon regaining the second ball:

2013-05-18 00.35.23


Box entry and movements in the box in fourth phase [1]:

2013-05-18 00.40.55


Box entry and movements in the box in fourth phase [2]:

2013-05-18 00.43.46

Other observations:

Implication of substitutions usually don’t have too much effect on team dynamics. Obertan is a pure winger that is: quick, direct, good in 1v1’s, unpredictable and inconsistent. Coming on for Ben Arfa will mean more directness and allow Debuchy to support from behind rather than overlap, where as coming on for Gouffran will offer more threat into depth in transitions.
If Tiote isn’t fit he will probably be replaced by Perch [with the same dynamics], who is less destructive, physical, aggressive and doesn’t have the ability to play the same vertical passes. If Santon is back, he make more inside progressions with the ball.

Possible kick off combination

2013-05-17 23.14.56

You don't learn the piano by running around it! Follow me on twitter: @martinlewis94 You can also subscribe to my blog for non premier league reports:
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