As the first half was drawing to a close at St James Park, Pep was just not able to withstand the lack of control on the game. After all, Pep prides himself on the ability of his teams to control the vast majority of moments in a game of football. Specially in the last 30 mins of the first half, it seemed as if Newcastle had runners form everywhere. We were just not able to get to grips with their high pressure and intensity of runs. So, has the secret been cracked? Is this now a template for beating City?
We created enough to win the game
Maybe, all of the opposition managers can dream and feel good for a moment about this new template of getting at City, but the harsh reality is that for the last 4 -5 years, everybody knew this was the best way of playing against us. The only thing is that not many managers dare to do it. If you analyze the amount of chances we had yesterday, we should really have scored at least 5 goals. KDB had a one on one, Haaland missed a one on one which he probably misses once in a millennium and Foden didn’t pass to Haaland for a tap in.
Just looking at those obvious chances which we didn’t take, you can come to a conclusion as to why this template of attacking us and playing us off the park might actually leave a lot of teams scarred for the rest of the campaign and destroy their confidence. This template of getting at us from the go is a zero sum game and Eddie Howe at the end was just holding on to hope more than anything else.
Players are still adapting to the inverted full back system
Also, we were shoddy in passing and gave up possession a lot of times. This helped Newcastle immensely and they were easily able to find those front runners. I mean West Ham had a good and fast front 3 as well, but they could not lay a glove on us. Now, i know that West Ham are terribly out of form, but you don’t need to be in form to play counter attacking football. The one aspect that differentiates the West Ham game from yesterday’s is the fact that we did not apply much pressure on the ball in the midfield. This meant that Newcastle had time and space to pick out their runners like Wilson and Almiron.
Also, there is a debate to be had about the inverted full back system and how suitable is it when you have fast runners who stay high and wide. I mean, the system works very well, if you deprive them of service and they come inside looking to get on the ball. But Yesterday, the exact opposite thing happened. Maxim was able to receive the ball and Walker was suddenly caught in no man’s land. I am sure this is something Pep will work on before the next game.
It would be outright stupid to assume that City and Pep have suddenly been found out. In fact, what Pep has seen yesterday might just be a shot in his arm to improve upon this inverted full back system. I feel there are few tweaks he can employ and make this system water tight. Also, i think the players are also adapting to this new system. So, it will take time and we must be rest assured that once everyone gets used to this system, we will be even more monstrous than ever before.