Following last week’s defeat at home to Hull City I’ve been afraid of what might happen in our next league outing. I am afraid that Pardew will do what he has always done and simply blame the formation for the defeat. In the 2011/12 season when we finished 5th, we played 4/5 games with 4-3-3 and looked menacing. We destroyed West Brom away, easily dispatched Liverpool at home and were looking good value. Then we went away to Wigan and the wheels came off. We got thumped 4-0 and Pardew ditched 4-3-3, never to be seen again, until our victory away to Villa.
There is no coincidence that there is a formation link between our last two periods of decent attacking football. It is basic football knowledge. Pardew’s 4-2-3-1 and 4-4-2 are so insipid and uninspiring that we fail to create chances, get players forward, or look like any sort of attacking threat. So why does Pardew persist with these formations? Because he is not an attacking coach! His first port of call is to keep it tight at the back and use that as a platform to build upon. It may be dull, but I can understand the concept. Where this mindset falls down is that Pardew cannot even do this side of the game right! We broke all the wrong records for goals conceded in total. at home etc so he isn’t even an effective defensive manager.
Our latest stint with 4-3-3 looks set to last for 1 game (1 game and 15 minutes if you include the tactical change in the Fulham game) as Pardew reverted to type by playing 4-2-3-1 against a Championship side. At home. With the latest news that Remy has a strain it would appear that not only are we reverting to type when it comes to tactics, but also when it comes to players. With the news that Jonas is “getting close” and that Shola “has a chance” on top of the likely inclusion of Cheick Tiote, I am pretty sure we will see the return of the lacklustre displays that marred last season.
Past knowledge would indicate that Pardew will ditch 4-3-3 and go 4-2-3-1. By holding on to hope that he will surprise me and go 4-3-3 on Monday night, I am setting myself up for disappointment and I refuse to allow myself to give Pardew any more leeway. If he goes 4-3-3 I will be pleasantly surprised, but 4-3-3 at Goodison may not be the smartest move. If we go 4-2-3-1 and defend as shabbily as we did against Hull then I will ask the question what was the point of a defensive formation if you aren’t going to defend. Just pre empting here people.
So just to re-iterate. Pardew has passed the point of rescue as far as I am concerned. His tactics are archaic and poorly executed. If he isn’t going to be an effective defensive coach then he should just let go of the leash and let this team play football. If we lose, at least we go down swinging. If we win, everyone’s happy.
What do you think? What formation would you go for tomorrow night? What players should get the nod and who should be on the bench? I’d love to hear your views.