Talking Tactics

Howe to bring a fresh attacking style to Newcastle

By Adrian Clarke 18 Nov 2021
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Adrian Clarke analyses the tactical impact of new managers and head coaches ahead of Gameweek 12.

Eddie Howe (NEW)

Howe will aim to excite Newcastle United fans with a fresh brand of positive, entertaining football.

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During his time at AFC Bournemouth, the 43-year-old worked incredibly hard on developing incisive passing patterns designed to slice open opponents.

Comfortable in possession or happy to sit back and counter, Howe's sides have always carried a consistent goal threat.

At the end of 2016/17 and 2018/19, the Cherries finished as the Premier League's seventh-highest scorers, netting 55 and 56 goals respectively in those seasons.

The new Magpies head coach, who will be absent after testing positive for COVID, is not cautious or pragmatic, he sets out to win matches in an assertive, front-footed manner.

Howe on what to expect

High possession

During his first two campaigns as a top-flight manager, AFC Bournemouth averaged a share of more than 51 per cent of possession.

It did drop year on year after that, but it has never been his style to focus solely on stifling the opposition.

This committed mindset has helped Howe to inspire a series of shock victories over English football’s leading lights.

In fact, in each of his five seasons with the south-coast side, they took at least one big-name scalp who finished in the European places.

Howe's top PL wins
Season Results
2015/16 MUN (H) 2-1
2016/17 LIV (H) 4-3
2017/18 CHE (A) 3-0
ARS (H) 2-1
2018/19 CHE (H) 4-0
TOT (H) 1-0
2019/20 MUN (H) 1-0
LEI (H) 4-1
CHE (A) 1-0

Having beaten Chelsea in three successive seasons, and Manchester United twice, Howe has built a reputation as somebody capable of delivering successful game plans against the very best.

Tactical tweaks

Howe rarely deviates away from starting with a traditional back four, using it in 86.3 per cent of his matches as a top-flight manager.

He is not afraid to switch things up as a shock tactic, as he did when beating Chelsea 3-0 at Stamford Bridge in an unfamiliar 3-4-3, but in general he prefers 4-4-2 or 4-4-1-1.

Over the coming weeks it will be fascinating to see how he integrates the mercurial Allan Saint-Maximin into his tactical framework.

The Frenchman has been at his best in a free central role this term, so he is likely to operate as a partner to Callum Wilson, or just in behind him down the middle.

The 5-3-2 and 5-4-1 shapes used by caretaker boss Graeme Jones are likely to be quickly dispensed with.

Howe's favoured formations
Formation Times Formation Times
4-4-2 (classic) 59 4-5-1 7
4-4-1-1 50 3-5-1-1 4
4-1-4-1 21 5-4-1 4
4-2-3-1 20 5-3-2 2
3-4-2-1 7 3-4-1-2 1
3-4-3 7 3-5-2 1
4-3-3 7 - -

History has placed a question mark over whether Howe has the capability to improve the second-worst defence in the league. 

His attack-minded AFC Bournemouth side conceded between 61 and 70 goals in each of his five Premier League campaigns.

During his final season they faced an average of 14.7 shots each match, conceding an average 1.7 goals per 90 minutes.

This in turn put a lot of pressure on the forward players to deliver big performances.

Over the coming months Howe will want to engage the Newcastle fans with a positive style of play, but this must not come at the expense of much-needed solidity at the back.

With attention to detail and a high work ethic among his strongest traits, Howe will be working night and day to strike the right balance at his new club.

Also in this series

Part 1: How Gerrard can bring his winning formula to Villa
Part 3: Expect Conte to adapt in search of Spurs revival

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