Newcastle United’s stellar victory over Manchester United showed us a lot of things, even suggesting some changes that Rafael Benitez should make to his side.
The Magpies adopted a 4-4-1-1 formation in the victory over the Red Devils, with Ayoze Perez slotting in just behind Dwight Gayle, and it’s clearly a set-up that was adopted to restrict Manchester United’s attacking play.
Certainly, the plan worked but the performances of a number of players suggest that the ideal formation to line-up with until the remainder of the season is 4-2-3-1, as it would bring the best out of the squad in this crucial stage of the season.
Mohamed Diame and Jonjo Shelvey have starred in a central midfield pairing in recent weeks, with their performance against Manchester United frustrating Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic- showing that this is the midfield duo that should be relied upon.
Equally, Dwight Gayle showed signs of promise after a difficult season and his link-up play, especially setting up Matt Ritchie for the only goal of the game, was superb- and showed that he needs attacking support.
With a three-pronged attacking line supporting Gayle, consisting of Ritchie, Kenedy and Ayoze Perez, Newcastle would have an attack capable of causing opposing defences an issue and, crucially, would still have the width and the protective blanket to cover a leaky defence.
Newcastle’s work is certainly not yet done and there’s a number of points that need to be picked-up between now and the end of the season- and this formation could lead to that charge.