Newcastle United vs Manchester City – Tactical Analysis: Eddie Howe & Pep Guardiola’s Tactics In The 3-3 Draw

Newcastle United vs Manchester City – Tactical Analysis: Eddie Howe & Pep Guardiola’s Tactics In The 3-3 Draw

  • Tactics
  • August 24, 2022
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Newcastle United pulled off an unexpected comeback against Manchester City in arguably one of the games of the season so far. A game that witnessed six goals, including a world-class strike from skipper Kieran Trippier.

City took an early lead, but Newcastle came back and finished the first half with a 2-1 advantage. After Trippier’s goal, it was a long way back for City, but the champions somehow managed to take a point from the game as they scored twice in the second half.

Also read: Leeds United vs Chelsea – Tactical Analysis: What Went Wrong For Tuchel?

Why Manchester City Struggled Against Newcastle United?

Eddie Howe got his tactics spot on against Manchester City. His style of play was quite visibly inspired by Liverpool’s style, especially in this game. Over the years, City have always struggled against Liverpool because as soon as things start to become physical, City start to crumble, as we have seen on various occasions in the Champions League as well.

Newcastle started poorly but were soon looking dangerous. Quick transitions in behind City’s defence and physical & robust defending all over the pitch troubled City.

One area of the pitch where City are always dangerous and dominant is the inside channels of the attacking midfield. With technically gifted midfielders excellent in tight spaces, City always make it uncomfortable for the opposition in those areas.

City achieve dominance in these positions by forming triangles in the wide areas using the winger and the full-back. They mostly do this on the left side, where Cancelo gets involved as Walker is not great in possession.

How Newcastle’s man marking played out against City’s triangles

Newcastle United brilliantly nullified this danger by blocking the triangles in those wide positions. Most of the time, they went man for man and forced City to do something else to create gaps in Newcastle’s structure.

Rodri was also marked by Wilson, forcing City to go back to the centre-backs to restart attacking moves. By this point, Newcastle used to restructure themselves in a medium block. With no vertical lane available, Man City had to go wider again and rely on the triangle pattern, but Newcastle were already prepared for that.

This was an excellent tactical observation that Howe’s coaching team made, and the manager prepared his players brilliantly to contain one of the best passing teams in the league.

What Did Pep Change To Get Back Into The Game?

In the first half, City played in a 4-3-3, which at times used to turn into a 4-2-3-1, with De Bruyne being the most advanced midfielder with a double pivot behind him. This made it easier for Newcastle to keep their shape without much trouble. As explained above, De Bruyne was finding it difficult to find space to create chances.

In the second half, there was a visible change in their in-possession structure as De Bruyne played slightly deeper than in the first half. Gundogan, who was playing deeper, was now making runs into the box and disrupting Newcastle’s press due to his clever movement.

Pep Guardiola’s tactical tweaks to get Man City back in the game

As a result of this change, there was now a sense of disturbance in the Newcastle defence, and the midfield’s marking was now unsettled.

De Bruyne playing slightly deeper was now receiving the ball in space, allowing him to get his head up and look for dangerous passes. Foden and Silva were now isolating the fullbacks 1v1 while Gundogan was joining Haaland in the box. This did make City even more vulnerable defensively, but Pep had to go for it.

Overall, Pep’s tactical switch in the second half was instrumental for his side to draw the game as their most creative player De Bruyne needed the tactical switch from his manager.

Pep Guardiola Praised Newcastle’s Performance

Speaking after the game, Guardiola said, “They arrived more than usual in our final third, but they didn’t have many clear chances apart from the Almiron shot. We had the clear, clear chances to score but scoring three goals is good.”

“Newcastle are becoming one of the toughest opponents – they have quality, they are strong. This is the Premier League. Leeds beat Chelsea. It’s so difficult for everyone. This kind of experience shows us how amazing we have done in the last five years and how difficult it will be, but we will try.”

“They managed to get contact into Saint-Maximin and when they arrive there, his aggression with the ball is so dangerous. You have to stop it before he gets the ball. He’s an excellent player. Kyle [Walker] did an incredible job, I know it’s a difficult job. That’s why we had to run more than usual.”

“We played an excellent game, the chances we had to score more goals. We were excellent.”

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