As Pards looks to get blood out of a stone on Saturday, it can be revealed exclusively that a new Formation is planned next time out. When asked if he was thinking of making changes at the weekend, he replied "Considering changing the personnel and the tactics ? Maybe both," Pardew revealed. "A lot depends on who I get back from injury this week, which will be important."
Dropping the entire team and playing the Reserves was an initial idea that was given a try out on Tuesday against QPR Reserves. Everything seemed to work well and even Pards was there to oversee the experiment but the idea seemed a bit like cutting off ones nose to spite the face or maybe throwing out the baby with the bathwater so it was decided against.
Instead a 'New Formation' is to be tried. Its numerically a 5-4-1 but as Pards wants a fresh start and is a George Peppard fan he's termed it the A-Team and as the name implies it starts with a large base and terminates in a single point. Its a plan to try to prevent the Saints from continuing their scoring spree and to avoid further embarrassment with 3 central defenders with two young fit and overlapping full-backs. One in the 'Hole' and four across the midfield.
But who will provide the starring roles in this New Look? Playing Hannibal Smith will be our own Irish Crown Jewels, the little irish fella pulling them strings in midfield. He'll be protected from all those nasty tackles from the Saints by our own Mr. T, making his fizzy debut, Therry Racon.
To emphasize the point about his disappointment re last week, Pards will drop Mills, Weaver, Fortune, Iwelumo and Varney and the resulting team will look like this:
Randolph in goal; Moutaouakil, Sodje, Bougherra, McCarthy and Basey; Sam, Semedo, Reid and Racon; and in the 'hole' its ZiZi.
Where's the striker, you may ask? Well, putting it simply, they isn't one and anyone that had the misfortune of watching either or even both of our last two fixtures will tend to agree with me that there just isn't one available at the moment.
There are places on the bench for a couple of nominal up-front players, ie Iwelumo and McLeod, but at least with Iwelumo sitting it out they'll be no launching it up-field in some vain hope of success. No, this week it's ball to feet time, except when in the 6 yard box.
The lack of a striker to mark will force the 4 man Saints defence into a quandary and force them to either leave the field in a huff or go in search of someone to mark thus crowding the midfield with bodies and leaving an empty Saints half behind them, ideal for a chip over the top for our speedy Sam and ZiZi to exploit.
Anybody got a better idea? Thoughts, in writing please, to Alan Pardew, The Valley.