Tactically Speaking

The Official Website takes an in-depth look at how Newcastle United could line up in Saturday's Barclays Premier League fixture at the Boleyn Ground, as well as Adrian's form between the sticks.

West Ham United

Eighth-place Newcastle United visit the Boleyn Ground this weekend, and football statistics website WhoScored.com believe a second successive clean sheet is a distinct possibility for West Ham United goalkeeper Adrian.

The Hammers head into the encounter following a confidence-boosting 2-0 win at Cardiff City last time out after goals from Carlton Cole and Mark Noble helped secure victory and Sam Allaydyce's men will be out to record back-to-back league victories for the first time this season and heap further misery on a Newcastle side who go into the game on the back of four consecutive defeats in all competitions. The last two meetings between the two sides have both ended in 0-0 draws.

Having shut the Bluebirds out last weekend, West Ham have now kept more clean sheets in the Premier League this season than any other team (nine), and the latest was down to the performance of Adrian. The 27-year-old, who signed from Real Betis in the summer, was superb in the victory, making seven saves to secure a WhoScored.com rating of 8.2.


His performance rewarded him with a place in WhoScored.com's Premier League Team of the Week and fans will be hoping he can turn out a similar display - if needed - against Newcastle. The Magpies have failed to score a Premier League goal in 280 minutes of football, their last coming courtesy of a Papiss Cisse penalty in their 5-1 win over nine-man Stoke City last month.

Following Cisse's strike, Newcastle have now had 27 shots on goal without netting, a poor return for a team that has scored 29 times this term. This lack of goalscoring touch in the Magpies squad bodes well for a West Ham team that enters the match with history on its side.

The east London outfit have kept a clean sheet in each of their last three league meetings with Newcastle, taking five points from a possible nine in the process. Having come back into the team, Adri├ín will be confident of maintaining this run against former Hammers manager Alan Pardew's side on the back of his commanding display against Cardiff.

While a statistically calculated WhoScored.com style of play for Newcastle's is 'take lots of shots', two strengths of the West Ham goalkeeper happen to be 'saving long shots' and 'shot stopping'. Adrian will be expected to utilise these strengths to condemn the Magpies to their fifth successive defeat and make it ten clean sheets for the Hammers in England's top tier this term and with it help West Ham climb the table.

*WhoScored.com is a website and one of the fastest growing in the sports industry, specialising in the in-depth analysis of detailed football data. Follow @WhoScored on Twitter.

Newcastle United

Probable starting XI


Yanga-Mbiwa  Williamson  Taylor  Santon

Anita  Tiote

Sissoko  Cabaye  Gouffran


Newcastle United may have lost their last four matches in all competitions, but results do not always tell the full story.

The Magpies were impressive in going down 2-0 at home to Manchester City last weekend, when only a debateable refereeing decision denied them a spectacular Cheick Tiote equaliser and a chance to go on and beat the Barclays Premier League title-chasers.

Going forward, Newcastle possess pace, trickery and flair, while defensively Alan Pardew's side press high and are both determined and hard-hitting. Four straight defeats may suggest otherwise, but the Toon will be no pushovers this afternoon.

Tactically, Pardew will likely set his team up in a 4-2-3-1 formation, with two defensive midfielders, Yohan Cabaye pulling the strings and the lively Loic Remy playing on his own up front.

Newcastle play with width, with the left-sided combination of Davide Santon and Yoan Gouffran proving particularly threatening. That said, the goals can come from anywhere, with Cabaye scoring and creating with his individual talent, and Remy using his pace, power and movement to put the ball in the net.

Personnel-wise, Newcastle have enjoyed a relatively settled starting XI for much of the season, but injuries and suspensions have changed that in recent weeks.

In defence, right-back Mathieu Debuchy has found his way into the referee's notebook regularly. The Frenchman completes a three-match ban today, meaning athletic compatriot Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa should continue there.

At left-back, Santon is a right-footed strong all-round full-back who is strong in the tackle and in the air and also loves to get forward and support the attack.

In the middle, the absence of injured captain Fabricio Coloccini means Mike Williamson and Steven Taylor should continue their partnership. Both are tall, powerful centre-backs who dominate in the air at both ends of the pitch. However, their physical stature can affect their mobility and ability to recover their defensive positions on the counter-attack.

Vurnon Anita and Cheick Tiote provide the defensive shield. Dutchman Anita is a neat and tidy player who links the defence with the midfield with short and accurate passes. Ivorian Tiote is an all-action, box-to-box midfielder who can bite into the tackle - illustrated a team-high 69 tackles made and 36 fouls conceded - and keep things ticking over. He has completed a team-high 1,051 passes - and come up with the occasional spectacular goal.

Cabaye is Newcastle's attacking central midfielder, but he roams free into wide areas too. The France international has put in 90 crosses, unleashed 58 shots on goal and made 47 interceptions - all the most of any Newcastle player.

Wide of him, Moussa Sissoko is a tall, strong, powerful runner with the ball who works hard up and down the right flank. He has assisted for four league goals this season. On the left, the right-footed Gouffran is a more traditional winger, shorter in stature, mobile and agile.

Either could find themselves replaced in the starting XI by the enigmatic Hatem Ben Arfa - a skiful and elusive dribbler capable of unleashing powerful and accurate crosses and shots with his left foot.

Up front, Remy has become Newcastle's undisputed No1 striker. Quick, direct, always on the move and accurate in front of goal, the France international has netted ten league goals from the 58 shots he has produced.

Another option in attack is Senegal forward Papiss Cisse, who will also run the channels, is decent in the air and is another who can produce the unexpected in front of goal. Nigerian Shola Ameobi is tall, strong and causes defenders problems by backing in and linking up the play

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