Pardew making fans forget about Kinnear

Posted by Lee Ryder

Hatem Ben Arfa puts Newcastle ahead against Villa.PA PhotosHatem Ben Arfa puts Newcastle ahead against Villa.

It would have been easy for Alan Pardew to walk away from Newcastle United earlier this summer.

When Joe Kinnear arrived to tell all and sundry he would have the "final say" on transfers (what transfers?), he was a "good tactician" (despite saying he would have nothing to do with tactics and selection) and perhaps most patronisingly that he would help guide Pardew (who won manager of the year just 12 months earlier) through the season ahead.

It was all too much for managing director Derek Llambias, who resigned shortly after Kinnear's arrival.

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Yet Pardew and his coaching staff appear to be prepared to win their way out of the situation. And suddenly, the Toon Army are talking about what is happening on the pitch once again.

That was certainly the case at Aston Villa on Saturday as Pardew got his tactics spot-on to carve out what could be an important victory going forward.

Pardew said after the victory he felt it was the first time in a while that he’d been able to revert back to the popular 4-3-3 formation that won hearts and minds two seasons ago when he led Newcastle a fifth-place finish.

The Magpies tried their luck with 4-3-3 last term at times, but too often they went with the less effective 4-2-3-1 that left Papiss Cisse looking isolated and many fans frustrated.

But there could be no complaints against Paul Lambert's side as Newcastle and Pardew went for the jugular.

Criticised for their contributions in the final third in the opening two games against Manchester City and West Ham, Newcastle produced eight shots on target at Villa compared to just one by Villa. The 17 goal attempts suggest United will perhaps feel as if they should have triumphed more handsomely.

However, with Loic Remy, Hatem Ben Arfa and Papiss Cisse in a front three, there is a good chance of more away-day successes if they can serve up more of the same.

On-loan Queens Park Rangers man Remy spoke confidently his team-mates to the Chronicle just 24 hours before the game at Villa and pre-match promises came good.

Remy has weighed in with two assists in his first two matches and there seems to be harmony between the ex-Marseille man, Ben Arfa and the Toon’s number 9. Ben Arfa has two goals and three assists in all competitions.

Cisse is yet to get off the mark this season, but won't be waiting much longer if Ben Arfa continues his cutting runs into the penalty area and Remy demonstrates more of the powerful piercing bursts down the left hand side as he did in the second city.

Ben Arfa's last two games have been great for United fans to see after the player spent most of last season on the sidelines due to injury.

Now looking in much better shape and underlining that he is a modern-day entertainer for the Geordie masses, Newcastle fans know if Ben Arfa plays well, United play well.

If the front three’s performances at Villa weren’t enough to get excited about, the engine-room trio of Yohan Cabaye, Moussa Sissoko and Vurnon Anita were an added bonus.

Cabaye and Sissoko's passing interchanges were a joy to watch while Anita's neat and tidy display was the heart of the midfield and kept Pardew's side ticking over. Goals by Ben Arfa and Yoan Gouffran were enough to win it for Newcastle.

Pardew made a point of celebrating with his players as they climbed into the top eight.

That crushing disappointment of transfer deadline day may have been just two weeks ago. But with transfer chief Kinnear now very much a background figure until January, the emphasis is firmly on Pardew and his players.

If they can reproduce the free-flowing attacking play on show at Aston Villa, the ill-advised outbursts from former Wimbledon manager Kinnear will hopefully become a distant memory.

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