Eddie Howe’s Successful Tactics Used for Newcastle in 2023

June 01, 2023

by xfcedi

Eddie Howe's Successful Tactics for Newcastle in 2023

By Eduard Bănulescu

Eddie Howe has brought Newcastle back into the footballing elite with qualification to the UEFA Champions League. While having one of the largest budgets in football at their disposal certainly helped, Howe’s tactics also played a bit part in this success.

Today I’m analyzing the work that Howe has done at Newcastle, the manner in which the tactics used at Bournemouth have changed for this high-profile role, and what’s next for the Magpoos.

Howe’s Pre-managerial career

Eddie Howe has had a relatively strong footballing career as both a player and manager. As a player for AFC Bournemouth he primarily played as a defender. He became highly regarded for his game-reading ability was highlighted and his leadership on the pitch. Although his career was riddled with injuries, Howe was one of the club’s most important players in the 90s and early 2000s.

Eddie Howe became a manager after an early retirement caused by knee ligament damage. He took charge of Bournemouth at just 31. As one of the youngest managers in the EPL, Howe oversaw an extraordinary rise for their club from financial difficulties.

Howe earned widespread respect with an attractive brand of attacking football that allowed Bournemouth to punch above their weight for a while. A well-received two-season stint at Burnley followed before Howe returned to Bournemouth.

The team succumbed to relegation in 2020. So, it was with some surprise that the ambitious Newcastle project opted to hire Howe immediately after the club was taken over.

Eddie Howe’s tactical philosophy

Eddie Howe’s approach at Newcastle revolves around a fast-paced, transition-focused style of play. With a strong emphasis on defensive solidity in the middle third of the pitch, Howe’s 4-3-3 formation aims to compress the lines and exploit sudden breaks during transitions. The aim is to catch opponents off guard and capitalize on their vulnerability.

These are not strategies that Howe has not used in the past. However, with due respect, the players he has at his disposal this time around are more technically gifted than the ones he encountered at Burnley and Bournemouth.

In this tactical setup, Newcastle often deploys one of their number eights further up the pitch, taking up a position similar to that of a striker. This strategic move allows players like Willock and Longstaff to create scoring opportunities.

Meanwhile, the other number, eight, drops deeper to form a two-man central midfield alongside Guimaraes, maintaining stability and control in the middle of the park. This dynamic system showcases Howe’s vision, and it is one that Newcastle can build upon in the future.

Formation and tactics

Under Eddie Howe’s leadership, Newcastle has adopted a 4-3-3 formation. For their impressive budget, for the time being, the squad features only minor adjustments to the squad that achieved a top-half finish in the previous season.

Howe’s team focuses on defending from the front, initially shaping up as a 4-3-3 and swiftly transitioning into a compact 4-5-1 structure. The high-pressing strategy begins with the attackers. The system needs to display intensity and compactness between each line. Defenders are prepared to step up beyond their usual engagement line to track runners from deeper positions. Meanwhile, the midfielders also step up when the ball enters their respective zones.

The formation shifts into a tight-knit 4-5-1 defensive block during the defensive phase. The attacking midfielders press the opposition’s center-back or defensive midfielder. However, the wingers narrow their positioning to close any gaps. This cohesive defensive setup exemplifies Howe’s tactical approach, showcasing his team’s ability to adapt and apply pressure strategically.

Newcastle in attack

Since taking charge, Eddie Howe has demonstrated tactical flexibility and intelligence in pursuit of his attacking ambitions while adhering to a consistent set of strategies.

Whether it’s Almiron or Allan Saint-Maximin, Newcastle’s wide men are deliberately isolated in one-on-one situations. The two utilize variations of wide overloads to unleash their creative potential and penetrate the opponent’s box.

Saint-Maximin’s exceptional dribbling skills make him a dangerous threat, while Almirón’s intense technical flair is enough to leave flat-footed defenders in his wake.

Howe has also managed to get the best out of 31-year-old Callum Wilson, who has managed 18 goals and 5 assists for Newcastle this season. It’s the former Bournemouth attacker’s strongest season of his career.

Meanwhile, Alexander Isak is beginning to confirm the extraordinary hype that has accompanied his transfer from Real Sociedad. The Swedish forward has netted 10 goals and his level of skill has delighted the team’s numerous fans.

Newcastle in defense

The team’s narrow positioning enhances their pressing and attacking transitions and enables surging counters as wingers like Almirón, Joelinton, and Saint-Maximin make diagonal runs toward the center. Joelinton has notably been deployed on the left wing, frequently interchanging with Joe Willock, the team’s quintessential Box-to-Box Midfielder.

Defensively, Newcastle depends on a man-to-man pressing approach from the front. The team focuses on outnumbering the opponent in wide areas and remains compact vertically and horizontally.

Miguel Almirón has been instrumental in leading the defensive intensity, showcasing exceptional work rate, stamina, and the willingness to contribute in pushing forward and tracking back to support the fullback.

At the back, Newcastle boasts a formidable physical presence and aerial ability. With towering figures like Burn, Botman, and Schär, each surpassing six feet in height and boasting close to a 70% aerial win rate; the team excels in aerial duels.

With their physicality and unwavering determination across the pitch, Newcastle has emerged as a formidable opponent for even the strongest teams in the league.

Newcastle’s future

Newcastle has all the money in the world. But as teams like PSG have proven, this is not enough for the kind of success that Newcastle’s new owners are dreaming about.

However, with Eddie Howe they have one of the best managers the Premier League, one that can adapt to the team’s needs. With all of this in mind, there’s no reason why Howe’s Newcastle can’t become one of England and Europe’s finest teams in the years ahead.




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