Tactics Journal

by Kyle Boas

Analyzing football tactics

Newcastle's influence on Anthony Gordon is showing

July 8, 2023 — Anthony Gordon joined Newcastle for £45m in January, and the club’s influence is beginning to show in his play, especially in this match for the England U21s against Portugal.

Figure 1.1 - Anthony Gordon begins to peel off behind Portugal's right-back.
Figure 1.2 - Pass to Noni Madueke. Portugal's back-line charge into the box.

This may seem normal, and it is, but this is quintessential Newcastle. This is how they score goals. It’s a repetitive pattern.

Attack the right wing, and the left winger’s job is to attack the space in front of the backline. Not behind the backline in their shadow, but in front, in space.

Figure 1.3 - Noni Madueke passes to Morgan Gibbs-White.
Figure 1.4 - Portugal run into the goal but forget to mark Anthony Gordon on the back-post. Gordon shifts into the open space, receives the pass, and scores.

The space will be free because the center-forward drags Portugal’s backline into the goal. All Anthony Gordon has to do is be patient and find that space. Poach.

Eddie Howe must have been watching this with a smile from ear to ear. Anthony Gordon wasn’t doing this when he joined Newcastle. It took time to adjust.

Joe Willock was very good at this movement all last season, and you can tell Gordon has practiced this with them over and over for the past six months. It’s now muscle memory. He stood out.

Newcastle will need him next season because the Champions League schedule will require them to rotate. Add in injuries, and his price tag is warranted.

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