Newcastle United were defeated 1-0 at Stoke City on Saturday. It was their fourth defeat in a row (the second such streak this season), and they've scored a grand total of 0 goals in that span.
The match started with the visitors playing a very strange 3-5-2 that did them no favors whatsoever. Several players were deployed outside of their natural positions, and whatever defensive advantage Newcastle gained by playing three center backs was nullified when Tim Krul completely misplayed an Erik Pieters shot/cross that ended up in the back of the net near the end of the first half.
Alan Pardew would later switch his squad to a 4-4-2, but only after Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa was brought on for Steven Taylor, so the personnel problems remained. Newcastle never really threatened Asmir Begovic's goal - in other words, business continued as usual.
The frustrating part about the formation tinkering is that it accomplished absolutely nothing. We found out that Vurnon Anita isn't really a right back, but we didn't really need to know that, did we? Same with Yoan Gouffran in the middle of the park. A prolonged look at Adam Armstrong (or Gael Bigirimana!) could have told us something. Instead, we got 20 minutes in which he touched the ball only a handful of times. Is he ready to step into the team next season? Who knows? I guess we'll find out after the transfer window closes.
I'm running out of ways to express how bad this team has been over the last several months. This is bad. It's very bad.