Where will Newcastle United finish?

So, here we are three ghastly games and one point later! Two goals notched, seven conceded; 19 chances producing 25 shots and 45 chances allowed, gifting 43 shots.

The residual high generated by the superb start to the season, slowly morphing into that feeling we Newcastle fans know all to well……or is it? A first loss to the most ‘progressing’ side in world football currently, a draw at one of the most difficult stadiums in the world to play at and a home defeat by some blue money spinners who should have been a player down and whom took easy advantage of playing against 10 players and a team with no recognised centre back. When you look at it in ‘black and white’, it doesn’t appear so gloomy on the shell after all!

While it would be a logical impossibility to predict exactly where NUFC will finish this season, with little over a third of the campaign played, there have been some pictures painted which could help gage a fair estimate.

NUFC_Stats began this investigation by asking some of the fans what they predicted would be the end of the season standing. @chrisclowess said, “6th, if we can keep our big players injury free and invest wisely in January. A recognised CB is a must!” @StephNUFC reckons, ‘Top 10 minimum – our good start has given us a great platform to build on” and @gaz_nufc responded with, “We’ll finish 7th as our squad isn’t strong enough yet to get into top 6”. Clearly, NUFC’s impressive launch to the campaign has raised the spirits of fans and a more optimistic look on the season and final position is as apparent as ever. So, what do the numbers say on NUFC’s current performance and chances of high-placed finishing in the Premier League?!

Premier League history:

NUFC currently sit in 6th in the Barclays Premier League after 14 games and have gained 26 points; a total only equalled by Portsmouth (2007/08) at the same stage of the season in the last 10 PL campaigns. The average for 6th after 14 games in the last 10 seasons is 23 points. Also, the average finishing position of teams 6th after 14 games over the same period is 6th/7th. Hull are the only team in that 10 years who were 6th at this time of the season to finish any lower than 8th position (17th).

NUFC presently boast a points-per-game average of 1.86; over a 38 game season that would equate to approximately 71 points. In the previous 5 seasons, that total would have a team finish 2nd, 4th, 5th, 5th and 3rd.


Everyone knows that teams who perform well in the Premier League, one of the most difficult, high tempo and physically challenging leagues in the world, have a defensive soundness; they rarely conceded goals and have stability in their defensive unit like few others. Last season Man Utd conceded the 3rd lowest goals (scored by far the most though!), the season before that Chelsea conceded the 2nd least (also scored by far the most!) and the season prior to that, Man Utd conceded the least. NUFC have a current goal conceded to game average of 1.07, the 3rd best in their entire PL history behind the 93/94 season and the 95/96 season (see graph).

In terms of where we are at present in relation to the other Premier League teams, the ‘defensive numbers’ sit us on a very average pedestal. As we speak, NUFC win more tackles per game than any other Premier League team with 21.6 on average. Wolves have the worst record, winning only 15.4.

Aerially, Newcastle sit 13th though, winning only 10.8 a game on average compared to top team Stoke who victor at 15.7. We also concede the 7th most shots per game on average with 15.7 – for context, Chelsea are the best at ‘shot-stopping’ conceding only 10.6 per game where Bolton sit at the bottom of the same table with 18.6 on average a game. In relation to those shots, NUFC concede the least in the whole Premier League from the left side of the field (Simpson’s side) with 10% of goals coming from there. However, they concede the most in the Premier League from central areas with a mammoth 75% of goals directly through the middle. Norwich have only conceded 59% of their goals from there.


It’s probably fair to say NUFC’s attacking potential hasn’t equalled the ferocious effort shown defensively in some games this season and most of the stats related to NUFC’s forward play reflect those very thoughts.

Newcastle lie 13th for the amount of shots they produce on average per game; at 13 they are 6 per game behind leaders Man City. They are also 13th for possession (47.2% per game) and for pass succession, where with an attainment of just 75.5% lie one place above neighbours Sunderland and some 10.7% less than possession-masters Man City. It would appear NUFC are also very average at dribbling with ball too. Top of the pile Wigan, through top dribbler Victor Moses, execute 10.3 successful dribbles per game on average compared a lowly 6.1 from Newcastle; Cheik Tiote and Jonas Gutierez making the top 10 PL players to be dispossessed.

In terms of passing, it doesn’t make very good reading unfortunately; NUFC sit in the basement (16th) for short passes produced per game with just 308 on average parallel to pass-master Arsenal who manufacture 507. They do however play the 5th least amount of long balls on average at 63 (equalled by Chelsea), some 11 passes than leaders Spurs and they are 9th for the quantity of through balls assembled (2). Arsenal lead that pack too with 8 on average per game. After that comes the crossing stats; here, NUFC are 9th best, creating 22 crosses per game, only 6 less than top crossers Liverpool. More worrying though, is that only 6% of those crosses are effective at the moment! Newcastle sit in 6th in the table for scoring from open play, they’re yet to sore from a ‘fast break’ and they have joint worst record with Aston Villa for scoring directly from set pieces (2). Finally, they are the 2nd worst team for the percentage of play they have in the oppositions half with just 22%.

As always, make of the number what you will but they do give an objective summary of NUFC’s current state of play. While the tougher fixtures are over now, the next run of games wont come easy after the nightmare circumstances surrounding Steven Taylor & Fab Colo, two of our most influential players this season. It also remains to be seen what the January transfer window will do to the squad; we fans could be sitting after the window with 2/3 incredibly strong additions and some prolonged optimism, or the mirror reflection of last January, losing key personnel and the season nigh not coming soon enough.

All in all, 6th at this stage of the season has historically done teams well (other than Hull) and as long a AP sustains the stability and motivation in the ranks, Newcastle can pull off a very respectable finish to the season. But, what about that old cliché……’there’s still a lot of football to be played’!

NUFC_Stats prediction – 8th

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52 thoughts on “Where will Newcastle United finish?

  1. i would be more than happy with 7/8 for second season in pl
    should have been 9th last year but for a slip up by pardew with subs
    letting w.b.a. back in last game of season


  2. I think we will only get 6th if one of the big spending clubs underachieves.

    I think we will only drop to 8th or below if we underachieve.

    Therefore 7th “Best of the rest”


  3. What a brilliant article mate. Really well done. Statto eat your heart out 😉

    On topic, I think 7th at the minute. I’ve seen nothing outside of the top six to get worried about and even some of the clubs in the top six are catchable providing we get a bit of luck etc etc


  4. “In relation to those shots, NUFC concede the least in the whole Premier League from the left side of the field (Simpson’s side) with 10% of goals coming from there. However, they concede the most in the Premier League from central areas with a mammoth 75% of goals directly through the middle.”


    Maybe Simpson isn’t as bad as is being made out? And maybe our engine room is actually a soft-centre?


  5. Most of goals against Newcastle coming through the middle? Does that mean Simmo & Raylor are letting their marks get inside for shots? Well, really its just a handful of goals. With Colo & Saylor out, these stats now mean nothing. For exaqmple, many NUFC goals have materialized when Colo has come forward with the ball. And our attacking play on corners will change a lot as Perch and his sidekick will not going to be used like Saylor & Colo.
    It’s going to be a big test for AP to get some working solutions to the dilemma the injuries problem.


  6. It might also be that Simpson gets raped time after time and our central defence is pulled out of postion allowing shots from central areas


  7. Should finish in 7th position.

    Injuries and suspensions will determine final position.

    I f Ashley signed Pieters, Yanga- Mbiwa and another striker in January we could possibly get as high as 5th.


  8. This is a real stat attack but very interesting read.
    Ice I really don’t think Pards can take the blame for the defeat at WBA I really think our senior players have to take it as they never turned up, and at the time there was rumours about the players revolting over bonus payments. we now know there was a mini revolt and I still blame the seniors only I believe it even more now that JB spilled the beans.
    Toonsy i’m not surprised about the attack tbh or the fact that we don’t concede as much on Simpsons side as I have noticed that he doesn’t back off as much.


  9. DAVE sorry dont agree we scored 3 goals and where home and hose till he changed it imo 😉 or are you saying they only play for money 😀 😀 😀


  10. Ice we were bossing the game then just gave up I even said at the time that it looked real odd and I even joked that Jabba told them that he had a bet on the to loose. But I think the seniors had money on it 😆 😆 😆

    I mentioned this the other day but no one said owt, Did you not find it strange that JB said that Carroll was one of the seniors that was on the players committee


  11. Thanks for all the comments so far chaps, really appreciate it. Delighted to be part of the ‘Blog’ team and have plenty more of where this came from for you all this season!
    I’ll get working on the match, player and team stats section which I will update after each NUFC fixture so you can all stay in touch with who’s doing what and where!



  12. Love those stats. I would have picked us for 7th but I suspect the injury to Saylor and an unwillingness to spend will knock us down one or two positions. I think we will end up 8th unfortunately (just miss out on Europe).


  13. I said at the start of the season, having pocketed £35m that if we finish lower than 7th them it would be classed as underachieving in my eyes.

    I still maintain it however, I believe we wil finish 7th, providing we invest some of that cash in January.

    Anyway, I’ve snapped my bicep tendon boxing tonight so I’m in agony and off to bed.


  14. Excellent work nufc_stats. Some juicy info there to mull over 😀

    I reckon 8th, perhaps 7th if we have a decent January with signings.


  15. Some funny info there, tru as it is, Victor Moses, execute 10.3 successful dribbles per game on average, but they are still bottom and I dont think he had much end product and… NUFC are 9th best, (crossing) creating 22 crosses per game, only 6 less than top crossers Liverpool.
    Yet Carroll never gets a game but is renowned for his aerial ability? unless they cross loads because of Downing but arent effective?



  16. @troy

    ” I’ve snapped my bicep tendon boxing tonight”…ooh that sounds nasty, gud luck m8 with your recovery..

    perhaps those tight keks were stopping the circulation getting around your body, making you prone to injury 😆


  17. Wow! That’s a stats blitz. Interesting, though.

    Points-wise we are doing well, mainly it seems because we haven’t conceded many goals, but we are distinctly ordinary in just about every other facet of the game, apart from tackles per game – it would be interesting to see where the tackles occur and who is making them.

    It suggests to me that we owe a lot to Tim Krul (and whoever is making the tackles), and Demba Ba for scoring with so few chances.


  18. Troy @ 22 “I said at the start of the season, having pocketed £35m …”

    You bastard! So that’s where the money went. No wonder you were trying to deflect blame onto Ashley.


  19. Very interesting stats-especially about the amount we concede through the middle, and the least down the right? Surely Simmo aint that bad then peoples? 🙂


  20. As for prediction…I’ll punt for 8th. Manchesters/Spurs/Chelsea/Arsenal uncompeteable I’d say. We’ll be fighting it with Liverpool and the Stoke/Everton sides. I’d say we would be capable of 6th but with our injuries? I’ll take 8th.


  21. Very interesting how we suck so badly in attack. Although it makes sense when u think of how often Obertan wastes the ball, Ben Arfa slowly getting back, Jonas playing as a wing back essentially, and it’s no wonder we don’t threaten well when in possession


  22. Feckin can’t sleep with the [email protected] pain! My bicep has sprung loose and is now squashed up to my shoulder cos it’s not attached to my forearm! 😯

    Anyway, whilst I’ve got half an hour before the painkillers kick in again let me have my say.
    Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh! 😯

    Stats are very interesting but can totally distort the truth. They obviously give an indication of the truth and I found the article interesting to read but really, we don’t need them to know exactly where we stand and what is required from the team and board.

    January is a crucial time and the regime have justifiably bought a bit of time from people like me, who predicted we would be mediocre, mid table also rans come the end of the season.

    It could still happen but this window is vital to keep the momentum going that has surprised everyone and I’m sure even the regime.

    It’s really a crucial time for Pardew to keep the fans, who he’s won over, on his side and push the regime to invest.

    Looking forward to an interesting window.


  23. If we finish 8th it will be a disgrace considering it wil be a team like villa or Everton who pip us.

    We have the resources in the bank to maintain our lead. 😯


  24. Cheik Tiote and Jonas Gutierez making the top 10 PL players to be dispossessed.

    😯 It Seems that Tiote is not that good in keep possession. 😕


  25. there are lies, damned lies and statistics

    i think it is expected that most goals are scored from a central area (even more so when they are pens) but often they will have came from a build up outwide, failure to block crosses etc, i think we have been poor aerially so those points probably add up, i think we’ll finish somewhere from 5th-8th


  26. Lads,something else bothers me. 😯

    PS: Both Ryan Taylor and Danny Simpson picked up their third yellow cards of the campaign on Saturday and moved closer to the one game suspensions that amassing five bookings before December 31st would trigger.

    Is getting a little dangerous at the back 4. 😕


  27. Really enjoyed that read , ill stick with what I said on here at the start of the season and that is 8th our lack of cover in defence and only ba scoring will cost us . Great start to the season .


  28. late again fellas

    6th… – and we’ll finish above liverpool.

    carroll and enrique can then rue the day they pushed through a transfer.


  29. Great range of stats presented here, thanks for sharing. Some revealing stuff particularly re. attacking play – I’d wager that from Stoke onwards our passing and possession stats have gone sharply downhill

    Hope u don’t mind me saying this, but…..you might wanna do some proof reading next time before u post. For example, you’ll see that Hull (not Portsmouth) are the team that finished 17th after being 6th 14 games in…. and if u remember, a certain team who play in black and white came in a place behind em


  30. Dave/Ice – Just reading back and seen the bit about WBA last season. I tend to agree with Dave (sorry Ice 😛 ) Most managers would start making changes at3-0 up, at home, in the final 30 minutes of the season.. However the rest of them, like Nolan, Barton etc etc just stopped playing and I can’t help but think it was related to the bonus argument that was going on.

    In fact reading some of Barton’s and Nolan’s comments since they left kind of gave me that impression also but then I might be reading too much into it 🙂


  31. Whilst we have only picked 1 point up from the last 3 games, we still sit 8 points off 8 place at the mo. That said, I think it’s fair to say those games have brought us Geordie dreamers back to earth with a bit of a bump, particularly with the injuries picked up.

    Superb stats, and it’s great to see just how good our start has actually been, as so called pundits dismissed it as luck and not really being tested.
    The only issue I have is that whilst you can’t argue with stats, they dont always give a true reflection. For example, 7 goals conceded in the last 3 games but really Chelsea scored 2 in the dying minutes, whilst we only had 9 men on the pitch. I know they still scored them and the score line was still 3-1 and those are the facts, I just mean that its not always as bad as it looks.

    Regarding the title question, I think it will be between Newcastle and Liverpool to battle it out for 6th as things stand, however, depending on the impact of the January transfer window that may well change… How things stand on the 1st Feb will give us a far better understanding of how ambition and how much back this board are prepared to give Pardew.


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