Today sees the mighty Magpies travel to a Norwich outfit who have managed just four wins so far this season and who have lost three of their last four Premier League fixtures. The Canaries sit some five places and ten points below Newcastle United and have conceded six less goals than they have scored (26 to 20).
After three tough battles against the Premier League’s finest, surely a trip to Carrow Road is just what the North East’s top dogs need?! Or is it a case that the injury-plagued Mags will be fearing such a fixture considering the absence of such key men? One thing is for sure; this game will not come easy to Alan Pardew’s early season high-risers and the stats suggest that the two teams are not as far apart as one would imagine!
Newcastle should expect to see plenty of the ball today, the Yellows from NR1 have the 3rd lowest possession rate in the Premier League as well as the 4th lowest pass success rate. The Toon should also be expecting a couple of chances thrown their way; only Bolton concede more shots per game on average currently and the Canaries have the 2nd worst dribbling stats; only Stoke make less successful dribbles on average.
Norwich do concede the least percentage of shots from the middle third out of the entire Premier League (59%) compared to NUFC who concede the most (75%). However, they do concede the highest percentage of shots from the right hand side (Obertan’s side) which is ironically Newcastle’s weakest side for goal scoring (just 10% of NUFC’s goals have come from there, the lowest in the Premier League).
Newcastle United shouldn’t expect a pretty performance from the East Anglians; they play the joint-most long balls on average per game with Spurs and they are one of only four teams averaging under 300 short passes per game in the Premier League. For perspective, Newcastle presently average just 308 whereas Arsenal (as expected) dominate in this area with a mean of 507.
Norwich v Newcastle:
The defensive data highlights the strength of Newcastle currently and how they by far outdo today’s opponents in terms of goals conceded. The influence of Tim Krul in goal has had a major impact on this and the improved number of defensive errors compared to Norwich is also a critical factor. Having said that, the two are not too dissimilar in the other defending numbers.
That statement is also reflected in the attacking stats. Norwich are currently producing more crosses than Newcastle at a slightly more significant success rate. The following chalkboards show that Norwich are more dominant crossing from their left, meaning Simpson (if playing right-back) will need to completely switched on and those in cetre-back must be prepared for an aerial battle.
The Canaries have created 21 more chances (including assists) than NUFC, scoring one more goal overall. But again, looking through the remaining data shows just how similar the performances of these two sides have been thus far.
In conclusion, the numbers paint a pretty ‘average’ picture for both clubs and they would suggest this game has DRAW written all over it. However, Newcastle United know this league inside and out in comparison to the Canaries and have a ‘paper’ team far more efficient than Norwich’s. While the current injury crisis will have shook the Black and Whites, in Demba Ba they have one of the most potent strikers currently in the league and with the right service, they should have too much for Paul Lambert’s men.
NUFC_Stats prediction – Norwich 1-2 Newcastle