Obertan & Gutierrez – A Faulty Production Line?

Ask any of the Newcastle United faithful if they would have snatched off the proverbial hand if offered 7th in the table at this stage of the campaign, in early July, and the majority of answers will be the same.

However, falling from the dizzy heights of 2nd (temporarily) and unbeaten to where they lie now, in such a short period of games, has a left lot of the Magpie contingent feeling a little glum as the festive period approaches.

The defensive frailties were apparent to even the most naïve of football fans against Norwich on Saturday; a team totally devoid of any settled centre back was duly taken advantage of by a clever and well organised Norwich team who had one thing, and one thing only in mind; ‘bang it into the box!’.

However, when you cut through the 14 performances so far this season, and when you slide the defensive record to one side, the eyes come across more defects in the current NUFC setup – imperfections linked to their goal-getting play.

Newcastle now stand at 10th in the table for conceded goals, mainly down to the impact the last two games’ results have had but more worryingly they sit only 8th for number of goals scored this season, just one goal more than bottom club Bolton.

The Toon currently only spend 27% of their lowly possession in games in the oppositions half (the 2nd lowest in the PL), so it is of mass importance that when the ball does reach those areas, good things are done with it. Initiated attacks to get there are very well balanced; 31% originate from the left, 31% centrally and 38% from the right. It would appear though that Newcastle’s problems in attack start here; with their 16th placed 12.6 shots on average per game, 62% them derive from central areas, with 27% coming from the left and only 12% (lowest in Premier League) coming from the right.

It has to be said, that in Demba Ba, NUFC have one of the buys of the season and his 11 goal return so far has been a dominating shining light for the St. James’ Park outfit. But, adding to that Shola Ameobi and Leon Best, Newcastle’s strike force all appear to be shaped from a similar mould.

Throw pending January signing Modibo Maiga into that mixture and, in the stereotypical 4-4-2 Alan Pardew insists on playing, Newcastle have a bunch of spearheads that thrive on service; service that should come from crucial areas as the wide flanks. Therein, it would seem, lies the main problem. What are Jonas Gutierrez and Gabriel Obertan offering for out talented talisman?

Obertan @ NUFC

New signing Obertan arguably plays the traditional wide role for Newcastle. He has pace in abundance, an athletic frame and razor sharp technique with the ball at his feet, able to cut any fullback from the game.

At NUFC, he plays the 7th average number of passes (just 28.5) a game, which ultimately raises questions over his involvement. With those passes, he is 11th in the squad for their completion rate, only 0.2 of them per game being successful crosses (see from the chalkboards below, he has produced just one successful cross in the last six games). He does though play the 3rd most key passes per game on average but is yet to play a through ball this season.

He has no goals to his name yet and of his 0.9 shots on average a game, he is yet to register one on target! Obertan is the 2nd best dribbler alongside Ben Arfa, with one per game, and he gets dispossessed the 4th most frequently, a statistic that may be of surprise to many fans.

Gutierrez @ NUFC

Jonas, on the opposite flank, has one goal to his name which he managed from his 4th best 1.6 shots at goal per game average. He is also 4th with his key passes and he is NUFC’s top dribbler, producing 17 successful runs in his 14 games. Gutierrez is the most fouled player in the Premier League alongside Ashley Young and he is the 10th most dispossessed player there (2nd most dispossessed at NUFC after Tiote).

He is 9th at Newcastle in the table for average passes per game, worse than Obertan he plays just 27.6 and he is 13th with that passing accuracy. In terms of crossing, he is the 4th best producer at the black and whites with 0.6 successful per game on average and like Obertan, he is yet to play a through ball (see relevance in chalkboards).

NUFC's last 6 games - Successful crosses

Against the best

The above table shows that the numbers make pretty dire reading for Newcastle’s widemen when compared to the best from the top 6. The stand out figures being Obertan’s lack of tackles won, his crossing accuracy and the amount of chances presently being created and taken by the pair.

In a little Christmas nut shell, it doesn’t surprise me that Gabriel Obertan is offering very little defensively, but going forward his game needs a very big overhaul also. Whether lacking in confidence or still adapting to the English game, Obertan needs to step his game up if Newcastle are going to challenge for places in the top ten this year.

For Jonas, his provision of cover for Ryan Taylor at important times this season has showed his defensive qualities and the numbers reflect that, but again going forward the Argentinian flatters to deceive, especially when you look at what the ‘top’ wingers are doing. Newcastle have strikers ‘made’ for service such as wide deliveries and it seems the production line is a little too rusty at this moment in time. Here’s hoping it’s oiled and ready for a home battle against Swansea at the weekend!

41 thoughts on “Obertan & Gutierrez – A Faulty Production Line?

  1. Jonas is a good defensiveminded winger, shame he wasn´t with us against Chelski but I´m disappointed with Obertan. He should use his pace more instead of stopping and just running past his defender. With more crosses from the wingers, Demba will produce more goals!


  2. It’s a shame when the two wingers are being scrutinised for not performing when really the real problem is the central defence.

    No one battered an eyelid about their attacking qualities when Jonas and Ober were working tirelessly in supporting the best defence in the league for the first 10 games.

    They might feel more confident to rove forward if Raylor and Simpson were more competent and if Perch could head a ball. 😯


  3. Don’t know what it is with Obertan. He has the attributes to be brilliant but he just lacks that killer instinct to be able to go at defenders. He did start to show a bit of form before his injury so perhaps he is one of them players who takes a while to get in his stride?


  4. I’ve just spent a fortune on one of those life size plaster cows for my front garden!

    I live on an ordinary housing estate which makes it look more interesting!

    Mooooo 😯


  5. Areet lads?
    I think Jonas’s profile has shot up this season because of how well he’s played in backing up Raylor. To be totally honest, apart from a few flashes, I still think his end product leaves a lot to be desired at this level. Still love the bloke though!
    As for Oberton, I agree with Toonsy in that he could have the potential to be amazing but keep finding meself screaming at the telly for him to pass the ball when the oppurtunity invariably presents itself before he reaches the byline, which always seems to be his goal when often the earlier, simpler pass could prove a hell of a lot more effective, and thus, deadlier, which is something i found watching Jonas’s early performances.
    By the way, did the rezzies finish 1-1 this afternoon and has anybody heard owt about the outcome of Maiga’s medical the day?


  6. I think we need a better plan for Obertan going forward. Other than poor crosses and even weaker shots toward goal he mainly rushes wildly down the pitch and then stops and taps the ball back to Simpson. This just isn’t enough variety. He should be working closely with Ben Arfa (when he is on) and clearly both wingers need to play some through balls! All in all I don’t think it looks all that promising for Obertan as far as offence is concerned but I think Troy has it right when he says our main problem is the centre back positions. Willo played 45 minutes for the reserves, I was hoping for more like 75 minutes. Does that indicate he is still very short on stamina or was it more to do with the pitch conditions given the weather? Where does Colo stand as far as fitness is concerned? Please, no Simpson and Perch as the CB’s or we will probably surrender at least 1 or 2 goals even against Swansea.


  7. Obertan is a confidence player and also he does tend to lack the brain power to give an end product to his game and also at times he tends to have his head in the clouds but I do think he will have that coached into him in time.

    Jonas to me has looked a little bit burned out and certainly hasn’t appeared to be enjoying his game as much which shows at times because offensively he runs at brick walls rather than doing what he’s really good at.
    I would put this down to him taking too much strain on board defensively though which as good as his engine is, it’s an energy zapper to do what he does and it’s bound to burn him out a bit.

    I love Jonas though because even when he looks out of sorts, he still gives it his all and Obertan just needs an arm round his shoulder and a few days sat on a stool with the chalkboard tactics drummed into his head.


  8. I think our main concern right now should be squad selection against Swansea. Please Pardew don’t pair Perch with Simpson as the CBs! Put a taller stronger player in there (surely it has to be Santon!). I know we are desperately thin but if we play Perch and Simpson in the middle again Swansea will score, simple as that. Our midfield is now also depleted so we are actually in pretty horrible shape for this match. Cabaye will have to run the show again but surely we need to give Bennie a chance with Ba. Bring Shola on if necessary but not to start. I think it will be a must for us to score first but then keep pressing them high up the field. They have Graham and Sinclair to attack with 9 goals between them.


  9. Guys I know him very well I live in France and I see Obertan playing since his debut at Bordeaux in 2006. This guy has a potential but he cannot use that! He has bad crosses, he cannot make good passes and he always tries to do things he s not able to do. His football is too complicated, if he played more simply he would be better! He’s technically limitated And with that I think he’s too intimidated and he doesnt score goals. Jonas doesnt score too but his work is indispensable for us. Look a Joey Barton last year when he played right winger. He hasn’t the profile of a winger but he compensate by his passing abilities and played the most simply possible and he made a great season. I think we need to buy a guy like Barnetta or Hoillett.


  10. Blackbarton, some players take time to settle into their natural game and Obertan is one of those but I believe he can do that.

    When we bought Enrique and Colo they both looked like a waste of time and very few of us felt comfortable with them in the team..

    It’s amazing what time and patience can do for a player.


  11. The Swansea attack is basically Graham and Sinclair with 9 goals between them. Normally this would be a piece of cake for us at home but the injuries mean this will be a very tough one to win. We definitely need more service from the wings for Ba and whoever else we play (probably Shola as Pardew doesn’t like to change the lineup). What has happened to poor Hatem? Surely these are games where his skill would benefit us most? I think Pardew thinks of him as a defensive liability but if he could score one and set one up??


  12. Obertan has been really disappointing as of late. Think he may be one for playing away against weaker sides for his pace on the counter but that`s about it, his end product has been awful considering he is the one with more license to attack out of himself and Jonas. I would like to see Pardew try Ben Arfa on the right against Swansea with Ba and Best through the middle, doubt he will though.

    Jonas has been immense this season in a defensive sense but in games where we are on top you can see he has very little end product, always has, always will I think. Think it is a personal opinion one on Jonas. I was a big fan of the likes of Laurent Robert even though he was a lazy git at times, he could put a ball on a strikers head better than most and chip in with an absolute belter every now and again. I like wingers to frighten defences, not protect full backs. Best form of defence is attack and all that.

    Do agree with Troy though, it is hard to be critical of either, Jonas especially, when our full backs have needed a lot of protection this season. Hopefully that changes in the near future with stronger full backs.


  13. WOLFIE Maybe you’re right and I hope he will improve, but I think Ben Arfa would be better than him. This guys didn’t play when he was at bordeaux, he moved on loan at Lorient, he didn’t there too. When he signed for MU, I was shocked because nobody have ever seen something special in Obertan, When Colo signed he already was an international, he was part of the team at World Cup 2006, Jose enrique was already know as good player in Spain. Its not the same thing. They signed in a difficult period of the club.


  14. Criticism of Jonas is pretty stupid, its the price we pay for having to carry Ryan Taylor defensively in all games. Not that he contributes a large number of goals or assists in a season anyway, all of his attacking play is limited because of all the defending he needs to do.

    As for Obertan, his problem is that he just doesn’t seem to do anything. I swear if I see him sprint into the box before stopping and not crossing or shooting next weekend I’ll have a breakdown.


  15. Obertan is terribly bad imo, I also think he is the full product already as I dont feel that Sir Alex would let him go on a cheap.

    However Jonas is decent enough and a grafter!


  16. Goerdietwo-We didn’t play Hatem against Norwich because our centre backs were so small, and we needed Shola to defend set pieces. Not that it fcking worked anyway eh 👿


  17. Stats, more really interesting facts to mull over but really quite concerning.

    Our poor attacking and lack of goals has worried me so far this season and in particular our goals for stats are terrible. To be on par with Bolton is ridiculous, they have been piss poor so far this season.
    I think your right to highlight the wingers because I think all in all they have been really poor. I get that theyve been called upon to help out defensively, but all wingers will be from time to time in a game. But the fact is they have also found themselves in more advanced positions during games and just haven’t been effective.
    Obertan proved that he could do it against Stoke and looked really good that game but that’s been the only time so far. Jonas scored a cracking goal against Wolves and also proved he can be a threat going forward but they are flashes in a very dull pan so far.
    They can be good enough but if we are to win more games and push on this season, those 2 players are going to have to get the balance right between helping the full backs and feeding the forwards.


  18. Was there any point in bringing ferguson on for 40seconds…..? When he could have started at left back with santon in middle.?


  19. Toonfroggy just giving the kid a small run out can integrate him back into the fold.
    It’s more of a statement by the manager to say, you are in the plans.


  20. I totally agree with Troy@2 , The stats are proof of how much work they put in to support the fullbacks witch is were our real problem lies , as a team our workrate effort and commitment is second to none but we lack qaulity at lb and rb have no cover at cb and only have one really good stricker .
    With a good left back we know what spidey can deliver he can beat defenders for fun and can dribble well , he makes his long runs beating 2 3 or 4 defenders from our half looks up and is on the half way line he must be devastated ! with a good left back he could push on high up the field .
    Obertan im not so sure about but he is young and hasent played that much prem football but time will tell .


  21. Great article Statto. 😛

    I think Obertan is a down market clone for Guti. Guti has so much more to his overall game and his workrate means he is a valuable 1st team player.

    Whilst Guti may not provide direct assists or goals as often as we would like, he offers so much to the side and draws players out. We can do without consistent crosses on his behalf because of what he offers, but we DO need crosses. These should be provided by the other winger. Obertan fails consistently to find the through ball,cross, shot on target and instead just runs into trouble or gives the ball away. He needs to change his style and stay wide. Stop cutting inside, get the crosses in. If not, we should be looking at somebody else coming in next season who will put balls into the box regularly. Ameobi, Ba etc would thrive in such conditions.

    It’s no good having pace to burn if you do nothing with it and I think this article is very relevant to looking at areas we need to improve in, as whilst we have defensive frailties we need to rely on attacking prowess. Being unable to provide a consistent threat from wide areas leaves us seriously lacking and I would be very concerned about the results we will be capable of obtaining in the next couple of months.


  22. I mention this problem with Obertan in all the club where he had played, his stats are really really poor. He never was a french international player even if the french team is always looking for a right winger. He has done one or 2 good games, against Blackburn and against Stoke. He is very poor dribbler because he never eliminates his opponent, his opponent just goes back with him during 30 meters and after Obertan just loose the ball or try a shoot but his shoot is very poor. But where i dont understand Pardew is that Obertan has start all the games when he was available and was almost very ineffcient offensively and even defensively he is not very good if we compare him to Jonas. So why Hatem Ben Arfa who has done 2 very good game against the Manchester clubs and just one bad half-time against Chelsea( and it was not completely his fault because the first half was really very very strange and so he never receives the ball) was directly take off and he played 00 minutes last game. I think Pardew must be very careful with his plan to try to never change a winning team because i followed all the games and in some games we was really lucky because Krul saved us in some actions and after we scored the first goal and after it is more easy.
    For jonas, i would say there is no surprise with the ball he does some strange things but all his game is based on his physical abilities. And he really defends a lot, and i can say too much for me. Because in almost all the games we never have the possesion because the teams goes back to far and so when we retrieiving the ball, we are in our box and there is only Ba sometimes ahead to give the ball, so very difficult to play like that.
    In my opinion, we need to play HBA in the right wing with Ba and Best in attack, so we will be more dangerous for the opponent and he will be more frightenn to attack with all his players.


  23. heres why
    obertan no crosses no shots no penetrating passes

    HBA is capable and has shown all of the above.

    But it definitely puts simmo in the lights with no offensive protection


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