15 games in and creeping towards the hectic Christmas schedule, Newcastle United sit tightly in the upper regions of the Barclays Premier League, squeezed out of the UEFA Cup spots by only 3 points and goal difference. 7 wins, 5 draws, 3 losses and 26 points out of 45 make very reasonable reading for a team that two years ago were languishing in the depths of the then ‘fizzy pop‘ league.
Performing at such a level, especially after the ill-hearted pre season campaign, has brought back a little bit of that ‘Keegan/Robson’ tingle and while it is crucially important for us all to not get carried away, one must wonder what the team that Pardew had begun assembling has actually been doing to get Newcastle United temporarily back to those withering heights.
NUFC_Stats took a look at the numbers for each squad player that had appeared in the top league so far:
Yohan Cabaye’s data stands out like a Sir Alex’s nose, topping the charts at the club for appearances, assists, tackles, key passes and crosses. No wonder Graham Carr was such a fan of this lad and no surprise to that he has won the credentials he has already – Cabaye is a player NUFC have longed for over the last near-decade or so; a creative thinker with ‘dreamy’ technique, someone with the class to open up oppositions and provide opportunities for others in the team.
Cheik Tiote’s numbers make very decent reading too. Other than tackling, Tiote’s data reflects what we know of him via observation – the tough tackling and team-disturbing Ivorian is key for NUFC when breaking teams down and retaining possession but even more important, his distribution is very impressive; he makes more passes on average than anyone and his pass succession is very good. Adversely, he does get dispossessed more than anyone at the club, again a factor that most fans will have observed once or twice!
The stats also make pretty good reading for solid pair Coloccini and Steven Taylor. A combination of most clearances, most shot blocks and very pleasing pass succession rates show just how much the two are missed when they don’t feature in the black and white team.
Demba Ba shows why he has the goal record he has; notching those 11 goals from the best shots per game record of 2.6, while Leon Best shows his importance to the team with his joint top assists score and his 2nd placed shots per game value.
Gutierrez is also up there in terms of getting his shots off; 1.6 he manages on average per game and creatively, he is trying to bolster Newcastle’s attacking ranks with his top scoring 1.2 dribbles per game.
While the positive points are there for the eye to ponder (and highlighted in green!), so too are the negative ones. But, as it’s close to Christmas and as the Geordie nation need a fix of inspiration and optimism after the last few games, that’s better left for another time!