How can double Demba dominate with goals?

Much has been covered over the past week or so of the arrival of Papiss Demba Cisse, the Senegalese front man being a superb coup for Newcastle United in a stage in their maturation where it didn’t look like signings like that were any longer possible.

And, there is no doubting the guy has the class that could take Newcastle United forward in their bid to turn from a Premier League stance retention side, to a European challenger.

For that to come to fruition, Cisse is going to have to duplicate the performance and goal record of his Senegal colleague Demba Ba at NUFC and the only way that is possible, is if further back in the team supply the lethal frontmen with the chances they need.

On Saturday away at Fulham, the opposite was evident. Newcastle produced enough chances (6 in each half) to arguably win 2 games, but they failed to take 10 of them. But, this hasn’t always been the case. Most fans will agree that NUFC have been solid defensively for best part of the season, barring a few performances, and what they have lacked most is that creative cutting edge.

NUFC_Stats looked into the numbers for the chances being created in Premier League games from the team.

The supply at NUFC

NUFC - Top 10 chance creators, organised by 'per game on average'

There won’t be many surprised to see that Yohan Cabaye is the top creator – with 1.6 chances created per game, he is putting them on a plate the most regular at the club. However, the Frenchman isn’t responsible for the most assists, that title falls to Shola Ameobi and Ryan Taylor. Having said that, an assist does depend on the player given the chance, as only when it is ‘notched’ does the chance created become an assist.

It is also clear of the threat Ryan Taylor poses when he is in the team. The versatile squad man produces more chances from set plays than any other player at NUFC. Probably not a surprise to most, but the emphasis here is that Ba & Cisse will thrive on the kind of service that Taylor produces, and consistently too!

Leon Best is doing what he can in terms of setting up; double the games started compared to Shola and pretty much double the chances – although, when you look at the actual time played of each, Best is doing significantly more for the cause (Best 1074 mins, Ameobi 721 mins).

Fans’ favourite Hatem Ben Arfa looks to be finding his feet again and his performance against Fulham at the weekend showed glimpses of the flair and excitement NUFC can expect when he is back to 100% – he looks like the one that could be Newcastle’s answer to Silva and Co. and there’s no doubt that with him in the team, NUFC look a more exhilarating outfit. 2 goals, 2 assists, most productive dribbler and nearly a chance a game make him imperative for the team on Ba & Cisse’s return.

A word also on Jonas Gutierrez – a lot of fans are becoming a little disillusioned with the Argentine’s contribution to the team. While everyone knows of his hard work and commitment to the team, the arrival of Davide Santon to the first team means he no longer needs to play as deep as he has this year and instead needs to fashion more going forward.

In 21 starts, he produces the 2nd most dribbles and some times the most excitement at Newcastle, but he has created the same number of chances as Obertan, even though the Frenchmen has started 4 less games. Jonas also only has 1 assist and 1 goal to his name in that time, which is not a great return for a player possessing the quality he does.

The Premier League’s best

Premier League top 10 chance creators - per game

Compared to Juan Mata, who currently is the most frequent chance provider in the Premier League, NUFC’s leading man, Yohan Cabaye, is producing just half of what the Spanish man is, and only 17 of his 63 created chances have come from a set play.

While no one is arguing that Yohan Cabaye is not the player Juan Mata is, a look further down the table at the likes of Murphy, Gower and Baines show just how short NUFC’s playmakers are in the chance creation trumps. 6 of those top 10 Premier League chance creators either create or nearly create double every chance provider at NUFC other than Yohan Cabaye (although Silva, Bale and Mata aren’t far off that feat).

Again, it can’t be expected of Cabaye to provide as they do, as his game is a lot different as a midfielder – Cabaye has a more defensive mind and plays his game in a more combative nature. But, there clearly needs to be more from other players in the team who’s job description includes creativity and creating opportunities for our 19 and 9.

Around Europe

Europe's top leagues - Top 10 chance creators, per game

A look at the numbers from players in the top leagues around Europe show just how far away some of NUFC’s ‘creators’ are, but also how influential some of the Premier League’s top midfielders can be and the competition the likes of Cabaye face week in, week out.

Only Nene of PSG creates more chances per game than Chelsea’s Juan Mata, in what could be described as a less aggressive and less physical league in France. Further to Mata, with Bale, Nasri and Silva there also, England’s top flight have 4 representatives in the top 10 around Europe’s elite for creating chances, which is the best representation. Serie A have 3, Ligue 1 have 2 and 1 for the Bundesliga – quite surprising that you have to get to 13th before you see a representative of La Liga; Joan Verdu of Espanyol, just 2 places ahead of Fulham’s Danny Murphy in chances created per game on average.

Whichever way you look at it, and whatever players you look at it, if Demba Ba and Papiss Demba Cisse are going to continue the good scoring form that has seen NUFC reach the heights they have thus far, they are going to need the service.

While it’s critical that defensive lapses like Saturday cannot become too frequent, the players chosen in the units behind the front two need to move their game on somewhat and ensure enough provision is taking place to provide the front men with the ‘ammunition’ they need.

The Cabaye’s, Obertan’s and Jonas’ of this world are not going to turn into Mata’s or Nene’s overnight, but to sustain a place in Alan Pardew’s targeted Europa Cup, Newcastle United need to produce a little more creativity at times, especially away from home and keep this brilliant season alive.


64 thoughts on “How can double Demba dominate with goals?

  1. Morning all. Great read mate. Some real work gone into that one!

    I’m just wondering how we’re going to play with the two strikers, and what is going to happen to Ben Arfa? I mean if we are playing two up top then we won’t be plying Benny in the No10 role, which means he’ll be on the right which will increase the supply line surely?


  2. Individuals performance stats can be misleading IMO.

    The better the player, generally play for the best teams. It’s easier to perform better with better players around you.

    Put Mata in our team and his stats wouldnt be as healthy.


  3. I can’t wait to get these two back. At their very worst, they would still be twice as good as the two we currently have playing up top for us.


  4. I can see Barfa becoming a love or hate player.

    Similar to Laurent Robert. He will entertain sporadically, able to change games with moments of genius but criticised for not being a team player.


  5. Good article hopefully HBA can provide a few too

    BA has got a lot of his goals out of nothing mind but he does make things happen.

    Good article heightens the need for creativity maybe hoillet would be a good buy.


  6. Never understood this thing people have for winger who can cross? A romantic outdated notion….

    What’s wrong with having winger who can cut in and create problems themselves?


  7. Toonsy I’d like a winger who can do both 😉 …nowt wrong with outdated notions, most were saying 442 was a dead sytem on here pre season, but at times it’s served us quite well :mrgreen:


  8. A winger has to be able to cross well or he is not a winger but is a midfielder who can’t get his place in midfield. 😯


  9. Maybe it was just hear say, pure and simple that HBA wanted the number 10 role. He’s mint when he plays on the wing. Creates for himself and other people.

    I can’t actually remember any quotes about the number 10 role.


  10. Nobby – This is it. Benny has never been known for his crossing but he’s scored what, 3 in 4 games now and setup another couple?


  11. @Nobby

    From 4-4-2 mag

    😯 😯 😯 😯 😯


  12. Im with you toonsy and the way most teams play ie the 4-3-3 it almost eradicates the winger.

    Zaha hoilett sinclair are all good pacy options. Cant see happening until summer though


  13. Troy@13
    Hope so Troy. I love seeing Dogliesh suffer. Hope he takes them right down like he did with us.

    I think Barfa has got incredible skill on the ball, a fine shot and can put in a decent cross, which for me, makes him a winger. He just doesn’t have the movement, determination or workrate in his game to play in the middle.

    If you look at how players like Messi and Özil move and work when they don’t have the ball, you see the difference between an absolute world class player and a talented skillful club player. The best example of a no.10 in the English game is Wayne Rooney.


  14. I wonder how many opportunities have been wasted by Barfa cutting in instead of passing or crossing? 😯

    There’s a balance to be had. 🙄


  15. Troy

    Ben Arfa has started five games this season and got four goals and two assists. So I would imagine not many opportunities have been wasted.

    His flaws come when we are NOT in possession.


  16. @JJ

    you need the same work ethic on the flanks. I don’t believe Barfa has it. That’s why I believe he will become a marmite player.
    A luxury, only finding his place in the team at home or coming on for the last 20 mins to change the game.

    It’s no good pulling off moments of genius up front when you aren’t tracking back to defend.

    We let 5 goals in last game. If Obertan had been grafting on the wing, supporting the RB, maybe that might have been different. 😯


  17. People moan about his flaws but a lot of our 1st starters have a lot of flaws,

    Krul: kicks it out of play too much
    Simpson: poor touch sometimes
    Colo: Pushing it at a flaw lol but pace?
    Willo: same as above and touch sometimes,
    Santon: tracking a runner i.e fulham and WBA goals.
    Jonas: no consistent service
    Cabaye and tiote: dwelling on the ball in our half.
    Best: absolutely loads. Seen the highlights of Fulham and didnt see him touch the ball.
    Ameobi: far too inconsistent.

    How come no ones getting dropped like Benny for any of these?


  18. I think going forward we are gonna see a 4-3-3 been deployed with Ba out left Ben Arfa out right and Cisse through the middle.


  19. Troy – Who scored their goals?? they were direct balls over our defence and most of them bypassed the midfielders which is our weak spot/ achilles heel


  20. Jonas has started 21 games with one goal and ONE assist. For all his excellent work off the ball, he is pretty unproductive on it for a winger.

    Obertan has two assists from 18 games. And for me isn’t too far behind Jonas when it comes to his off the ball play.

    Compare them to the best winger in the country, Gareth Bale, who has seven goals and seven assists from 21 games. The are a long long long way behind.


  21. “I think going forward we are gonna see a 4-3-3 been deployed with Ba out left Ben Arfa out right and Cisse through the middle.”

    I think as an attacking option that is our best formation, because in all honestly our winger are a waste of space.

    Would much rather play with two attacking wing backs like Santon on the left and Raylor on the right… Or even Jonas on the left and Santon on the right.




    __________Ben Arfa______Cisse______Ba______________

    Santon and Jonas pushing up the flanks, Tiote as an achor man, Cabaye and Guthrie feeding passings and playing box to box. Ba dropping into the “hole” and holding up the ball, Ben Arfa doing the same or running the channels, and Cisse to put the ball in the net and also run the channels…

    What you think? Might work, might not…

    Away from home I’d be inclined to stick to a more defensive 442 with Obertan and Jonas giving defensive cover on the wings and playing on the counter attack.


  22. “toonarmy87
    January 25, 2012 at 09:48

    I feel cisse was bought because we like to play 2 strikers. I hope this cisse has some pace”

    He isn’t lightning but he’s 10x faster than Shola.


  23. @toonyarmylite

    Cos it’s horses for courses. Barfa can’t convince the manager he is a team player. He can be a liability when he holds onto the ball and runs into trouble, putting us on the back foot.

    He then comes up with a moment of genius which no other player has the ability to do.

    He doesn’t seem to have a natural position from what I’ve seen. Wherever he plays he plays for himself.

    There’s going to be some hard decisions for Pardew to make with Barfa. Pardew is on a loser whichever way he goes. Drop him or play him and he will face criticism.

    I believe, he should be automatic in a full strength team as those players will cover for his flaws.
    In a weakened side, then he’s a luxury and the skill and experience from those players highlight Barfa’s flaws.


  24. JJ yeah that is how I would play butI think I would have Simpson right back and Santon left back , I know Jonas tracks back and works hard but I dunno about him as a full back. I know he played their under Maradona for Argentina but I think we would be better defesnivly with Simpson.


  25. Watford manager on Talksport coming on around midday supposedly criticising NUFC for putting a derisory offer in for malappa (forgive spelling).

    According to Richard Keys, he’s fizzin with the Toon. 😯


  26. @32 – Why? If they dont like the offer they can reject it. End of story. Nothing to get shirty about. Sounds like he’s being an attention whore to me.


  27. Shamrock took the words out of my mouth…. he knows they need money and driving the point that they wlll sell at right price. Sounds like a donkey to me.


  28. Statto, interesting reading. Would it be better to see chances created from open play, seperate to set pieces. Then the person taking all the set pieces wouldnt be as high (Raylor). On Jonas, doesnt he win most of our set pieces, ‘assisting the assist’, but how far can you take it?? Remember Jonas spent most of this season Playing Left Back, supported by Raylor!!
    Love the Stats tho, Keep on Producing em.


  29. Double standards by Dyche criticizing Newcastle and then gobbing off in the press, cant see us going back in for that player


  30. Nobby, you are the only person here sad enough to still remember them that’s why! 😉 😆

    LST – £3m being quoted for him, bit steep for somebody most of us had never heard of until last week. It’s not like he’s some foreign gem. He’s not exactly so young he’s not had a chance to get nnoticed yet either…

    I’m sure he’s got potential if Pards is looking at him, but you pay big money for big players, not players that maybe one day might turn out to be better than they currently are…Unless they are 17/18 with obvious ability and scope for improvement… He’s missed that boat though.


  31. I wouldnt give them any money for this guy even watford fans are saying he isnt good enough for the premier league, The prices some championship clubs are asking for their shite players are laughable wham wanting £8m for tomkins who got done practically every week in the top flight last season and this clown wanting silly money for someone nee fecker had heard of until a few days ago… 🙄


  32. Aye shamrock what do they expect? 🙄
    Winds me up these championship managers complaining if they were that good and worth that much they wouldnt in the championship in the first place.

    Looking forward to the rant. Mariappa must be unhappy though dyche has effectively ruined his chances of the biggest move of his entire career


  33. @37

    If you subtract the ‘set plays’ chances from the total chances, it will give you the open play value.



  34. @nobby

    Shadap man!! 😈

    Danny Foster
    Myleene Klass
    Suzanne Shaw
    Noel Sullivan
    Kym Marsh
    Johnny Shentall


  35. Statto very good read mate 😉
    On the Marriappa thing well it sounds as though we did try to get him, but was he the CH that we would slot straight into the team ? He has no prem experience at all, and I can’t really see him being any better than Willo 😕


  36. Amry- lee ryder hasnt a clue mate hedging his bets.
    I could have told you that after palace went out there could be a chance we are in for him.
    Remember cisse didnt have a giraffe.

    On zaha he looks a bit raw to me …. what you think lads?


  37. zaha is no better than lua lua who went to brighton!! hes not been tested in the prem , he would be a gamble!!! no thanks from me!! and it 10 million??? are they havn a laugh?? cisse wasnt even 10 million and he scores bags of goals!! we NEED a center half!! ridgewell?? samba?? douglas??


  38. I thought zaha looked like a black jonas, wriggly and good at drawing free kicks but lacking in quality with his final pass and his finishing was woeful when he was put in one on one.

    For me players like Hoilett and even Jarvis from wolves are better bets for the ammount they are no doubt asking…


  39. on erding he never wanted to come to us so stuff him!! hope he doesnt get a game with rennes ….. sour grapes 😆 …. erding or cisse??? cisse seems 10 x the player !! buzzing weve got cisse like , gna watch him tonight on eurosport at half 6


  40. Big Steve – If you click on the pictures you get to see them in a much bigger size. Then just press the back button/arrow on your browser to bring you back to this page 🙂


  41. Army, I did not fancied him either. Just caught my eye as it is rare you hear footballers moving purely to play regular footy these days instead of sitting and taking the money…


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