Blackburn v Newcastle – Stat Attack

Tonight will see the Mighty Magpies face Blackburn Rovers for the 4th time this season – two wins and one defeat the record.

Back in September, you will probably remember the ever-impressing Demba Ba bagging his first hat trick for the club in the 3-1 home win against Rovers in the Premier League, a game where at the time, clubs were still figuring each other out.

Some four months down the line, NUFC find themselves in the top six of England’s elite, whereas for Blackburn, the very real prospect of a relegation war hanging over them. The question is; what do Blackburn have in store this time?

Blackburn – In the PL

The Lancashire side are currently the 2nd most aggressive side in the league after bullies Chelsea, notching up 43 yellow cards and 3 reds.

Relating to that, Rovers commit the 2nd most fouls per game after Wigan Athletic – 12.8 per game on average.

They have the 2nd lowest possession rating after Stoke City, with a miserly 42.5% of possession on average in Premier League games.

Further to that, only Bolton and Stoke have worst pass success rates, just 72.9% of Blackburn’s passes are accurate at present.

Blackburn do however produce the 2nd most interceptions per game after Bolton Wanderers (18.6). For reference, NUFC currently intercept the ball 15.6 times per game, which is the 11th best in the Premier League.

They have scored the 2nd most set piece goals after Manchester City. With 12, they are 7 ahead of NUFC.

But, they produce the lowest crosses per game in whole division, just 16 per game – surprising considering some of their strongest players are wide men.

They also produce the 2nd fewest short passes per game after Stoke City (279).

And, they have the lowest % of initiated attacks in the Premier League from the right hand side – 28% only NUFC have a lower % of shots coming from the right hand side, meaning Davide Santon and Jonas Gutierrez should be able to apply some extensive attacking pressure.

Blackburn are the only team yet to keep a clean sheet in the Premier League this season and they have lost more points from games than any other team – drawn four when winning and lost two when winning – 14 points they’ve chucked away!

Who to keep an eye on

Mauro Formica – The Argentine stops the most dribbles per game in the entire Premier League (1.8), so there’s little point in driving the ball in his direction!

David Hoilett – With 2.9 dribbles per game, he is the leagues top dribbler. He also also creates the 2nd most chances at Blackburn Rovers and has more assists at the club than any other player Blackburn (4).

Morten Gamst Pedersen – The Norwegian creates the most chances at Blackburn Rovers (34), mainly from set plays (17) and he is their top crosser by a ‘country mile’, with 119 crosses thus far compared to 42 by Hoilett who fares 2nd.

Steven N’Zonzi – The Frenchman will look to control the game for Blackburn. Their ‘pass master’ has played 1117 passes in the Premier League, over 400 more than 2nd placed Pedersen, at an 82% pass rate.

NUFC of late

6 of the last 8 open play goals conceded by NUFC in PL

A look through the recent goals against archive doesn’t bring good news regarding the Toon. Last week’s thrashing by Fulham highlighted just how easy they are to unlock at the back, particularly centrally, and how missed Geordie boy Steven Taylor is. Looking further back, 6 from the last 8 open play goals (see chalkboards) show NUFC’s weakness at centre half and Blackburn will try to play similarly in a bid to hurt Alan Pardew’s side.

Where at Norwich, NUFC lacked aerial presence to deal with balls in, lately the direct and ‘slipped’ ball through our centre pairing at the back has caused many problems, especially against forwards with pace. Newcastle will need to play smarter and probably deeper to stop this problem rearing its head too regularly.

NUFC_Stats prediction: 2-2

112 thoughts on “Blackburn v Newcastle – Stat Attack

  1. Shola is rubbish, Best is goal shy.

    I hope we manage not to concede any goals.
    Maybe the planets will be aligned and Shola will have his one-good performance-in-ten, who knows?


  2. ” TBH cabaye hasn’t been the creative force we need in midfield,”

    Does this mean you don’t think he’s lived up to his initial billing then BB?


  3. I think Vukic still needs to realise that he’s a number 9. Hell of a hoof on him and battles to the ball through the middle. For that reason, and because Santon’s been error-prone and we need Raylor’s right hoof, I’m hoping for:

    Simmo – Colo – Willo – Raylor
    Benny – Guthrie (C) – Gosling – Jonas

    Not sure if Vukic and Gosling can play together, though…


  4. The great news is that we’ve turfed Smith out – no chance of him playing!
    Just have to pray that Perch doesn’t start in a DM role.

    Would like to see 4-1-3-1-1:

    Gutierrez, Guthrie, Obertan

    Benny from the bench for me – if/when Samba ends one of his runs and gets the ball to Hoillett, we’ll be in trouble!


  5. Cabaye hasn’t had the chance to be the creative force in midfield lately because he’s been spending it busting his bollocks running around mopping up.
    What goes unnoticed though is the fact that he still plays some cracking passes from distance as well as clever through balls to the strikers, unfortunately most of the time they aren’t on his wavelength and most go unnoticed because they come to nothing.

    Cabaye is a terrier and make no mistake but to have an influence fully in the game both in breaking up play and making opportunities for others as well as himself, he needs an equally willing ball winner and that is Tiote who isn’t here.

    Now we have to re-group and find a happy medium in midfield while Cabaye and Tiote are absent and this is where teams are made or broken but I have every faith that we will cope and learn as we do, giving us much stronger options for later.


  6. my team for tonight

    simp colo wilo santon
    ober guth gos jonas

    will be very happy with a draw tonight!! if we play 4-4-2 please god dont let shola play and play loven!!
    a repeat of brighton peformance and there wont be many happy toon fans

    my heart says blackburn 1 newcastle 2
    my head says blackburn 3 newcastle 1


  7. EF – I’m sure he could but he never plays 90 minutes and you need a regular 90 minutes player to take your kicks.


  8. My Team for tonight

    santon colo wilo raylor
    ober guth gos jonas

    Simmo gets binned for his awful performance against Brighton 👿

    I actually like simmo but he made a boob on saturday.


  9. NOBBY, Guthrie is a decent set piece taker don’t forget and Ben Arfa and if Raylor is on the bench then I’m sure he will get a run at sometime so we will always have a set piece taker.

    Who though Ba could take free kicks?
    It’s surprising who can step up to the mark when needs must.


  10. Nobby a bit rough on Simmo lad ? You would bin him for his performance at brighton? If thats the case we should drop the whole team mate because they were all shite and went awol


  11. anyone think we should start with a 5 man midfield tonight
    something like …




  12. Simmo’s 100th appearence???EEEEEeeeeee it seems like only yesterday that he came 😯

    Wolfie… that’s true!.. Ba’s free kick was effing brilliant!


  13. Army@99… I think we have to as we’re without Cabaye and Tiote but is Best strong enough to play by himself? If shola wasn’t a lazy bastard he actually fits the role quite well.


  14. Dave @ 98

    I think our midfield played well against Brighton, as did most of our defense – the goal came because Simmo messed up a simple challenge. Yes we didn’t have anything upfront but i would of been happy to take 0-0 and let the dembas rip them apart.

    We’re in the same boat tonight – i just don’t see us scoring. Unless Guthrie smashes one from outside the box like at Fulham but that would be two league games on the trot for him and when was the last time that happened ❓


  15. Nobby, think Vuckic could grab one. The lad’s got a hell of a shot on him – 2 corkers at ‘Pool spring to mind!


  16. NOBBY, Simmo didn’t mess up, it was the fact that he was on a yellow and the only way he was gonna stop the attack was to take the bloke down and go bye bye to the showers, so in reality I can’t blame Simmo.

    If anything Williamson should not have turned his back on the shot because once he did that, he had no control at all over where it was gonna end up from his body but shit happens really.

    In truth, we played the game like we were playing a training ground pass about and looked like we were in no rush to create anything.
    The silly part is, we still looked so comfortable and it was almost as if it was a patience game and to then just nick a goal when it happens, which obviously didn’t happen lol

    It was a strange performance to say the least and it was gonna take a weird goal on their part to win it and so it happened.

    The point is, no one should ever take anything Negative from that game as that’s what cup games are all about and shit happens to all the big teams at some stage.


  17. Blip good idea… I think Vuckic is a due a Goal. He’s come close a few times and he’s got an assist (even if the assist was off his neck 😆 )

    Dave you’re right mate – Best can’t be a loan striker, maybe benny on the right and vuckic in the number 10 role?

    I hope he doesn’t but i’m resigned to the fact that Shola is going to start tonight. 🙁


  18. Regarding the Brighton game . The next day in the papers , interestingly most sports writers gave us a good review ,saying how in control of the game we were but that we just lacked that killer touch up front . Let’s hope Pards read a few and took heed eh.


  19. Vuckic is a good call – I think he only got one mixed press and that was against the scousers which wasn’t a great game for some of the regulars to be fair. He can have a dig too, as mentioned above, and seeing as how we aren’t getting very close to their goal at the mo, I wouldn’t mind seeing him let a couple of 20-yarders gan. Big lad as well, just needs to be a bit more confident in his ability to throw his weight around.


  20. ………… raylor……….
    benny guthrie jonas
    what you think of that for tonight?


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