Newcastle United: Scoring goals & creativity – PART 1

WHAT A DISAPPOINTMENT! A first half that promised so much against Wolves on Saturday, was shortly followed by a frustrating and lacklustre effort to sit on the lead. Newcastle proved yet again that they just do not possess the ability & power to see off teams, even at home.

Wolves were there for the taking. 2-0 down, unknown managerial territory and away from home. But, NUFC came out thinking the game was already won. And, when you consider Pardew’s distorted substitutions and at the point in the game where he made them (during a free kick), Newcastle did nothing to help themselves.

Yet again, Newcastle looked short of ideas and innovation in a bid to break Wolves down. 13 chances created, leading to 15 attempts at goal, just 5 on target leading to 2 goals – but, neither goal was credited with an actual assist. The introduction of Hatem Ben Arfa gave Newcastle an extra dimension on their play, although he still had that vexing edge to his game where the ball is lost at crucial times far too easily.

This lack of creativity has been a regular feature of NUFC’s play this season, especially at home. With the quality they possess in midfield this season, getting to the final 3rd is not a problem, but once there, Newcastle seem to struggle to fashion clear cut chances.

In two parts, NUFC_Stats looked at where NUFC’s Premier League goals this season had come from, who was creating them and how they fared against others in the division.

Who’s scored them?

Everyone knows of Demba Ba’s season thus far. The Senegalese forward has smashed in 16 goals from 72 shots; a 62% shot accuracy, and a 29% chance conversion rate. After him though, the numbers appear pretty bleak – Leon Best is the next highest Premier League scorer with 4, alongside A.N Own Goal. Then, comes Cabaye, Jonas, Raylor and Ben Arfa, who each have 2.

So too does new no.9 Papiss Cisse, who has been very impressive at the start of his Newcastle United career. 2 goals in 3 games from 9 shots for NUFC’s other Senegalese forward, a 43% shot accuracy and a 29% chance conversion, the same as Ba. After that, Danny Guthrie, Shola Ameobi, Gabriel Obertan and Dan Gosling have each chipped in with 1 goal.

Where they’ve come from

NUFC's Premier League goals

NUFC’s 25 goals from open play is the 6th highest in the Premier League, obviously reflected by the league position. Consider though, that 13 of them have come from Demba Ba and the thought of playing this season without him really stings the senses!

Only 4 teams have scored less than NUFC from ‘fast breaks’ (Arsenal are the current title–holders with eight) and only 4 teams (QPR, Arsenal, Fulham & Villa) have scored less than Newcastle from set plays in the division this season.

No team in the league however, has been the beneficiary of more own goals than Newcastle, equalled by Fulham and Blackburn.

Who’s creating them?

NUFC chance creation

It won’t come as a great surprise to most black & white fans that Cabaye is up there as top creator, but most of them come from set plays. It is Ryan Taylor and Jonas who are creating consistently from open play, as well as Obertan, who despite his recent exclusion from the first team is only 1 chance behind the Englishman and the Argentinian and level with the Frenchman.

Leon Best has been pretty essential in terms of ‘setting up’ in the games he has featured in this season, so too Danny Guthrie, who produces more key passes per game at home than any other Newcastle United player.

In the good, old fashioned, English 4-4-2 NUFC insist on playing though, flank players have got to be doing the business for a team to be successful in scoring adequate goals. And, in flank players, reference is not made to just the wide midfield players. In a team with as a good a holding midfielder as Cheik Tiote, the players in the full back position have got to be positive and attacking minded.

Between Danny Simpson and Davide Santon, just 19 chances have been created. Simpson in particular, having played every Premier League so far, not as providing as he should be with just 13 and neither of the two have a single assist.

Further to that ‘flank’ notion, it is Yohan Cabaye, a centre midfielder, that has produced the most crosses for NUFC in the top flight this season and Ryan Taylor, who has played at full back, centre midfield and wide who features second. Surprisingly, Danny Simpson has had a good assemblage of crosses and is the most accurate after Papiss Cisse, but from significantly more.

TO COME >>> NUFC’s last 6 games’ chances, goals to assists ratio and possession & passing in the final third.

78 thoughts on “Newcastle United: Scoring goals & creativity – PART 1

  1. excellent stuff as always Mr Stats.

    One thing though – you’ve got Ba down as 0% crossing accuracy…. our opener against Fulham at home, i seem to remember Ba supplying a driven cross to Best’s feet, who then turned nicely and scored. Would that not count as an ‘accurate cross’?


  2. M,

    As that’s the only accurate cross he has produced, the percentage is such a small decimal, that rounding it causes it to decrease to 0.


  3. @Alex

    Some players who play in these new fangled formations get labelled wingers aren’t actually wingers but they haven’t thought of a new label for them.

    The only time they use the wing is at kick off at the start of each half.

    Silva lives in the middle of the park, granted in a more advanced role than a traditional CM like Cabaye should be playing.

    But that should not stop a traditional CM getting involved in attacks and actually getting in the opposition box.

    That is the role of a traditional CM. box to box.

    I will not bring the subject up again unless someone replies to my post as I appreciate some will think the subject has been done to death.


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