Newcastle United: Scoring goals & creativity – PART 2

That uninspiring, innovation-lacking second half on Saturday at home to Wolves left a string of NUFC fans scratching their heads at the team’s ability to punish ‘lesser’ opposition and finish them off.

The further question of, ‘why and how often does this happen’ led NUFC_Stats to take a deeper glance into the current production line at Newcastle United in the Premier League this season.

In case you missed it, yesterday’s Part 1, which looked at who has scored NUFC’s goals, where they’ve come from and who is creating them, can be accessed here. Part 2 will take a closer look into Newcastle United’s creative ability in terms of creating chances, scoring goals and working in the final third.

Last 6 games

NUFC Last 6 - Chance creation

A look at the chances created by NUFC in the last 6 Premier League games make very interesting reading.

Firstly, you’ll notice a significantly loftier amount of chances are created from the right hand side compared to the left. Having said, there hasn’t been a single assist in those games from the right hand side, although it hasn’t been a very fruitful 6 games with just 9 goals.

You’ll also notice that regarding the crossing, there aren’t a great deal coming from the byline. NUFC’s wide players are not ‘beating’ the full back frequently enough and the majority of play from wide positions is coming infield or being crossed too early from deep.

Finally, the play in the most important area of the pitch for goal scoring (Zone 14 – central edge of box) is pretty none existent. NUFC do not possess that player that is consistently clever and manipulative around the penalty area; just one chance has been created by ‘sliding’ in an attacking from Zone 14 and that turned into an assist (Best v QPR).

Against the others

Premier League clubs 2011/12 - Goals, assists & chances created

Starting on the positive, Newcastle have scored the 6th most Premier League goals in this season’s campaign. However, that positive soon fades when looking at the other data. Only 3 teams have had less shots than Newcastle currently and only 61% (5th lowest) of those 38 goals have been via an assist.

A glance further right, and only 4 teams are creating less chances per game than NUFC, although only Blackburn from those teams presently reside in the bottom three. Looking at the teams around us and thinking about European qualification of some sort, it’s easy to see why Arsenal & Chelsea got the results they did at the weekend and it’s also clear why Liverpool are where they are.


Premier League 2011/12 - Possession

A quick look at the possession numbers show Newcastle working below average in terms of general ball retention – at 47.3% general possession, NUFC don’t have it their way on average in games.

But, a deeper look into the thirds identifies bigger deficiencies. In the final third, only Blackburn and Swansea spend less time on the ball, highlighting yet again that when NUFC get the ball there, it doesn’t stay. Furthermore, only 4 teams sit with the ball more than Newcastle in their defensive third.

In the final third

Premier League clubs in the final third - 2011/12

A more significant look into that final third possession shows that only 3 teams make less passes in the final third than Newcastle United and only 2 produce less successive ones.

A look at those teams around us again, and Newcastle have it all to do in the final 12 games of the season to compete and ensure a high place is finished in as they all work the ball well up field and with good success.

NUFC in the final third

More depth as to who produces the final third passes at Newcastle identifies Cabaye, Jonas & Taylor as the ones working it most up field, reflecting the earlier chance creation stats.

But accuracy wise, it is Davide Santon and Hatem Ben Arfa who are the coolest in the final third. The figures don’t make good reading for Danny Simpson and Demba Ba in particular.

To wrap this box of numbers up, Newcastle are screaming out for a more creative player to ensure the remainder of the season doesn’t fizzle out. The second half against Wolves was simply not good enough for a team with European ambitions, but that was not an isolated incident.

The new-look NUFC are as good as they have been for a number of years at working the ball into the final third, but when there, very rarely does something seem to happen.

Hatem Ben Arfa has the creativity and invention that Newcastle require but until Alan Pardew is 100% confident in his contribution and finds his best role, his game time and appearances will continue to suffer. As good a signing as Papiss Cisse has been, he plays the game very similar to Demba Ba and is not a forward that likes to work between the opposition’s midfield and defensive units.

Could it be that a different system of play, a one incorporating both Demba’s and Ben Arfa, be employed from now in a bid to change Newcastle United’s fortunes for the good for the final 12 games?

4-3-1-2 anyone?!

143 thoughts on “Newcastle United: Scoring goals & creativity – PART 2

  1. Ice @ 70 your not daft no matter what Richie says about you 😆

    Troy @ 71 spot on there and funny as fuk because its true 😆 😆 😆

    JJ it was good seeing Stardy admitting that he was wrong 😀


  2. Dave ,he’s not bad ,still at home ,no day centre so running me ragged 😆 Mind it’s nice to see him like that.


  3. Just watching Cabaye playing the neet against Germany. He’s doing a marking job on Ozil, and without pulling up any trees he’s not doing too bad. Significantly though, he’s not venturing far from the half way line, not getting forward at all. Pretty much like he plays for the toon actually.


  4. Munich@79 -he’s listed as CM first and DM secondary! i thought we were led to believe he was an AMF when he first come.


  5. KIMTOON,that will keep you fit owld lad,wouldnt want you lying aboot like a loppy dog 😀 hope things keep well mate


  6. It was my birthday yesterday ,since the toon failed to give me an early BP on saturday they better give me an extra special one on sunday , that would be a very high scoreing win please.


  7. Kimtoon glad to hear that he’s doing well mate 😉
    on Cabaye I always thought from what I heard before and just after we got him that he was an AMF that loved passing and attacking 😕 😕


  8. What’s wrong with these panicky chairman , 2 pts off automatic promotion spot ,beat your’e local rivals and still Megson gets sacked 😯


  9. Well thats me going to get a slagging in the morn , how the hell the muppets could throw it away after coming back from 2-0 down . Hope Pearce is reading the riot act too them in the dressing room because i am going to hear it all day tomorrow .


  10. I think the 4-3-1-2 argument has been made since the summer really. I certainly think it would have been a good idea, but I can’t see any chance of it coming in as our starting tactic now, too much change probably.

    Still, people love the team/formation when we beat manure 3-0 and then blame it for everything when we give away a 2-0 lead. I blame the collective mindset of the team, and a few individuals who bring the team down, but against wolves it was collective responsibility really.


  11. We’ve not really created anything all season, nor did we last season. Last season we had crosses/set plays for team headers and knock downs for Nolan. Afterwards we had some poachy goals from Bestie and a couple of all round contributions.

    This season we’ve been tight defensively and taken the scrappy goals/own goals we can, couple of set piece ones, but overwhelmingly Ba’s superb finishing from the scrappy chances that have been given to him.

    Now that the defense has come unstuck we’re being found out..and we’re on a poor run of form compared to the starting good run.


  12. Lol. Newkie in the mid 90’s we beat Man U 5-0 playing 4-4-2 so we should never change formation ever again!!!! :mrgreen:

    Seriously though looking at a one off result one way or the other means nothing. Our pattern of play has been getting poorer for a while.
    The formation is by no means the only reason for that but changing it may be an effective solution, or at least improvement, if it means playing to our players strengths rather than asking them to do things at which they aren’t quite so able.


  13. I’m all for trying Troy’s idea of telling Cabaye to push up more as it would be less disruptive than a change of formation.
    I just don’t think it will work.

    I’m not convinced Cabaye is the 10 goals a season AMF some people claimed he is before the season started. I’m not saying he’s a bad midfielder – just he doesn’t seem to be that type of midfielder.
    If he’s playing that way under instruction then we need to rescind the instructions.
    I’m also not convinced that any of the current men we are playing wide are particularly suited to what’s expected of them in that role in a 4-4-2 either. I don’t think they are under instructions to be uncreative and poor at crossing however.

    Maybe its because I’m a fan of attacking football, but I just think we look poor. We seem to be setting up to defend and cover for our weaknesses in a disproportionate way. We should be giving opposing teams more to worry about than just our the Dembas and then perhaps they would have less time to spend concentrating attacks on the parts of the field where we are weaker.


  14. That Robben player for the Dutch looks pretty tasty on the ball. Maybe big Mike will splash the cash on him in the summer.


  15. Pootle-sorry what point are you making exactly? I just said I was in favour of 4-3-1-2 or a similar switch up to get Ben Arfa or a bit more creativity out of our side in general, I just said that I thought it was too late for Pardew to switch it up and that he’d stick it out for the season.

    Chaning formation may help things, or it may do sweet fuck all as it already has several times this season, there’s no guarantee despite many Football Manager claims.


  16. Pootle I know what your saying…



    ————————–Ben Arfa————————–


    I genuinely feel with the players at our disposal this is our best line up…

    If Cabaye and Jonas can play their deeper roles as they are doing now, but will also have the freedom to go foward and support Ben Arfa/Ba/Cisse, depending on which flank the ball is on.

    Tiote can sit deep in his anchor role and offer the defense protection.

    Santon and Fergie can play as wing backs, and will bother offer balance playing on their proper sides.

    Ben Arfa can play in the hole behind the front two and would have to be marked, drawing a giving the back three of Tiote/Cabaye/Jonas more time and space.

    Cisse and run the right channel, and play his usual poaching role.

    Ba can run the left channel and be a target man, as well as running the left channel.

    Thats our best starting line-up for me anyway…


  17. Agreeing with you I guess.

    We changed formation for the Fulham game and twatted them off the park in the first half. It was the changes in the second half that undone us.

    I think you’re right about Pardew not changing now.
    Well he better pull something else out the bag, cos if we continue playing the quality of football we have lately we won’t make Europe.


  18. Thanks JJ.
    Your a man of sense and you like attacking football and teams that give it a go too!
    When Pardew get sacked cos the mackems twat us 4-0 due to our inability to hold the ball and pass it, I’m gonna phone big (fat) Mike and tell him to give you the job!



    Just fucking score man 😯 🙄

    Football, as Derek Jacobi once famously said, is like performing the perfect shit.

    Fill the netty, and keep the back end clean.

    (DJ Acobi remix 86)

    😯 😆 😯


  20. *to all the youngsters out there, Derek Jacobi doesn’t exist, and he didn’t say that either.


    (rofpmsl) 😳


  21. Who the fuck are England anyway, are they that quaint little island, just off France?

    English football haaaaaaaaaaaaaaa-HAAAAAAAA-HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA-haaaaaa.

    fuck em, they’re a small club anyway, when you compare their revenue/gate receipts to a club like, say, USA.

    nee contest


  22. _ _
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    (/ |
    \__, /
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    .-‘“\ /`”-=.-=”`)
    /` _.-.’ \
    \_.” ,`-._ / /_\
    / /-.._/ |
    | / / |
    ,| ‘.__.’ |
    _ / \ .-“”. /
    / \/ /`-._| |`
    \ \ / \ |
    \ / \ |
    ‘-‘ `. |
    .-“` \


  23. I hope Mike Ashley is reading all this… There are some cracking Premier League Managers in waiting on here.. If Pardew gets sacked or leaves, we have ready made replacements.. There must be 100’s of years of watching football from the safety of the stands or lounge room chairs worth of experience on show here. Have a look at how easily some disect our losses after the fact and how their formations were guarenteed to work had it been implemented. Arm chair experts are always right because no matter what the subject matter, it is always easier in hindsight to say we should have done this or we should have done that…. If managing a PL team was easy, no manager would ever lose their job and anyone could do it. Everyone has an opinion and this is a forum for that but to slag of Pardew for what he has done this year is off the mark. None of you can do any better and that is a FACT (it is in cap locks so it is true!). Look at Troy for example… simply move Cabaye forward a little and all our problems are solved… 😯


  24. Aussie

    Don’t go spoiling the fun.
    Solving somebody elses’ problems is sooo much easier.

    It just shows we care.


  25. Aussie, the whole point of a blog is to offer alternative solutions.

    Pundits do it all the time, commentators. It’s for entertainment purposes.
    It’s called an OPINION…

    So you come on here and get your fanny twisted because you disagree.

    How many people have you heard say they want Pardew sacked?

    Lighten up.

    All that most of us are actually saying is that we feel Pardew’s tactics have been forced by him not getting properly supported in January.

    Now those weaknesses have started to show. Perhaps we need to changesomething… So that we sent outplayed by the likes of Wolves and Blackburn and thumped by the likes of Fulham.
    Murdered by Tottenham.

    It’s been a very bad recent run in terms of football played.

    Hence the discussions… Nobody is stating they are Alex Ferguson 🙄


  26. @Aussie Mag fan

    Ha. 😆 😆 😆 😆

    You sit there dumb and say nothing and don’t criticise when problems are staring you in the face. 😛

    No one said all our problems will be solved. But the problems are there for all to see.

    There is nothing difficult about football which you must believe there is. 4-4-2 must involve some sort of attacking midfielder.

    You can’t play with two defensive midfielders and expect to create chances. That’s exactly what we do at the moment.

    You tell me Aussie, or sit there and hide, do you agree that we need to push one of our midfielders in a more advanced role than they currently play now to create more chances?

    It looks better when you answer instead of commenting then hiding. 😉


  27. But presumably you are experienced and clever enough to do Pardews job?
    You must be or how else could you so easily dismiss everybody else as being totally wrong?


  28. In Australia fans must never express their opinions on their sports teams!

    It must be such a different culture that its hard for you to see that over here most fans of all the teams express there opinions about them. Whether on blogs, in the pub or in the grounds and stadiums.
    From the conference to the Premier League.


  29. Prem I think most folk just want to talk about football and NUFC.
    People have been discussing this without really being abusive.
    Various points of view have been put across and although people have view that don’t all agree I think the debates been lively without being rude.

    ‘Solving other peoples problems is easy’…
    Well I doubt anyone is really saying that. I think people are just talking about football on the football blog.

    Besides the only problem I have of my own at the minute is deciding exactly what components I want in my new laptop when I order it to keep the price around £1600. I’ll be honest, I don’t really see why I would try to solve that problem on here (and I don’t need any advice anyway)


  30. Have not been hiding Troy, work gets in the way sometimes. What gets up my goat is when people that have never managed a group of high level players give out advice on how it should be done like it is gospel. We are sitting 6th and still you find faults. There are no easy games in the PL. So when your plan to push a midfielder further forward is not working and suddenly your defense gets exposed, what’s your next move?As for Pootle, I have no answer for you because you are never wrong because you are incredibly smart and you don’t half bang on once you need to prove that point.


  31. You have no answer fullstop. All you ever do is whine on at people for expressing their opinions because you are unable to form or express your own.

    We played absolutely shockingly against Spuds and were pretty awful against Wolves. We were fortunate against Villa because they deserved more.

    Unless you haven’t got eyes in your head it would be impossible for you to have witnessed our recent form and not have some criticisms.
    Fans talk about stuff like that. It’s what they’ve done at the ground since I started going to watch the match in the very late eighties. Now we do it on blogs too.

    I may be wrong about changing the formation. We won’t know unless Pardew decides to try it for himself.
    It’s just my opinion. Which I’m expressing with other football fans on the football blog which is designed as a forum for opinions.

    Do you actually have any opinions about football or do you just turn up to snipe at other people expressing theirs?


  32. Go on i dare you.
    Post something about football, preferably on topic, which isn’t just a snipe at other people for having an opinion of their own.


  33. I do have opinions Pootle, I just don’t whinge as much as you. I accept those things that I can’t control. We will win some games and we will lose some. I dont sit and criticise when I can do no better myself. This is my opinion and you being all for people having opinions, should understand this. How did you go with your $16000 laptop….flogger


  34. On topic, I am happy with our formations, we have a newish team that for the majority of this season have played above themselves. Hence our current league position.


  35. Wooo hooo hooo hoooooo ! 😆

    I’ve just returned to see what pearls of wisdom you came back with. 😆

    So you fail to answer my question. Do you believe we need to push one of our midfielders further forward to start and create chances?

    If not, why not?

    Football is a remarkably simple game and the great thing about it is that you can actually be a novice and come up with the right answers.

    Do you really believe Fat Sam picked the right formations for the toon?
    Did you like the players Souness bought?

    You get confused, as it’s only those already in the game that get an opportunity to manage.

    None of us is saying we could man manage and walk straight into a managers job, but when it comes to formations then yes, the layman is equally adept in identifying weaknesses in a managers line up.

    Why do you get managers getting the sack and a new manager comes in and changes things and gets results?

    There is nothing more blatant than this 4-4-2 set up is wrong. It’s too defensive.

    You can’t see it but you never come up with anything constructive other than to say, back your team.

    Sorry Aussie boy but your boomerang has come back and hit you in the gob! 😆 😆 😆 😆


  36. Your a funny man Troy but no footballing genius. We have very slow centre backs that will and have been caught out playing a high line. So to combat this they are forced to play deep. This drags Tiote back and in turn Cabaye/Guthrie. Just look at the Fulham game when Guthrie was caught too far forward. The space opened up in front of our back line and they were able to run amok. We were playing Perch and he is no Tiote, however the problem remains. So as far as I am concerned our hands are a little tied with the defensive players we have. Also anyone that has played the game would know that unfortunately the opposition team can easily pull a team out of their desired positions through pressure and movement off the ball. When you are over run, you get back behind the ball. Saying that this can be remedied by pushing Cabaye further forward is a great idea as we will score 3 -4 goals a game but we would more than likely leak 5 in turn. Our squad is small and we lost Taylor, I think we are doing as well as can be expected with what we have. So to sumerise, no to Cabaye pushing further forward. HBA would be a Better option if you were going to head down that path.


  37. Ah so by extension you feel YOU are a footballing genius.
    Lol. You feel you know better than everybody else or you wouldn’t be quite so condesceding there I guess.
    But i guess it alright because you ‘have played the game’.
    You must be a hot shot premier league manager to know with such certainty you are right, eh?

    Ha ha ha.

    Oh by the way its £1600 because we use pounds over here not dollars.
    I’m getting a 17″ Vortex II from PCSpecialist. 120Gb SSD, 750Gb data drive, Radeon 6990 graphics, 8Gb memory, Bluray writer.
    Would you rather talk about that as you’re clearly very uncomfortable talking about the football?


  38. Also, you think we are ‘doing as well as can be expected’???

    In recent games????

    I think the general play has been very poor recently and I’m certain that the group of players can perform to a higher standard.
    I think you’re very negative and defeatist. You seem to have a very negative view of the abilities of our squad.

    I certainly hope Pardew doesn’t think like that. I hope that he wants us to do as well as we possibly can and will be looking to improve our performances. Whether by changing the formation or altering the way we play our current one I’m certain he will be looking to improve on the current level of play.
    I certainly doubt he will adopt your negative, passive stance.


  39. Wooo hooo hooo hoooo 😆 😆

    You’re right Pootle.

    The Aussie hypocrite has just gave Pardew a full managerial lesson. 😆 😆

    You’ve made a right chump of yourself. Between you with your didgeridoo and Solano and his trumpet, the pair of you blow so much hot air the ice caps are melting! 😆 😆

    Your theory about the defenders being too slow meaning we can’t push up the field is one of the most blatant points that we’ve discussed on numerous occasions over the past few days.

    Yes, you football genius, we considered those issues but I still don’t accept that we can continue as we are.

    The point is simple. We are not creating chances and I personally don’t believe our defence would be as vulnerable as we play now.

    We sit so deep it’s constant pressure on our defence caused, yes caused by our midfield sitting so deep.

    Aussie, stick to what you know best, get the barbie on! 😆


  40. Troy @ 136
    Roflmao! :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

    Actually now the anti-debate/anti-opinion crowd have decided you simply must be considered a professional or expert in any given field to have an opinion on it (except when it comes to voicing their own, obviously :mrgreen: ) – does this mean the following?:

    Only Premier League managers can discuss tactics.

    Only doctors, nurses and physios can discuss injuries.

    Only scouts can discuss players from other teams.

    Only chairmen and chief execs can discuss contract negotiations.

    Only coaches can discuss fitness and training.

    Wow. The blogs gonna get pretty quiet then, I guess.
    In fact only people who are considered experts on blogging will be allowed to post.

    Of course the problem with people who constantly appeal to authority is that they are too weak willed or lack confidence to form an opinion of their own. They constantly need their hands held.

    You don’t need to ask Heston Blumenthal if you like salt and vinegar on your chips just cos he’s a chef, now do you?


  41. I dunno Troy, everyone was having a lively friendly debate about the strengths and weaknesses of the squad and coming up with positive ideas about what we could change to get them playing at an even better level, and what happens?
    A couple of neggars appear and start telling us there’s no point trying anything or considering anything because we can’t improve and its all futile.
    Friggin’ doom-mongers – always trying to drag everything down.
    😕 🙄 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆


  42. Troy, I was under the impression that you wanted me to answer your earlier question..I tried and you accuse me of telling Pardew how to do his job when I had already stated that I could do no better than him. Make up your mind fella.
    Pootle I was taking the piss out of you regarding your laptop and still you went on about how powerful it is, must be compensating for deficiancies else where in your life.


  43. Lol. Yes that must be it.
    🙄 :mrgreen:

    It isn’t particularly flashy or expensive in laptop terms.
    If i wanted one to boast about it would have a 3d screen minimum and a horribly overdesigned Alienware style case.
    The one I’m getting isnt even close to being top of the range by any means.
    I just need it for video and photo editing mainly, some 3d graphics rendering and possibly a little bit of gaming.
    It’s replacing a desktop PC I built over four years ago but its gonna have to be good enough to last three years maybe. It’s just a mid range laptop I think, don’t be intimidated by it for goodness sake.

    Guess you know as much about laptops as footie, eh?


  44. Besides I think you might have completely missed the point about the laptop..

    If anyone out there uses a laptop for photo editing and graphics work would you recommend getting a proper wireless mouse rather than using the trackpad?. I’m assuming trackpads aren’t so good for that sort of thing.
    And is there any particular make of mouse in particular that works well and isn’t expensive?


  45. @Aussie

    None of us on here claim they could do a better overall job than Pardew. Managent is more than just picking formations.

    He’s doing a fantastic job as far as I’m concerned. However, because football itself (not the other managerial tasks) is such an easy game to
    understand, I honestly believe a good proportion of the 52k could come up with different tactics during a match which could improve the performance.

    We got beat 5-0 off Spurs in February.
    Many fans were screaming at him to change things round.
    Pardew at the end of the game admitted he got his tactics wrong!

    Managers get the sack all the time because of bad tactics. Are you telling me that when Sam Allardyce was bringing on players and putting them in the wrong positions and the crowd were chanting “you don’t know what you’re doing” and we were playing terrible, do you think the fans were wrong?
    He got the sack and justifiably so.

    Managers do get the simple things wrong because of various reasons and one of the biggest factors is, they get too close to the players and are reluctant to drop or change their positions.

    Weak managers lose it over time because of that simple reason. Strong managers like Fergie don’t get sucked in by player power.

    I just hope Pardew is not slowly listening to the players and not the fans.


  46. I know we have long moved on from this subject but I feel the need to respond.Troy you should post like this more often, no silly wind up or attempting to be funny. I actually agree with most of what you are saying, however. There is a certain safety when you shout advice from the stands because deep down you will never be judged on your opinions. So to say that you know the answer without there ever being a chance of it coming to fruition,is a bit rich if you ask me. The was the crux of my first post. I will let this sleeping dog lye, sorry to keep banging on all….


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