Stats Galore!

More important than many think?
We all know that people have their favourites, and I’m not having a dig at people for having them because we all do it. For example, Toonsy hated Ryan Taylor, I’m not a fan of Gutierrez, some people love Ben Arfa, some don’t like Best, it’s just one of them things.

The main ones that stand up for criticism are Gabriel Obertan, Danny Simpson, Mike Williamson and Leon Best. Is it justified? Well sometimes on the pitch they may look like they’re contributing, but some of these stats may prove otherwise.

I know stats can’t count for everything, but they are an indication of how well a team performs with certain personnel and how much a player contributes to the team. Some of these stats may shock people, and hopefully they may think a bit differently about certain players because of it.

Firstly, I’m going to look at when we’ve started Leon Best, and when we haven’t. I’m not counting sub appearances for this, because sometimes people come on for just a minute. So all of these stats are about when a player has started.

With Leon Best Starting: Won 11, Drawn 5, Lost 3.

Without Leon Best Starting: Won 2, Drawn 5, Lost 5

There’s a huge difference between the two, this season when Leon Best hasn’t started we have only won 2 games. The two games which we won without Leon starting were Man Utd and Sunderland, The 3 defeats were West Brom, Brighton, Fulham. That means Newcastle have won 58% of the games that Leon Best has started in, not too bad for a “championship” striker.

On the other end of the scale is the Italian full back, Davide Santon, that a lot of people really rate as a good player. I’m a bit unsure of his defensive qualities, one of the main reasons why I looked up this one to be honest.

With Davide Santon starting: Won 5, Drawn 3, Lost 5.

Without Davide Santon starting: Won 8, Drawn 7, Lost 3.

We have played 5 games less with Davide Santon starting and we’ve already lost 2 more games than we did with Ryan Taylor at left back. We won more and drew more without Santon in the side, does that mean he’s a weak link in the team? I’m not so sure he’s a weak link, but he’s no class defender, that’s for sure. Without Davide starting we lost 17% of our games, with him starting we’ve lost 38% interesting.

I’m sure everyone will have noticed the dip in our defence which occurred at around the same time as Santon was introduced, so the stats above may be a little harsh on Davide. With Steven Taylor I actually believe we’d now be sat in fourth place, that’s not me being deluded either, we would have picked up 4 more points with him, easy.

With Steven Taylor starting: Won 7, Drawn 5, Lost 2.

Without Steven Taylor starting: Won 6, Drawn 5, Lost 6.

When Steven Taylor was at the heart of the Newcastle defence we won 50% of our games, since his injury we have only won 35% of our games. Another big thing is the amount of defeats, with Steven Taylor we only lost 14% of our games, without him we’ve lost 35% of our games. He’s been a huge miss, and Williamson just doesn’t fill his void.

That’s my main three for this article and I will look into this a bit more as the season goes on, and hopefully I’ll be able to find some more interesting stats.

I have a few small stats which may be of interest too.

Newcastle have lost both games without Fabricio Coloccini starting this season. 0/2.

Newcastle have only won one game this season which Ryan Taylor hasn’t started. 1/8

Newcastle have won 56% of their matches that Demba Ba hasn’t started.

Newcastle have only lost 2 games that Ben Arfa hasn’t featured in.

Newcastle have won 44% of games that Shola Ameobi has started in.

What do you think about them?

33 thoughts on “Stats Galore!

  1. Great article Jobey-sums up exactly my opinions on Bestie and Santon, people underate Best massively and then think Santon is a world beater or a million times better than Simmo.


  2. Hear hear!

    I’d be curious to see what Santon can do at LW though – he’s said that he can play here and that he loves getting forward. Play Raylor at LB and Santon in front, I say.


  3. Good article lad and agree completely on Besty being drastically underrated. Don’t agree Santon is overrated though (unless you thought he was actually the next Maldini, in which case you’re mental) or that he is any reason for our defensive frailty of late. Has a lot more to do with Steven Taylor being missing and also Tiote for a lot of games this season, but I’m sure that will show in follow up article. Think people forget that Ryan Taylor was basically aimed at when he played left back and seen as a massive weak point because he was playing out of position. Aside from becoming a cult hero for the winner against the mackems and scoring a cracker against Everton, the lad got slated every game by fans.


  4. I think Santon’s actually quite handy at defending…

    …unfortunately he’s usually up the other end of the pitch when the opposition are countering (see 3 or 4 of Fulham’s goals for examples).


  5. Jobey good read mate but as CC said Santon never started untill Saylor was out so thats a bit unfair to count games against him when he hadn’t had the chance to be ready to start 😕 . And if thats right thats around 14 games ❓
    Yeah the stats look good with Best in them but I will never believe that that proves Best is a lucky talisman for us 😆


  6. @KeithR

    There’s plenty of those who said Santon was the next Maldini. 😉

    I kept pointing out that many of the quotes from players and managers praising Santon were pre injury and also when he was 17 yrs old. One of those plaudits, Morinho, dropped him and publicly criticised him for being exposed against fast wingers. The same person loaned him out and never got back in Morinho’s team.

    I did point that out to those who only quoted the good things about him but as usual I got slated.

    Santon has been defensively exposed a few times this season but looks quite decent going forward.

    He’s young and it’s his first season and he needs time. He’s obviously not a patch on Maldini and as a replacement for Enrique, not a patch on him either.

    I’m sure I will get the usual rhetoric about Enrique not being great immediately, but my opinion is, he came to replace Enrique, if he’s not ready to fill his boots then he’s not a good enough direct replacement.


  7. Troy yeah I get your point but the above stats have 18 games without Santon I think of them 18 games 14 of them were before he got his debut so I think thats really unfair to the lad


  8. I think perhaps there is a lesson to learned in the articles over the last 2 days.

    Keith touched on it in posting – but I would say just because someone rights something about a player – ie Santon the next Maldini and Cabaye being Newcastles answer to Frank Lampard… doesn’t necassarily mean it will be true. 😯

    Alot of player criticism is simply because players have been hyped up that much that they never stood a chance before they kicked a ball!!… and most are only playing their first season at Newcastle.

    Perhaps we can be alittle more realistic with the signings we make in the summer and allow players to settle in to the team before expecting greatness from them.


  9. Troy, Enrique was the only one I thought was a big mistake to lose, although he didn’t leave us much choice I guess.. like all new signings Santon needs time to settle, and do honestly think he will be quality in the future, but think that will only happen if he is switched to natural side. Saw him play for Italy U21’s twice after signing him and he was the best player on the park by a mile at right back. Do agree his attack-mindedness risks him being exposed at times but he has been exposed less than Simmo imo, or Raylor was at LB when we also had Saylor in the side… and on Mourinho and Inter, there’s a lot more to that story than poor form or falling out of favour from what I’ve read.


  10. Some very selective stats in there and I’ve always believed stats can prove anything AND nothing. The win ratio for example with Best in the team. It had nowt to do with Best being in the team. He’s pants and showed it most games he played. Santon’s stats too. His debut games coincided with Saylor and Colo out, Tiote missing and if I remember right, Best blundering around up front. Very selective and achieve nothing.


  11. @Big Dave

    Again, like Cabaye, I am not writing him off. I like his attitude and looks good on the ball.

    It’s his first season and every player needs at least one season before real criticism can be thrown at them. (obviously unless they are clearly terrible).

    My point was just to highlight that many see dreamboat and Santon as untouchable when it comes to criticism and they build them up as being better than they are.

    They could both develop into much stronger players next season but until that happens then they should be talked about as they are now.

    I know it’s hypocritical when I say those figures could distort the true facts, but it’s difficult to judge because there are so many combinations that you could consider. Teams played, who else was injured or missing for various reasons etc.

    Figures should be used loosely and only in conjunction with what you see with your own eyes.

    As far as Santon not being good enough as a direct swap for Enrique, at this moment in time he’s not IMO .
    A good enough direct replacement is a player who comes in who is either as good as or better than the player he’s replaced at that moment in time.

    We can’t just keep buying young prospects who take 3 seasons to reach their potential and then sell them on and bring another prospect in. You can’t progress that way.


  12. @Sharpy

    That’s what I say all the time. 😉

    I will give Cabaye, Santon and Barfa all the time they need and won’t listen to any hype. I judge them on what I see and not what I hear.

    Many do it the other way round. 😯


  13. My link paragraph between the Santon and Staylor bit didn’t work how it did in my head. I meant to say that although Santon’s not looked great, we lost Taylor at the same time he was introduced. So there’s 2 reasons for our defence getting poorer.


  14. With Troy on this one – Santon has shown promise, but he’s not a patch on Enrique yet. Key word being yet – he may be better in a few seasons, who knows? But we won’t get too far if we sell him when/if he reaches Jose’s heights and replace him with another player requiring a bedding in period.


  15. It’s daft singling out Santon and Obertan because this is a new, young squad that needs time. I’m not judging either until they have had more time and I don’t think they have been as bad as some are making out either. Even the two strikers need time yet, you could count on one hand the amount of times they have actually played TOGETHER for club and country and we have a first choice goalkeeper with 50 apps for the club. Work in progress! Yes of course we should try and get as far as possible but we shouldn’t kid ourselves either. This squad is not as far developed as some are making out.


  16. lets slag off the players again….
    so far I think we’ve slated (in no particular order)

    Raylor (not good enough)
    Simmo (not good enough)
    Santon (plays to far forward)
    Willo (not good enough)
    Cabaye (plays too far back)
    Jonas (headless chicken)
    Obertan (not good enough)
    Shola (not good enough)
    Best (not good enough)
    HBA (not a team player)
    Guthrie (not good enough)
    Krul (distribution)

    Only Ba and Collo have escaped criticism so far but plenty time to go yet 🙂


  17. @Steve

    Good point!!

    Colo is too slow and if he plays in a high defensive line he is vulnerable to pace from the striker!! 😈

    Ba is looks ungainly when he runs!! What’s he playing at. ? Protecting his dodgy knee that’s what! 😈


  18. Speaking of the oft criticised… just saw the following stats for Ben Arfa:

    Dispossessed 2.5 times per game, passes intercepted 1.3 times per game. Only Tiote is higher in that regard, but he makes up for it with 3 tackles and 2.7 interceptions per game (0.4 and 0.1 respectively for Hatem).

    Tiote, despite being a DM, is also close to Ben Arfa in number of key passes per game.

    For lovers of statistics, think it’s obvious why Ben Arfa doesn’t get more game time.


  19. Steve P

    Here’s another one.. if we are to make allowances for what would seem legitimate reasons..

    Krul, 1st full season in goal as first choice.
    Santon, 1st season in England, not in natural position.
    R.Taylor, 1st season of any decent playing time, no fixed position.
    S.Taylor, Injury ridden last season or two.
    Williamson, injured half the season, no proper pre-season.
    Perch, having to play two new positions to him this season.
    Tiote, injury problems this season, Ramadan, ACON.
    Cabaye, 1st season in England.
    Gosling, 1st season back from bad injury.
    Vuckic, 1st season in 1st team, injuries.
    Guthrie, multiple injuries and 1st season of decent playing time.
    Abeid, 1st season in England and major step up.
    Obertan, 1st season at club and decent playing time.
    Ben Arfa, 1st season back from bad injury, no decent playing time. Ramadan.
    Marveaux, 1st season in England, long term injury now.
    Gutierrez, not playing on natural right side.
    Sammy, 1st season in first team. Long term injury now.
    Ba, 1st season at new club. Ramadan. ACON. Supposed dodgy knee.
    Cisse, new signing, 1st season in England. Ramadan. ACON
    Best, 1st season of decent playing time. Couple of injuries.
    Shola, basically crocked, plays through injury constantly.
    Lovenkrands, injuries and not enough playing time to gain form.
    Ranger, quite a large commitment to being a gangster.

    By my reckoning the only player we’d be allowed to criticize is Simpson, and it could be said he hasn’t had a regular right winger to develop a partnership with. Oh, and Coloccini, but he has to keep that curly mop going and maybe it gets in his eyes sometimes.

    We all make allowances to back up a point but very hard to determine what is legit grounds for open criticism. Maybe it should be just based on weekly performance regardless of surrounding circumstances or excuses. You either play cack or you don’t….


  20. Simmos just split up with his missus so we have to make allowances for him going out on the pull on Fri / Sat nights now, bloody footballers eh!


  21. Ah bless, have to give the lad a break so!.. oh and apparently since becoming captain Colo’s English lessons are taking up a lot of his time, and he is tired from having to get up earlier every morning so Gutierrez doesn’t rob his parking spot.


  22. When we got relegated the two players who were criticized the most where Enrique and Colocini in defense.

    Our two supposed best defenders… Beye and Bassong were sold…

    Just shows you Enrique and Colo took time…

    And so will Santon…


  23. Keith I find the idea of making excuses hysterically odd to be honest.

    For example, I watched Cabaye play Wolves. Second half I think he was poor.
    I’m not saying he’s always poor. I’m not saying he always will be poor.
    I am aware its his first season in this country. I’m aware that our tactical inflexibility means we aren’t getting much out of many of our players.
    I’m aware he is probably a nice bloke.

    I still think he played poorly against wolves. None of the above baggage really matters. What matters is figuring out why and addressing it.

    The only way you can improve is to be honest about these things. It’s to evaluate what went wrong and try to find ways to put it right.
    As long as the criticism is not particularly unfair and is given honestly it is necessary for improvement.

    It is not unpatriotic to Newcastle in any way whatsoever.
    Saying the team were bad against wolves isn’t failing to get behind the team. It’s stating the bleeding obvious.
    Going about fixing it is what we all want and people will have differing opinions about how. Some fancy a change in formation to get people playing better, some fancy trying to tinker with the current formation


  24. I think Santon requires time. I think Best is our only real back up option.

    The problem with stats is that they can be very informative but they are also not the full picture.

    Imagine two defenders, they play a match and one has a perfect 9/9 tackling ratio. The other has a ratio of 6/15.
    The first guy looks better stat wise. But is he?
    Maybe he spent more time marking a weaker player.
    Maybe the second guy has a worse ratio because he is running around covering for the first guy who is lazy and pulls out of marginal challenges.
    Maybe the second guy plays next to a worse fullback.

    Stats can be very useful but also very misleading without context.


  25. Re. Addressing the point about the players getting away Scot free.

    I know I have favoured changing formation for a while but that doesn’t mean I either solely blame Pardew or feel the players aren’t to blame.

    In fact if anyone puts in another effort free performance like the second half at wolves I think John Carver should administer the birch.
    That should motivate them. 😯 😈 😆

    I favour changing formation because I believe that adopting a formation such as the one Kev mention previously gets our best players on the pitch in position which seem to suit their skill sets more, hopefully allowing them to play more naturally and wring the best out of them.


  26. What us clear is that the team havnt looked fluent for some time now.

    It’s just disappointing because the results built up expectations which where perhaps unrealistic.

    January gave us a chance to make them more realistic. And we failed to take advantage.

    I fear the remainder if this season is going to going to be scraping home a top seven finish with a good start.

    Id be happy with that in the end.

    The frustration of our lack of positivity in our play seems to be getting to the fans though…


  27. I am of the opinion that stats are good and very nice and interesting up to a point but are ultimately not the be-all and end-all to determining what is actually going on, and are very rarely the great producers of definitive answers, in fact most fall into the ‘well, that’s interesting, hmmm..’ category. For example, look at the stats for aeroplane-related casualties. Reassuringly safe, aeroplanes. Do the stats help the millions of people scared stiff of flying? Nope. If we look at raw data on the team, and obey the stat god, we will put Raylor back at LB, Shola up front with Besty, Obertan RW, and fasten Saylor to a golf caddy and wheel the lot out against the mackems. 5-1 to us again I think, statistically speaking. 😆


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