Just four games into the new season and it seems Newcastle are being branded as overly physical in games by a couple of managers, namely Monk and Wenger.
I suppose it makes a change from soft, and easy to beat and lacking in heart and desire, such was the lable of last season. Anyway I thought I would take a look at some stats from the last four games to see if these accusations are true.
Our first game saw us take on Southampton and we picked up 2 yellow cards and committed 9 fouls, we won 15 free kicks. Saints on the other hand collected 4 yellow cards committed 12 fouls and won 9 free kicks, so on the balance of play I would say we were the less physical on the day.
Our second game saw us take on Swansea where we picked up 1 yellow and a red card and committed 11 fouls and we won 13 free kicks. Swansea collected 2 yellows, one more than us and committed 8 fouls just 3 less than us and only won 9 free kicks. As for the red card for Janmaat, it was a pull back on Montero, hardly physical and we’ll see plenty of good right backs suffer at the hands of Montero this season, that much is for sure. I really can’t see much for Garry Monk to of complained about going by that set of stats.
Our third game was against Manchester united where we recieved 2 yellow cards, committed 11 fouls and won an impressive 19 free kicks. Manchester by comparison also got 2 yellows but committed 15 fouls, 4 more than us and won 11 free kicks. Again we were hardly the more aggressive side there.
Our last game was against Arsenal which is where the stats would have you believe it all went wrong. We all know Mitrovic got that quick red card for a studs up challenge, and it has divided opinion as to whether it was deserved or not. We also collected 6 yellows not helped by Arsenal players falling and rolling like a sniper had got them, despite miraculously getting up right as rain seconds after our player is booked. We committed 15 fouls and won 10 free kicks. Arsenal collected just 1 yellow despite the fact they carried out a fair few rash challenges themselves on the day. They also committed 8 fouls and won 15 free kicks . The general consensus seems to be that referee for the day Mariner had a bit of a mare in that he was inconsistent with his cards and free kicks and missed a certain penalty claim for Arsenal too. After the game Arsene Wenger accused the Newcastle players of being physical but even though the stats back that up, I would argue that the referee lost control was inconsistent so the true nature of the game was lost.
Overall I would say we aren’t particularly more physical than any other side out there. I just think sides are taken aback by our renewed committment which was sadly lacking last season in most if not all our playing staff. Such was the frustration of players last season when our form dipped, they ended up losing self control and discipline and we ended the season with a high tally of red and yellow cards respectively. I don’t see that frustration now, just a desire to not give up which is long over due. If other teams are upset because we no longer give up the ghost so quickly, then tough, I for one am glad we don’t intend to be this seasons whipping boys.
Do you think we are a dirty or overly physical side? Thoughts welcome as ever.