With most fans making it known they wanted a left back signed in January and the club seemingly trying to sign one, it would not do any harm to have a look in detail at our full back’s performance stats.
It is generally accepted that Daryl Janmaat is Newcastle United’s most accomplished full back, so he sets the bar in terms of fans’ expectations from the rest of out wide defenders. At 26-years-old, Janmaat has a bit more experience than Paul Dummett (24) and Massaido Haidara, who is still 23. However, neither of our full backs can claim to be ‘kids’ anymore and now is the time in their careers that they should be asserting themselves as Premier League level performers.
I have devised a little system whereby we look at each player’s performance stats and award the winner of each discipline 10 points with 2nd place getting 5 points. For every assist each players has, they gain 10 points. The same goes for every goal scored. However, for every mistake made that cost the Toon a goal, the players loses 10 points.
Unfortunately both Dummett and Haidara have had their injury problems this season and have missed games. Dummett has only featured in 15 games compared to Janmaat’s 24 and Haidara’s 7. In order to get a clearer understanding of each player’s respective stats over a set amount of time, I will need to include Haidara’s 15 games from last season, which brings him up to 22 overall. For Dummett, I will simply multiply his stats by a half, which brings him up to 22.5 games – both those numbers are comparable to Janmaat’s 24 then… However because Dummett and Haidara have failed to turn out as often as Janmaat, the latter begins with +10 points for reliability.
So first up is chances created. This is key passes that lead to a goal scoring opportunity. Janmaat runs away with this one with 19, which is more than the combined scores of Dummett (6) and Haidara (10). Whilst we are on the subject lets look at assists. As expected the attack minded Dutch International takes first place with 3, giving him a total of 50 points. Next up is the Frenchman with one for a total of 10 points and bringing up the rear is our Welsh full back with zero, leaving him still searching for his first points. Staying with attack stats, both Janmaat and Dummett have a goal each, whilst Haidara has none. So what about testing the opposition ‘keeper? Again Janmaat leads the way with 6 shots on target compared to the other two’s one each. On top of that, Janmaat is by far the most efficient of the 3 when taking shots – with 75% accuracy compared to 25% for Dummett and 16% for Haidara. 20 more points to Daryl.
In terms of taking the opposition on, Paul Dummett lags far behind the other two with only 9 successes. Massaido Haidara gets himself 5 points with 22. Janmaat (30) runs away with this one. So how many successful passes have our players made? Bringing up the rear is Haidara with 525. Dummett nets himself 5 points with 550 and Janmaat takes the victory again by some margin with 700.
You will be pleased to know that from near on a combined 75 games, our 3 full backs have only cost us 1 goal from a blatant defensive error. That honor goes to Paul Dummett, who loses 10 points as a consequence. So how about defensive actions such as interceptions, blocks and clearances that if not had been made would have likely cost us a goal? This is where Janmaat finally comes unstuck with only 5 to his name. Dummett gains 5 points with 9, whilst Haidara takes the day with 12.
In terms of fouls committed, Dummett gains 10 points with only 18. The other two have committed 21 each. Who is our best tackler then? Well in terms of successful tackles, Dummett takes top spot again with 52. Janmaat is not far behind with 48 but Haidara is seriously lacking with only 31. Finally, we look at successful headers. Again, Dummett is top dog by some margin with 45. Haidara takes 5 points with 25 whilst Janmaat brings up the rear with 21.
According to the above system, our best overall full back is Daryl Janmaat by a Country Mile – with 105 points. In second place is Paul Dummett with 50 points despite being deducted points for directly costing Newcastle a goal. Massaido Haidara is found wanting with 40 points.
Observations would be that whilst Janmaat is known for his forward play, his defensive play is not bad either. He puts in his fare share of successful tackles but what really lets him down is his strength in the air. Defensively Dummett is the better of the three, with more tackles and headers. That said he is pretty rubbish going forward, which is an important part of an effective full back. I’d argue that his stats suggest he should be a central defender. Haidara is a middle of the road defender, who is generally effective both going forward and back, but not particularly great in any area.
In conclusion, we definitely need a left back with a bit of class. The question is, do we let go of Dummett or Haidara? I’d say given Haidara’s stats, he’s not good enough at this level and his injury record does not help. However, is Dummett really suited to this position?