Newcastle 2-0 Brighton – Championship Review

Well lets be honest. Very few of us expected a positive result from yesterday evening’s home fixture against Chris Hughton’s Seagulls. In the end the Magpies won relatively comfortably against a side widely expected to be fellow contenders come the season’s end. But just how comfortable was the win and what does this mean for the the rest of Newcastle’s league campaign?

First off, Chris Hughton had this to say after the game;

“I was really disappointed because, even in hindsight, I thought we had a really good opportunity. I didn’t think we were good enough on the ball but our stats equal all of theirs. Arguably we had two of the best chances from open play in the game. We conceded from two set plays and the second one was a great free-kick. Occasionally you go somewhere and you are absolutely outclassed, they have lots of chances, your goalkeeper is having to make lots of saves.

“That wasn’t the case – and if that’s not the case it means you are always in the game. But we didn’t have a good enough control of the ball at times and we conceded bad goals. What Newcastle managed to do was control the game. It’s not as if they had lots of chances. They hit the crossbar in that first half but the two opportunities we had were, I thought, two of the best of the game.”

So did he have a point? In terms plain stats, the answer is yes. Sort of. Brighton had 13 shots on goal, the same as Newcastle. However, only 2 of those were on target compared to Newcastle’s 4. Newcastle managed 86% passing accuracy, whereas Brighton registered only 78%.Chances created was just shaded by Brighton with 10 to 9, look closer and the Toon managed to create 5 in the box compared to Brighton’s 4. Brighton also had double the number of crosses that Newcastle managed (20 for them, 10 for us), however this stat flatters to deceive when you consider that only 4 of theirs were successful compared to 3 of ours. It was Brighton’s game plan to work the channels, but they did not get much change there.

The Magpies meanwhile, have shown they can now mix game plans up. Yesterday the focus was on attacking through the middle. At the beginning of the season we were working the channels, producing almost 40 crosses per game. If you look at tackling stats, then on the face of it Brighton win, with 38% success beating the Toon’s 29%. But look closer and you will find Newcastle actually won 5 more (24 to 19) than Fatboy Slim’s home town. The only stat the Seagulls can claim to have won convincingly is aerial battles, with a 63% success rate.

As for Hughton’s claim that Brighton deserved something because they had the best chances form open play – I take issue with that too. There is no doubt that Knockhert’s shot across the crossbar following a smart move inside our box was a great chance. Kayal had a good opportunity late on, which drew solid save from Selz. However, it’s not like Newcastle did not create good chances themselves from open play. Matt Ritchie drew good save form inside the box, Gouffran hit the crossbar with the goalkeeper well beaten, Shelvey hit the post late on and Gouffran should have done better with the goal at his mercy following a cross to the left side of the box in the first half. If Brighton had the potential to score 1 or 2 from open play, then so did Newcastle.

Watch the highlights and decide for yourself:

All in all, the stats were not much different between the two sides. But what about the home side’s performance made the difference? There are three things that have stood out in Newcastle’s current win streak that I feel are worth highlighting. These 3 things were all evident in the win against Brighton and I believe they will form the platform for a successful Championship campaign. I am not going to include Rafa Benitez’ tactical ability in those 3 things. That is self evident and was on show again yesterday when he switched formation to a 4-1-4-1, with Hayden performing on his own in the holding role and both Shelvey and Diame being allowed to play in advanced positions. This was in order to give Perez support up front with Mitrovic and Gayle both out with head injuries. We know Rafa can mix things up. We know Rafa is the Gaffer. All of the good things we are beginning to see have been instigated by him. So what are the other 3 things that he has been the catalyst for?

1) The squad’s work ethic.

Toon covered way more ground than their opponents
Toon covered way more ground than their opponents

If you look at the channels and in our own half, then what you see is a Toon side that grafts. Brighton tried to primarily attack down the flanks, but it was to no avail because our wingers and full backs were tireless their pursuit of the ball. When Brighton did come on the attack, the home side had the likes of Shelvey and Diame tracking back making meaningful defensive contributions. Last season that just would not have happened. When Newcastle did not have the ball, they were collectively pressing as a unit. Nowhere is this emphasized more than when you look at the clearance stats.

clearances brighton

Newcastle made 23 clearances compared to Brighton’s 7. Because the players are now working hard for each other, when danger presents itself there is more often than not somebody on hand to make the ball safe. 11 of Newcastle’s clearances came from midfielders (Hayden 4, Shelvey and Gouffran 2, Diame 3). Not one midfielder made a clearance for Brighton. That is significant and the team ethic is what made the difference today.

2) Squad depth.

Newcastle United has for years struggled with having a lop-sided squad. Rafa Benitez and Lee Charnley have addressed that this season, using relegation as an opportunity to clear out the sick notes and feckless – and replace them with professionals that serve a purpose. Almost every position now has 2 players that can do a good job if called upon. With Achraf Lazaar and Darryl Murphy about to join the ranks, our squad for the season is more or less complete. This means injuries and suspensions will no longer mean an instant crisis. Why it has taken so long for the top brass to see the importance of having good, reliable squad depth full of players with the right mentality is beyond me. Better late than never I guess…

3) New found ability from set pieces.

I recall only a few years back how we ll despaired at the fact we had not scored from a corner for over 2 years. Here are the figures for Newcastle goals scored from set pieces in the last 5 years:

2012/2013 – 10 (4 penalties).
2013/2014 – 9 (1 penalty).
2014/2015 – 8 (1 penalty).
2015/2016 – 11 (3 penalties).
2016/2017 – 6 (1 penalty).

To put that into perspective, in just 4 games this season the Magpies have managed to score a sixth of the total goals scored in he last 4 years combined. If we continue to score from set pieces at just 50% the rate we have managed so far this season, we will still have managed at least 24 by the end of the season, which is almost as much as the last 3 seasons combined. Clearly Rafa has had our boys working on this vital aspect of the game and it is refreshing to see it paying off.

Lets hear from Rafa the Gaffer himself;

I will finish up by saying that yesterday was a big test against a very good Championship side. The lads rose to the challenge and sent out a signal of intent. If I’m being honest (as Alan Pardew would say), I could not see past a Brighton win. The game showed that Newcastle really is a force to be reckoned with in this league despite the radical changes that have been made both on and off the pitch. It seems everybody is beginning to sing off the same hymn sheet now and after a 4th win in a row in all competitions, the ‘game’ is well and truly on.

HWTL.

About Shamrock

Like everyone here, support Newcastle United. Not the easiest side to feel good about at times, but it's our side!

67 thoughts on “Newcastle 2-0 Brighton – Championship Review

  1. Excellent result. Great header from Lascelles, Shelvey is at times clumsy and frustrating but he has that Gerrard like long passing and shooting ability. I think Rafa’s approach is to have two senior players for each position, as it is a lot of games. Even if they are not top level players, or long term investments (like Games or Murphy) it doesn’t matter at the end of the day. We don’t need to be the best team in the world, we just need to be better than the Brighton, Derby & Villas of the world. I would have been glad of Murphy today with Mitro and Gayle both out.

      (Quote)

  2. Sham – hells bells mate, that’s some analysis you’ve thrown together there innit?! – tremendous work.

      (Quote)

  3. Sham – I have to 2nd Sharpys comment mate.
    That is one hell of a cracking post match report, thankyou.
    Your effort is much appreciated.

    That was a very interesting game yesterday, and would seem to indicate the Lads are getting to grips with this league. For the first time in ages we didn’t buckle when being pressed, infact it was even refreshing to see us out press the opposition for a change.
    I thought the ref was poor, dishing out needless yellow cards yet not punishing other more reckless tackles etc.
    Cracking free kick from Shelvey, and some very good saves from Sels.
    Good to see some of the quick passes to each other coming off and everyone seemed to be working together and pulling in the same direction at last.
    Onwards and upwards it is then.
    we’ve even got a positive GD for the first time in years.
    HOWAY the LADS

      (Quote)

  4. Sham top notch article mate ?
    Never got to see the game , but we’ll pleased with what bits and pieces I have seen, also glad to see a bit of optimism about the team now. As it was obvious that it would take a while for the team to gel .

      (Quote)

  5. Thanks Shapock. good read.

    Will shelvey and diame be chasing the same spot in the team or will they play together when we have a big man back ?

      (Quote)

  6. Sham, Superb stuff, well done mate.
    Was really pleased with what I saw yesterday, if they can keep that work rate and concentration level up we’ll do ok. Someone should tell Sissoko to watch the likes of Diame and Hayden and explain that if he’d played like that, he’d have his move already. It’s heartening to know that we can cope without Gayle and Mitro if we have to and that’s without having to call on the expected Daryl Murphy. Love how proactive Rafa is with his tactics, so refreshing to have a guy at the helm who knows what he’s doing. Diame my motm , excellent workrate and won the free kick for Shelvey to score a beautiful Free Kick.

      (Quote)

  7. that was a meaty report sham. great read 😀

    We played a great game. controlled form the start. Shelvey looks a different player after losing a bit of beef and listening tp rafas instructions. Diame looks a cross between Sissy and Tiote.

    Every player played their part. Sels looked the player Rafa hoped he’d bought a few months ago.

    The regime is changing their ways, we use to buy players that were versatile, ideally, covering other positions if needed…it doesnt work. Rafa is building a large squad for every eventuality.

    Players can’t feel sorry for themselves, theyre all pulling in the same direction.
    Aparently Lazaar can play in midfield too. I reckon we could do with another winger. maybe the chelsea man will do

      (Quote)

  8. after watching the togetherness of our team yesterday, i really hope we offload the distractions.. sissy, tiote, Manu etc, loan, sell cheaply etc..just get shot

    Keep Goofy, played very well yesterday.

      (Quote)

  9. Cheers for the comments ladies and gents. I love looking in detail at all the game and player stats.

    Sissoko has this to say today;

    “They are asking for €40 million for me but I think that’s an exaggerated price,” he told France Football (via Gazzetta World).

    “I was bought for something like €2m and so for this reason, a sale has slowed down.

    “That price is deterring any clubs who are interested and even with Real, things have cooled.

    “Ever since I came back from my holiday, I’ve been training alone. I’ve been involved in some exercises with my teammates but for important meetings, I’m not there.

    “[Rafael] Benitez wants to build a team to return to the Premier League and I’m not part of his plans.”

    What a c#ck. Sissy you were never surplus to requirements you tit. You forced Rafa’s hand by telling everybody how desparate you are to leave, persistently, all summer. You can’t continuallyvtalk about how much better you are than your club and teammates and not expect to be made to train alone!

    I bet if he were told to train and play a game this month he would have refused and run to the press saying we were jeopardising his dream move. ??

      (Quote)

  10. £20M for James McCarthy?? we do need another attacking option in the middle, not sure hes worth that tho… Rafa must hire a hypnotist to keep the players happy 😆

    5 possible left backs, 5 centre halves, 5 possible rightbacks
    3-4 left wingers / 4centremids (not inc sissy and tiote) 3 possible right wingers
    6 forwards
    bet you can’t name them 😛

      (Quote)

  11. Great win yesterday. Though I didn’t see the game, brilliant headed goal by Lascelles, and a great free kick by Shelvey.
    We are obviously creating too few chances in open play, though that will change once we get our main strike partners back. Trick question for Rafa is who gets left out. Would love to see Sissoko and Diame destroying opponents midfield, maybe the day will come, who knows !

    Man of the match yesterday goes to Shamrock for almost single handidly keeping the blog ticking over. Well done mate, a fantastically dynamic and brilliant write up, your efforts are much appreciated. This blog is always my first port of call to pick up on the crack surrounding the toon…keep up the good stuff..

      (Quote)

  12. Definitely getting stronger defensively, game by game. Loved the way we just saw the game out when I’m used to backs to the wall panicking. 2 great goals! I guess Shamrock was right in his pre season analysis – about 6 games to gel. It’s more or less what Rafa said too – by the end of August we’ll see where we are.
    Expecte a bit more from Ritchie but that’ll come.

      (Quote)

  13. Daryl Murphy confirmed – 2yr deal for a 33yr old on an undisclosed fee ? ….. still not convinced like.

      (Quote)

  14. Lee Ryder ‏@lee_ryder · 45m45 minutes ago

    Murphy: “When I knew the club was interested, it was a no-brainer for me so I’m happy it’s all done.” #nufc

    Well, it’s what we’ve all wanted, players who WANT to play for us, so good luck to him.

      (Quote)

  15. Good to have another big man up front. Squad shaping up nicely. He wears the Irish colours, so you know he’s a top lad! Proven track record at this level.

    Cheers MM for your kind words. I’ve known you lot for a long while now, so that’s motivation enough to keep plugging away for the time being ?

      (Quote)

  16. kimtoon:
    Well, he’s here now, so welcome Daryl hope you do well when called upon.

    Kim – after much consideration last night I have clung to the thought that at 33 this is his last chance of the big time – that should hopefully mean that he comes with a fire in his belly & desire to do well, rather than one of these Jonny foreigners who just see us as a stepping stone as has been the case so often.

      (Quote)

  17. Two year deal is low risk. How old is Jermaine Defoe? He’s been mackems best player for the last 12 months. The under 26 thing was just daft and has rarely worked. Didn’t Villa put their faith in loads of young inexperienced players and how did that go? I don’t think they were all free/cheap either.

      (Quote)

  18. I think we maybe forget sometimes that Mitrovic is still only 21, so it will be good for him to compete with an experienced player in his position. We’ve got 9 points from 15 with no main CF available, so that is probably not a bad result.

      (Quote)

  19. Tell you what though, imagine how good we would be if we still have Townsend on the left. Such a shame.

      (Quote)

  20. Shamrock, you’re the man mate, keep it up !

    Ive got no probs with this Murphy bloke, Rafa has a cunning plan so let it transpire.. 46 games is a long season, so hes gonna need all hands to the pump, whilst protecting his big hitters.

    It’ll be interesting to see how Rafa handles Sissoko when the transfer window closes on wednesday and the big diddy is still training on his own in Elswick Park.

      (Quote)

  21. Agree regarding Townsend, him and Puncheon are a real threat at Palace. Actually Pardwho has a massive abundance of riches, and still cant get it right. Will he be out of a job by the time he needs to panic buy Sissoko in January ?

      (Quote)

  22. ‘At the end of the 2014/15 season, he was crowned the Championship’s top goalscorer, earning a place in the division’s team of the year and also Town’s own player of the year award thanks to his 27 goals.’ >>> The mackems can laugh all they want and yeah, we was rubbish at Sunderland around ten years ago. But you don’t score 50 goals in 3 seasons by being that bad, some players get better over time. Anyway, let them enjoy their annual relegation battle and let’s see who’s laughing by the end of the season, no points off us this year and the ‘boro have already thumped them at their place. 😆

      (Quote)

  23. so Tiote due in Turkey to sign Gally no word on fee like,another one bites the dust,wonder if he taking all his wifes with him 😆 😆

      (Quote)

  24. Well done, Sham. Great analysis.

    With any luck Townsend and Palace will be swapping places with us next season where I will enjoy the Shadenfreude!

    Looks like we’ve got a left back in as well as Murphy. One more winger and we could be good to go.

      (Quote)

  25. so the fee for Murphy is varying depending on where you read the story between 2.6 mil to 4 mil with a 1 mil add on if we go up

      (Quote)

  26. Two Manchester City stars out of Samir Nasri , Eliaquim Mangala and Wilfried Bony face the humiliation of being left out of Pep Guardiola’s squad for the Premier League and Champions League campaigns.
    Rafa is playing the Sissoko issue just right…

      (Quote)

  27. Rafa the Gaffer doesn’t mess about does he? Saviet and Tiote next out of the door. Colback next? all fingers and toes crossed. 😈

      (Quote)

  28. so Inter have signed Joao Mario: for 38.4 mil,they wouldnt pay 35 mil for Siko so what does that say to Siko,your not good enough son

      (Quote)

  29. Put Sissoko and Cisse together on a pitch 5m x 5m to play keepy ups between them and the ball boys would be knackered in neee time. Two stars of the Teflon 11 if you ask me…
    I’m curious how the fans will take to the flakey one when he is back in the team and has to run out at SJP ?

    Good luck to Cheik Tiote…

      (Quote)

  30. icedog:
    so Inter have signed Joao Mario: for 38.4 mil,they wouldnt pay 35 mil for Siko so what does that say to Siko,your not good enough son

    Ice – nobody will pay £35m for Sissoko man!!! – coz he’s not worth it. Fingers crossed he will be moved in before Wednesday though.

      (Quote)

  31. Sharpy17: Ice – nobody will pay £35m for Sissoko man!!! – coz he’s not worth it.Fingers crossed he will be moved in before Wednesday though.

    yes please please pretty please

      (Quote)

  32. Quite a bit of chat linking us with McCarthy today – £20m like ?

    But I suppose if we are moving Tiote & Sissoko on then we need another midfielder in.

    With Murphy, Lazaar and Atsu either done or close to being done, I wonder how much business will be done before Wednesday.

      (Quote)

  33. Sharpy17:
    Quite a bit of chat linking us with McCarthy today – £20m like

    But I suppose if we are moving Tiote & Sissoko on then we need another midfielder in.

    With Murphy, Lazaar and Atsu either done or close to being done, I wonder how much business will be done before Wednesday.

    I don’t rate the bloke mate plus he’s a right bloody dirty git,no thanks,makes Siko price a bit better if they want 20mil for him

    I see it looks like Pardew is going to get Remy on loan,he might just save his bacon

      (Quote)

  34. Just did a quick comparison on James McCarthy against 4 other CM’s who played in the same position last season for teams that finished mid table. I won’t go into details, but looked at all the useful stats for central midfielder and results are as follows, with the number next to the player indicating fields won against the others;

    1) James Morrison (WBA – 8).
    2) Ben Watson (Watford – 4).
    =3) James McCarthy (Everton – 3)
    =3) Craig Gardner (WBA – 3).
    5) Charlie Adam (Stoke – 0).

    Morrison and Watson are valued at a third less than McCarthy, but both outperformed him last year. I’m not sold on him at all tbh.

    1)

      (Quote)

  35. Depends how much time Remy needs to get up to speed after sitting on the bench for the best part of the last two seasons

    Certainly has the talent to keep the spivs head above water for a bit if he can settle & stay fit

      (Quote)

  36. That ran through my mind too funky. He’s very quick and Anita will take some shifting from the RB spot.
    No idea how clever he is with the ball though.

      (Quote)

  37. Good read Shamrock and thanks for the highlights. I watched it in a pub and the feed was very fuzzy so it was good to see the action again.

    Now the question is what the hell do we do with Tiote and Sissoko now? If we are stuck with Tiote I would probably sell Colback.

    20 million is insane for McCarthy. Even if Rafa thinks he would be the final piece to guarantee promotion Everton are yanking everybody’s chain with that valuation.

      (Quote)

  38. 20M????? Absolutely ridiculous. I don’t know what he’s worth but Transfer Market have him at 4M euros! Hahahaha. Who would pay 20 M?

      (Quote)

  39. Sorry Transfr Market have McCarthy at 7M euros. It’s McManaman at 4M. Still that’s a long way from 20M! 😳

      (Quote)

  40. OK. This is getting to be a joke now. Pards has supposedly tabled a bid for Berahino. He seems to mainly shop for previous NUFC targets and current players. In addition to Andros weren’t there rumours of him wanting Timmy-the-Hoof and Moussa-the-run-down-blind-alleys? I am sure he was linked with a few others as well.

      (Quote)

  41. Nice article Shamrock, well done mate. I’m away on holiday and saw about 20 minutes of the game as the Wifi kept crashing! Still can’t get over that strike from Gouffy! What a goal that would’ve been!

      (Quote)

  42. As soon as Ba played well for us someone was always going to come in with a big wage offer. We don’t do big wage offers very often and we certainly can’t compete with the likes of Chelsea even back then. We better hope Ritchie doesn’t have a blinder of a season or somebody will have him off us next summer.

      (Quote)

  43. We really do have almost a completely different team than the players that were 1st choice last year. Only Mitro, Dummett and MBemba by my reckoning. It doesn’t look like Colback will be 1st choice and Perez, Tiote and Anita were in and out. Lascelles didn’t really get the nod until the last few games and Shelvey was dropped.

    I am saying this and I haven’t even seen half a dozen of them in a B&W shirt yet. It is just so unlike NUFC I don’t know how to process it.

      (Quote)

  44. He’s building a good squad for the Champs laEric mate. Lots of depth to compete in cups as well. I like it. Lots of pace down the wings and the fullbacks should be decent as well. If Gayle can keep on scoring and Mitro plunks in quite a few we’ll be hard to beat.

      (Quote)

  45. And another thing… Has anybody noticed who is joint bottom of the PL with only 1 point from 3 games. Yes, Mackems and Palace. I know it is early but they are in for a struggle. The only problem is that the promoted teams may be worse so they may survive by the skin of their teeth – AGAIN.

      (Quote)

  46. Interesting comments from Hooton, yes we didn’t ‘absolutely outclass’ them but we ‘controlled the game’. I will take that as a complement but I think we had at least 3 players on a yellow card before any of theirs. The fact that they managed to get a second yellow from that challenge on the keeper was just recklessness. We only controlled the game after that. Yes they had a one that hit the Crossbar, but so did Gouffran to be honest, which would have made it 2-0 a lot sooner. Our defence and keeper looked solid which is why I think we won the game and probably is because of Rafa and his coaching.

      (Quote)

  47. Eric Sykes:
    And another thing… Has anybody noticed who is joint bottom of the PL with only 1 point from 3 games. Yes, Mackems and Palace. I know it is early but they are in for a struggle. The only problem is that the promoted teams may be worse so they may survive by the skin of their teeth – AGAIN.

    Gerra way man, ‘Borough have already stuffed them at their place and Hull/Burnley are well capable of beating them. Moyes will be sacked by Jan 1st. 😉

      (Quote)

  48. If you look at their relegation battles over the last four/five years, it’s 4/6points from Newcastle and a winning run at the end that has kept them up, they always start rubbish and then sack the manager. That’s why I had that bet but the Sunderland fan thinks it will be different this time because it’s Moyes. What has David Moyes done apart from Everton? He failed both his last jobs, maybe he’s the new Macca. 😆

      (Quote)

  49. DJG: This is the list so far of the Mackems transfers.

    INS: Papy Djilobodji (£8m, Chelsea), Paddy McNair (£5m, Manchester United), Donald Love (£1m, Manchester United), Adnan Januzaj (loan, Manchester United), Steven Pienaar (free, Everton), Javier Manquillo (loan, Atletico Madrid).

    They have recouped 10 mil from sales so their net spend is about 4 million. Moyes is a notoriously slow starter and as you say how much of an upgrade is he on Fat Sam? Every other team have upgraded their squad whilst so far the Mackems haven’t done much. I think Janizaj might be a bit lightweight for the PL and I even think he returned early from his loan in Germany, or at least didn’t get it extended.

    I think you stand a good chance of winning your bet and hope you do.

      (Quote)

  50. And, we need some revenge for that crappy banner they were flying over SJP. A nice wave out the window as they go down whilst we go up would be sweet.

      (Quote)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Question   Razz  Sad   Evil  Exclaim  Smile  Redface  Biggrin  Surprised  Eek   Confused   Cool  LOL   Mad   Twisted  Rolleyes   Wink  Idea  Arrow  Neutral  Cry   Mr. Green