There has been little to get excited about this summer for Newcastle fans. After finishing last season like a train, there should have been momentum to take into the 2021/22 season.
Unfortunately, the focus has been on the takeover slog, which has caused a lack of investment into the playing squad. Joe Willock may be closing in on a return to Tyneside, but we’ve left it late with less than one week to go before our first game of the new season.
One reason to be excited about the coming campaign is Callum Wilson. He had an excellent first year in the black and white, contributing 12 goals and five assists.
Wilson played just over 2000 minutes, but averaged a goal involvement every 122.7 minutes. This is an exceptional return for a forward player in a team like ours.
Although we improved after the appointment of Graeme Jones, we were a very poor attacking team in the first half of the season. Wilson’s numbers were massaged by four penalties, but his underlying stats did suggest his goal-scoring was sustainable.
It is clear that he is the biggest threat when he is in the team. Last season, he averaged 0.49 expected goals (xG) per ninety minutes. This shows that the quality of chances he gets should result in roughly a goal every other game.
When penalties are excluded from this count, he averages 0.36 non-penalty xG per ninety minutes. This is still a very impressive average in a bottom half Premier League team.
Wilson speaks about his desire to score 20 Premier League goals this season. The key to that will be staying fit. If he can play more than 2500 minutes and we retain a more front foot approach, he has an outside chance of reaching that mark. He will need a bit of luck and the team to win some penalties along the way to boost his numbers.
This season feels like another fresh start for Wilson with renewed motivation. He is hungry to get back into the England squad, but he also has the added incentive of wearing the number nine shirt. It will also be his first season playing in front of fans at St James’ Park.
There are a number of reasons for the striker to have a good season, even if the overall direction of the club is underwhelming.
Supporters continue to worry about relegation and for good reason. However, it is a major boost to any team to have a proven Premier League goal-scorer. We have that in Wilson.
It will be another slog this season and survival is unfortunately the aim. In Wilson, we have a striker pushing for individual aims and that is something to give us some excitement for the campaign.