Below you can see two Newcastle United “teams of the season,” which I have assembled based on player statistics from whoscored.com, OPTA and transfermarkt.co.uk.
The first (and most important) is based on performances in the Premier League, with the second based on performances in the Europa League. The figures below the player’s names are their ratings from whoscored.com, which are based on a range of performance metrics based on OPTA stats. To put these into some kind of perspective, whoscored’s most highly rated Premier League goalkeeper last season was Sunderland’s Simon Mignolet with an average of 7.0. In defence it was Tottenham’s Jan Vertonghen with 7.6 and in midfield the honours were shared between Arsenal’s Santi Cazorla and Tottenham’s Gareth Bale, both with 7.9. Finally, up front, Liverpool’s Luis Suarez narrowly pipped Manchester United’s Robin van Persie (7.8) with his 7.9 rating.
Getting back to Newcastle United though, although the goalkeepers, defenders and strikers were pretty straightforward overall, things became more complicated when it came to midfielders who had been played in several different positions during the season, gaining different ratings in different positions. However, after some work, I have finally managed to sort it out.
Finally, as 4-2-3-1 was Newcastle United’s most common formation in both the Premier League and the Europa League, it is this formation which has been used for both of Newcastle United’s “Dream Teams.”
So without further ado, lets take a look at Newcastle United’s Premier League team of the season!
Before I start on my little round up of who have been the star performers in each area of the pitch, please accept my apologies in advance for not covering every detail, that would make this a very long and complex blog indeed! However I have noted a few of the more salient points in my research without being too much of a Geek (I hope).
As you can see below, both Tim Krul and Steve Harper have achieved the same rating, being roughly similar in terms of performance. If it came down to one, it would be have to be Krul as Harper only made a handful of appearences in the Premier League, which can distort things somewhat. However, as the season just gone was Harper’s last at NUFC after two decades of loyal and excellent service, and he did get the same rating as Krul overall, it’s only fair that I put him in there alongside the Flying Dutchman as some kind of tribute.
Though Mike Williamson has been unfairly criticised by some, he is the definitely the star here as well as being the most highly rated player in the whole squad as far as the Premier League goes.
Statistically, two of the main reasons for this have been his abilty in the air, as well as his clearances. In these respects he won almost four times as many aerial duels as Coloccini (123/32) as well as having a higher percentage of succcess. Of the four main center backs, Williamson had a 69% success rate, S.Taylor 63%, Yanga M’Biwa 54% and Coloccini 51%. Williamson also made more than twice as many successful clearences as Coloccini (69/146), as well as over twice as many successful headed clearences (37/89).
Williamson was also the only main defender who was never dispossessed of the ball according to OPTA. This compares with Davide Santon (23), Danny Simpson (15), Mathieu Debuchy (11), Mapou Yanga M’Biwa (7) and Fabricio Coloccini (5).
With Coloccini’s undoubted abilty with the ball on the floor, combined with Williamson’s in the air, they make a good combination in the heart of Newcastle United’s defence. However, in terms of stats, it is recent import Mapou Yanga M’Biwa who pips the curly haired Argentinian to get the other place beside Williamson, with Debuchy and Santon protecting the flanks. Although Mathieu Debuchy had to pip Danny Simpson for his place on the right hand, I think it’s fair to say that Santon has had little competition on the left, especially so with two major injuries to Ryan Taylor, who Santon replaced as the club’s primary left back.
In the midfield area it is Yohan Cabaye who comes out on top.
Much of this was due to his passing in attack and his overall chance creation. Cabaye created 53 chances according to OPTA. In terms of chances created in open play, Cabaye’s figure was 33, with 18 created from set plays and two goal assists. In this area, credit should also go to Sylvain Marveaux and Vurnon Anita. Despite spending less time on the pitch than several other midfielders, they were the next highest, with both Marveaux and Anita creating 34 chances each. In Marveaux’s case this broke down to 21 chances created in open play and 9 from set plays. Marveaux was also Newcastle United’s bigger provider of assists with 4. Looking at Anita, he created almost as many chances from open play as Cabaye (27). Finally, Anita also provided 6 chances from set plays and 1 assist.
In this forward department the statistics indicate Demba Ba as the first choice up front.
Despite leaving the club in January to join Chelsea, Ba was still our leading Premier League goalscorer (13), taking the most shots (89) with a shot every 23.84 minutes on average, as well as getting the most shots on target (37). Finally, he also made the most headed attempts (20).
Europa League team of the season.
With only fourteen Europa League games, this one is more of a bit of fun rather than anything else. Despite Alan Pardew’s repeated protestions about tiredness, players were rotated quite alot, with many younger and more peripheral squad players being used in the earlier stages of the competition. The most games played by any player was eight (Vurnon Anita and Papiss Cisse). Hence, I won’t attempt to make any deeper analysis of this team. Also, some of the more peripheral players who were used in the earlier gmaes against lesser competition may well have come off slightly better than those who were saved for the likes of Girondins de Bordeaux, Metalist Kharkiv, Anzhi Makhachkala and our final nemesis, the mighty Benfica.
Newcastle United Player of the season vote.
Before I sign off on this piece, I have also decided to start our annual “Player of the season” vote here with the poll below. To keep things sensible, only players who have spent 1000 minutes or more in all competitions have been included. Nonetheless, there are still 23 players to choose from!