Despite the heroics of Tim Krul on Saturday, as well as those of other more ‘glamorous’ Newcastle United players such as Loic Remy, Yohan Cabaye etc throughout the season, if we look at the results both before and after he came into the team, it could be argued that Newcastle United’s most important player this season so far has been Mike Williamson.
After a couple of outings in the League Cup against Morecambe and Leeds, ‘Iron’ Mike was finally introduced to the club’s Premier League campaign as a half time substitute (for Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa) against Everton. This was after another disastrous first half display by the Magpie defence against Everton, with the club already 3-0 down. That was 5 1/2 games into the season and as Newcastle United have now played 11, with Williamson on the pitch for exactly the same time as he has been off it in Premier League games, I thought it would be a good time to look at the staistics for Newcastle United with and without Williamson.
The difference has been obvious watching the games with a transformed back four. Even in that Everton game alone, the bleeding was staunched immediately with Newcastle keeping a clean sheet in the second half, giving them a platform to go on and stage a comeback with two goals, though, alas, it wasn’t quite enough on that occasion.
As you can see below, the statistics certainly seem to back it up too. Despite another day that will live in infamy with a second defeat in a row against Sunderland, the difference in form has been immense. This is especially so as most of our most difficult fixtures so far, against Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham have come in the time since the big lad’s return to the fray.
To extrapolate a little, if we had continued playing all the games as we did in those first 5 1/2, we would finish the season somewhere in lower mid-table with 48 points. On the other hand and despite the tough fixtures, if we played the way we have since Williamson came into the Premier League first team over a whole season, we would have 10 more points than we did when we came 5th, a huge 79 with a Champions League place guaranteed!
As you can see, I have used half way point against Everton as the the dividing line, hence the strange 5 1/2 games thing either way. The first half of that game is counted as a 3-0 defeat and the second as a 2-0 victory, but for only 1 1/2 points instead of 3.
The first table shows Newcastle United’s overall Premier League record this season with and without Williamson in a league table style format, with the second showing all the results.
|Newcastle United with and without Williamson.|
PPG – Points per game.
GCG – Goals conceeded per game.
|Premier League results with and without Williamson.|
|1||Manchester City||4 – 0||Newcastle United|
|2||Newcastle United||0 – 0||West Ham|
|3||Newcastle United||1 – 0||Fulham|
|4||Aston Villa||1 – 2||Newcastle United|
|5||Newcastle United||2 – 3||Hull City|
|6||Everton (first half)||3 – 0||Newcastle United|
|6||Everton (second half)||0 – 2||Newcastle United|
|7||Cardiff City||1 – 2||Newcastle United|
|8||Newcastle United||2 – 2||Liverpool|
|9||Sunderland||2 – 1||Newcastle United|
|10||Newcastle United||2 – 0||Chelsea|
|11||Tottenham Hotspur||0 – 1||Newcastle United|