Newcastle United vs Leeds United: A battle of the statistics

Posted on April 6th, 2017 | 2 Comments |

Dwight Gayle scoring
Dwight Gayle: Two goals against Leeds last time
Newcastle are hurtling back towards the Premiership after opening up a commanding lead at the top of the Championship and they could seal promotion in their upcoming home game against Leeds Utd. Gary Monk’s men have enjoyed a strong season and will make life difficult for Newcastle, but the Magpies will be confident of victory.

These sides met at Elland Road in November and Dwight Gayle put Leeds to the sword with a superbly taken brace. Leeds battled bravely but Newcastle were superior in all departments, and the gulf has widened between the two sides since. Leeds are fifth in the table, but 12 points behind leaders Newcastle, who have been brimming with confidence all season.

A strong summer in the transfer market paid off for Rafa Benitez, who raised around £90 million by selling off players like Giorginio Wijnaldum and Moussa Sissoko reinvesting £60 million in new stars. It has clearly worked as a review of the best soccer odds at Labrokes shows Newcastle are odds-on favourites to win the Championship and be promoted, and they are favourites to win almost all of their remaining games this season.

Benitez gutted out a team that was relegated with a whimper and fashioned a new side perfectly placed to secure promotion straight back up to the top flight. Gayle has been a revelation, banging in 22 goals and enjoying by far the best minutes per goals ratio in the division, while Matt Ritchie was another shrewd signing.

The only player with more Championship goals than Gayle this season is Leeds striker Chris Woods, who has scored 24 times, albeit with more games under his belt than Gayle. But the supporting cast has not been as hot for Leeds, who have only hit the net 52 times compared to 72 goals for Newcastle.

What has propelled Newcastle to the top of the Championship is their magnificent away form. If you divide the table into home and away, they would only be sixth in the home table, but they are well clear at the top of the away table, with 13 wins from 20 games leaving them 10 points better off than Brighton & Hove Albion, the second best team on the road. At home Newcastle are well behind Brighton, and have recorded 12 wins in 19 games. But that should still be good enough form to see them past a Leeds side they have already beaten this season.

Leeds would be third in the home table but sixth in the away table, with eight wins, three draws and eight defeats. It is hard to advise backing a team that has already lost eight times on the road and is coming up against the league leaders. One trend of late, however, is that Newcastle have rarely been covering handicaps. A lot of their wins have come by a single goal. The best option is probably to back the straight Newcastle win, while Gayle to score at any time also looks good as his pace, movement and finishing ability should once again cause nightmare for the Leeds defence.

Benitez now has the opportunity to turn Newcastle into a Premiership force once again. He will be hoping for a similar experience to Leicester City, who won the Premiership in their second season in the top flight, defying odds of 5,000/1 and earning legendary status around the world.

A lot will depend on the board’s willingness to back him in the transfer market. He has shown a great deal of loyalty by staying on to manage in the Championship after a relegation that was not really his fault as Newcastle were in all sorts of trouble before he joined near the end of the season. The owner has been reluctant to back certain managers in the past but has loosened the purse strings in the last few years. If he does not do so in the summer, Benitez could walk. Newcastle should consider themselves fortunate to have a manager that has won the Champions League and managed huge clubs like Real Madrid, Liverpool and Chelsea. He stuck by them for away games at Rotherham and Burton, now they need to back him to take a strong team to Stamford Bridge and Anfield and make Newcastle a big club once more.

NUFCBlog Author: Frankly Various Frankly Various has written 1 articles on this blog.

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2 Responses

  1. I just happened to watch Leicester play Everton to-day, packing ten men behind the ball and using what’s become their major tactic, the fast break.

    It may have worked last season, but it has become a one and only tactic, which can be nullified by a well drilled side.

    Which Everton are and surprising enough Everton have a number of big players injured at present, but always seem capable of finding youngsters to fill those roles and like Rooney and others sell them on for a decent profit.

    Well that may in fact be where they were under Kenwright alone, but with what appears to be a big money partner and a new stadium in the works, “watch out Liverpool” and the rest, being we have added a further club, that can compete making the EPL a league that is possibly the worlds toughest to top.

    Any club who makes it into the EPL’s top ten nowadays has to be decent and we are seeing more and more former top league regular clubs crashing out, like ourselves a season ago Sunderland looked like contenders for the drop at the seasons beginning, plus they may be followed by the smoggies up for a cup of coffee and back.

    Money has to be spent!

  2. Never mind Leicester vs Everton, what about Sheffield on Saturday? That certainly wasn’t good news. It was Sheffield Wednesday who stopped Hughton’s promotion prospects in the playoffs last season so they are no strangers to putting a spanner in the works. It looks like Gayle was knacked again too. Of course, we are still a fair way from third, but we should be first with what we’ve got, and with a manager like Benitez

    Aye, it looks like Sundrland and Middlesbrough for the drop, which will probably please alot of people in the Tyneside area, as long as we get promoted the other way of course.

    BTW, I didn’t write the blog above with it’s rather premature attitude about promotion. Just wanted to get that out of the way!

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