It is looking pretty definite that Cheik Tiote will miss out on THUNDERDOME™ tomorrow. I had hinged much of our potential success in this match on Tiote's availability, so in an attempt to pull myself back from the ledge, I decided to try to look at some stats to see if my perception of reality was anywhere near what reality is. Interestingly, it doesn't seem like the differences between he and Danny Guthrie are nearly as stark as I anticipated.
Follow the jump and check out a few chalkboards from the Guardian- maybe we aren't doomed.
My immediate concern was that Guthrie could not even hold a candle to Tiote with regard to defensive prowess, so the first two sets of chalkboards compare the two playes in 1) tackles and 2) interceptions:
So in the measurable defensive areas, there really is not that much difference between the two midfielders. What about considering ball movement?
This was a little bit of a surprising comparison for me... I would have expected Guthrie to come out ahead in this comparison... but Tiote attempted roughly twice as many passes while failing on exactly the same number as Guthrie. Just on a quick blush, it does appear that there will be a drop-off, just not the same one that I was anticipating. There will be challenges all over the pitch for Newcastle in the morning, among them will be how effectively Newcastle can disrupt Manchester City in their midfield buildups and then subsequently how well we can hold the ball through midfield as well. It seems that Danny Guthrie will need to perform better on the latter in stead of the former.