With the transfer window now firmly slammed shut, it’s time to say goodbye to the first month of the year. And as we enter February following a historic transfer period, I figured it was a good idea to look back on the month that was, and see how well Newcastle stuck to the idea of “new year, new me”.
Looking at the total wins in January, Newcastle finished the month with 3 wins and 3 loses, 2 each in the Premier League and 1 each in the FA cup. In terms of total wins in one month, Newcastle matches it’s previous record from November, and the win over Blackburn on the 15th also snapped a month-long winless streak.
In terms of offense, according to whoscored.com, 11 goals (8 in league matches, 3 in the FA Cup) were scored by 8 different players. Perez, Schar and Ritchie are all tied for most goals this month, with two. Joselu, Rondon, Clark, Longstaff, and Roberts round out the list of goal scorers with one each. Subsequently, the game with the most goals scored in January is also the game where Schar scored twice. And of those 11 goals, only 4 of them were scored single handed. Ritchie, Murphy, Joselu, Rondon and Lascelles all have one apple to start the new year. Isaac Hayden leads the team in assists in January with 2.
But goals and assists shouldn’t be the only measure of offense we should look at because often times you run into a hot goalie and you can’t get much if anything going offensively. The other thing you should look at is shots, both total shots and shots on goal. In terms of the former, Newcastle was able to generate 93 total shots over the course of January and 29 of those shots were on target. For those of us who don’t feel like doing math, that means only 31.18% of Newcastle’s total shots made the opposing goaltender work for his money. To put that into context, Bournemouth, who is one of our closest neighbors in terms of goal difference, only generated 77 total shots but 33 of them found their way on target for an on target percentage of 42.86%. Newcastle generated plenty of offensive pressure with the amount of shots they took, but barely got to translate that pressure into points.
And as for the last line of defense, the net minders kept the total goals against count to 10 goals after facing 27 shots on goal in both League and Cup games. Goaltender #1 Martin Dubravka boasts a 0.71 GAA, a 72.2% save percentage and one shutout. Freddy Woodman, with two appearances in January can’t quite hold his head as high, sporting a save percentage of 42.9% and a disappointing GAA of 2.0. And rounding out the goalkeepers, Rob Elliot brings up the rear with a save percentage of an even 50% with a GAA of only 1.0 in the only game he played in January.
All in all, Newcastle escaped January with a .500 record and a +1 in goal difference. Looking at the season as a whole, January didn’t feel like a turning point or anything special. But even with the defensive style of play Newcastle uses, they have still been about to generate nearly 100 total shots. And knowing Rafa, he’ll use January as a building block to focus more on finishing more of their chances and hopefully start finding more goals. January was a good start, let’s hope February can be even better.