With the shortest month of the year out of the way, Newcastle United is on the home stretch. And while Rafa and the lads gear up for the last 10 games, let’s look back at the last four matches and see how well the team has done since the closing of the transfer window.
In terms of overall record, the Magpies exit February with a .500 record, 2 wins, 1 draw and 1 lose, the second time in a row Newcastle has ended a month with a .500 record and the first time Newcastle has had two months with a .500 record or better all season.
Offensively, according to whoscored.com, Newcastle took a small dip in goals per game as compared to January, where they scored 11 goals in 7 total games for a Goals per Game average (GPGA) of 1.57. February saw Newcastle score 5 goals in 4 games for a GPGA of 1.25. While that’s still over a goal per game, it is a drop that I, personally, wasn’t expecting to find with how well it felt like Newcastle had been playing.
No one man lead the team in goals scored this month, all 5 goals came from someone different every time, those being: Hayden, Rondon, Perez, Schar and the local boy himself, Sean Longstaff. Schar, Rondon and Javier Manquillo all had one assist as well, meaning 60% of the goals scored this month had a helping hand.
In terms of offense generated, Newcastle was able to create 59 total shots, and had 20 shots directed goalward, for an on-Goal percentage (oG%) of 33.8983%, which is up by almost 3 percent (2.7183%) from last month. Compare that to Leicester, who are currently ahead of Newcastle in goal difference by only 4 goals. Leicester generated 80 total shots in February but only 19 of them justified the opposing goalie’s paycheck. For those who have a math allergy, that’s an oG% of only 23.75% and two of their four games were against teams around our position on the table. So while the total number of shots have fallen for Newcastle, more shots are finding their way at least in the direction of the net.
And for those curious who the leading shot takers are, Rondon had 14 total shots and 5 of them were on target. Perez had 9 total, with 4 accurate shots. And happiness incarnate, Miguel Almiron rounds out the top 3 shot takers with 7 total and 4 on goal, which I will add: in only 3 games, as he did not play against Tottenham to begin the month. Let that sink in.
Defensively, Newcastle has been solid over the last 28 days, only allowing 2 goals from 12 combined shots on goal from opposing teams. Dubravka, despite making a few questionable save attempts, has been rather solid statistically, boasting a .833 save percentage (Sv%) and a 0.50 Goals Against Average (GAA) in all four games. Also Dubravka can brag about having not one but two shutouts in February.
As we near the end of what has felt like a torturous season, it’s beginning to feel like a “Tale of Two Teams”. With an improved oG% from last month, improved Goals against, and the arrival on the best Paraguayan boy, Miguel Almiron, while it may be too late to do much in this season, this February gives me hope for next year and years to come.