With the short month of March out of the way, Newcastle United looks ready to gear up for the last stretch of season. Let’s take a look back at the month that was and see how well Newcastle was able to maintain their monthly stats with one less game than they had in February.
Newcastle finishes March with a 1/1/1 record. In terms of firsts, this is the first month where Newcastle had a perfectly balanced month, with an even number of wins, loses and draws. What is not a first is starting the month with a loss, as Newcastle has not only lost the first game of every month for the last four months, but all four losses have seen Newcastle get shutout completely!
According to whoscored.com, Newcastle scored the same amount of goals as February, five, in one less game, bringing the Goals per Game Average (GPGA) up to 1.66 from the 1.25 GPGA they had back in February. Which is a good sign for the offense, as it shows that they are getting quality shots at the net and burying them.
As for March’s leading goal scorers, Solomon Rondon and Ayoze Perez are tied with two a piece with Matt Ritchie bringing up the rear with only one. As for assists, of which there were three total, three different players were able to earn an apple this month. Those being Rondon, Perez, and DeAndre Yedlin. Which means that Newcastle had 60% of its goals come from smart passing, the exact same percentage as February.
Newcastle was also able to generate a rather strong offense over the three games in March, with 48 total shots taken and 13 of them allowing the opposing goalie to be on TV too. And for those who have a grudge with Mathematics, that’s an On Goal Percentage (oG%) of 27.08%, which is a drop of nearly seven percent from February’s oG% of 33.8983%. And while that sounds bad at first, Newcastle’s total shots only decreased by 11 from February’s 59 total shots and our shots on goal (SoG) only dropped by seven with in a month with only three games. Compare that with West Ham, who played four games this month, had 12 of their 38 shots find their way on goal for an oG% of 31.58%. Despite playing one more game than us, West Ham only had a 4.5% higher oG% than we did.
March saw a slight change in the leading shot takers for Newcastle: Rondon had 10 total shots with 3 SoG. Perez had 8 total and 4 SoG. And technically Isaac Hayden is in third with 7 shots total but with only 1 SoG. But in terms of SoG, Ritchie would come in third with 5 shots and 2 SoG.
In terms of defense, Newcastle took one step forward and two steps back this month, only allowing opposing teams to take 27 total shots, 10 of which were on target. Which is an amazing jump from February’s 58 total shots allowed. However, the trade off was that they allowed 6 goals from those 10 shots of goal. Which is triple that of February. This means, stats wise, Goaltender Martin Dubravka takes quite the beating, posting a save percentage (Sv%) of only .400 and a Goals Against Average (GAA) of 2.0. Compare that to last months stats: .833 Sv%, 0.50 GAA and not only one but two shutouts.
With March being one of the two months this season that Newcastle only played three games, the team seems to have taken the Thanos strategy and went for perfect balance. The offense remained relatively similar to February, but the defense decided to both improve dramatically and fall apart at the same time, decreasing the amount of shots the opponents took but also tripling the goals allowed at the same time. I don’t know if the team watched Infinity War at the end of February or what but they need to stop it. With just over a month left in the season, Newcastle needs to address the defense while keeping the offense in high gear.