Here we are, at the end of another month, staring down the final game of the season and Newcastle safe from relegation. Let’s take a look back at the last five games and see how well Newcastle has improved in the month of April.
Newcastle leaves April with a 2/1/2 record, losing the first two games of the month, winning the next two and drawing the final. But April is unfortunately the fifth month in a row that Newcastle has started a month with a shutout loss. A trend started back in December with a 0-3 loss to West Ham.
This also makes the second month in a row that Newcastle have ended a month with a draw, 1-1 to Brighton this month and a 2-2 draw to Bournemouth in March. But not everything in April was a continuing trend, as we saw Ayoze Perez score Newcastle’s first Premier League hat trick in four years. The last hat trick was scored in October of 2015 by Georgino Wijnaldum, who had four goals in the 6-2 win over Norwich City.
According to whoscored.com, Newcastle United, for the third month in a row, scored 5 goals over the course of the month for a goals per game average (GPGA) of only one, which is a dramatic drop for March’s GPGA of 1.66. It probably doesn’t help that Newcastle got shutout for the first two games this month.
April only had one man scoring all the goals this month, Ayoze Perez. Adding to his three goal outing against Southampton, he also scored once in both the Leicester and Brighton match. In terms of assists, Matt Ritchie and Salomon Rondon both have two. With means 80% of Ayoze’s goals came at the end of smart passing.
Newcastle generated a similar amount offensively this month as they did back in February, with 56 total shots, 18 of those were almost in the net if not for the opposing keeper. For those who refuse to do math for reasons that are your own, that is an on goal percentage (oG%) of 32.143%, which is similar to the oG% they posted at the end of February of a 33.898%. Compare that to West Ham, who are tied with Newcastle in terms of goal differential, who had 54 total shots and 16 shots on goal (SoG) for an oG% of 29.63% in their last four games. Offensively speaking, April was a solid, but not outstanding, month for Newcastle.
And for those that want to know who contributed the most in April in terms of shots and not just goals, 15 different players had at least one shot taken and of those 15, eight had at least one SoG. April’s shot leaders were Rondon with 13 shots taken and three SoG, Perez comes in second with nine total shots and six SoG, with Miguel Almiron taking eight shots with three SoG. This is impressive considering Almiron was injured and didn’t play the last game in the month of April or else his shot totals could have been higher. Even more impressive, this is the second month since the closing of the transfer window that Almiron has been in the top three in shots taken without having played the full month.
Defensively, Newcastle continues to struggle to find a balance of shots and SoG allowed and Goals allowed, as April’s opposing shots totaled 46 with 15 SoG but only allowing 5 goals in five games. Which means that Martin Dubravka had his work cut out for him this month, leaving April with a .667 save percentage (Sv%) and a goals against average (GAA) of only 1.0 and one shutout. Which is a nice increase from March’s .400 Sv% and 2.0 GAA but still not close to his performance in February with a .833 Sv% and 0.50 GAA with not one but two clean sheets.
Overall, Newcastle remains consistent on offense yet inconsistent on defense, failing to keep shots against low while simultaneously keeping goals against down. With the team safe from relegation danger and with only one game left in the season, Newcastle will more than likely look to maintain this form until the end of the season as they look to the offseason and the many unknowns they’ll have to face.