This article is a bi-weekly report on Newcastle United. Comment on this article and we can leave the comments for further discussion
- Injury Crisis - Here are the players who are currently injured: Paul Dummett, Ciaran Clark, Jamaal Lascelles, Matt Ritchie, Allen Saint-Maximin, Ki Sung-Yueng, DeAndre Yedlin, Jetro Willems, Jonjo Shelvey, Fabian Schar, and Javier Manquillo. Were at the point now where NUFC are playing a dangerous game. They really need to rest as many players as they possibly can for their next Premier League match. The reasons for the injuries vary. Yedlin broke his hand, Willems has a groin injury, Schar, Manquillo, Shelvey all have hamstring injuries.
2. Multiple Formations - NUFC have played 8 formations to my account this season. I went ahead and labeled each formation along with their xStats.
It is very obvious that the 5-4-1 formation is clearly are best. we are outperforming our xStats in all categories in that formation. When we use the other formations, we average out as one of the worst teams in the Premier League. However, using the 5-4-1, we perform better than we play. One of the reasons for that is Allan Saint-Maximin. He is a must-have player for us in the formation, and him paired with Almiron made this formation deadly.
Without ASM, NUFC had to deploy multiple formations. All of which, didn't work. What Bruce needs to do is figure out what to do if ASM isn't in the match. Its a big question and too difficult to ask, but I would certainly ask, “What would Rafa do”?
3. Joelinton - The NUFC record signing has been a hotly debated topic over the season. the Brazilian has 1 goal and 2 assists on the season. So far, this has been his worst statistical season in his young career. His xG90 (expected goals per 90 mins) are an abysmal 0.18 and his xA90 (expected assists per 90 mins) is also a really bad 0.16. What’s really alarming is that he is only getting 1-2 shots per 90 minutes. Not many strikers are going to score with those numbers.
If you separate it by position, there seems to be something to build on. It’s small sample size, but Joelinton had 0.58xA in his lone start at ML. His xG, was a measly 0.06, but he was able to get more shots off than he averages as a forward. I’d like to see Big Joe deployed on the wing more to see if it sticks, if not, he needs to have a put up or shut-up conversation about his performances.
- When will ASM be healthy?
Last week, Steve Bruce said that ASM is “a while off” from returning from injury. ASM being injured is probably the most critical injury this team can have. Let’s say he doesn't come back until the January 21st match against Everton. ASM would miss our FA Cup match against Rochdale, away to Wolves in the League, and home to Chelsea. There is a possibility that he also misses the Everton match as well. If he does, his return date would be scheduled for Norwich City at home on February 1st. NUFC could be in bad shape by that point.
2. Where should NUFC focus in January?
This question is assuming we will actually spend money in this transfer window which I know isn't necessarily a guarantee. For me, the answer is Stiker at number 1. Now this would depend on Joelinton moving to wing and it being a success. If that happens, bringing in a proven PL striker or a striker that has experience scoring as a lone striker would be my definite number 1 priority. We need a Papisse Cisse level signing to keep up the momentum we built in the beginning of December. We are losing the momentum, but a top class striker could make all the difference,
- NUFC will struggle into February.
The book is out on Newcastle United. They are injured, undisciplined, poorly prepared, and a completely out of confidence football club. That will only continue as teams relentlessly attack them as Bruce and the coaching staff toy with what new formation they want to try out. Until ASM comes back and we can move to the 5-4-1, I don't see a win between now and February outside of the FA Cup. I doubt NUFC sign a player early, but they need too, or it will be a long start to 2020.