The first month of the 2022/23 season is gone, but with that came the first award. Congratulations to Nick Pope, Newcastle United’s first player of the month! Pope is, for obvious reasons, getting the Magpie silverware for the first time after signing with the Tyneside organization just a few months ago by Eddie Howe’s own demand.
Your FUN88 Player of the Month for August is...— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) September 3, 2022
Congratulations, @Popey1992! pic.twitter.com/Hx3BL5xttm
It’s been a wonderful start for the freshest Geordie under the Magpie goalposts. With five games played, all of them starting over former no. 1 goalie—and now Manchester United reserve keeper—Martin Dubravka, Pope did enough to finish his debut with a clean sheet against Forest. He doubled down on that with another zero against Brighton, only to concede six in the next three games—against top-tier opponents, though, including Manchester City and Liverpool to close the month.
Pope has posted save percentages above 66.6% in all four games in which he received a shot in August (Nott. Forest didn’t attempt any), saving 19 of the 26 shots fired on goal by the opposition in his 450 minutes of playing time.
Advanced metrics such as Post-Shot Expected Goals paint an even brighter picture of Pope: history says Pope should have conceded 1.9, 3.1, 0.9, and 2.0 goals in the past four games for a total of 7.8, but he beat that mark by getting only six goals against in that time—that is, he saved 1.8 goals more than history would suggest considering similar shots taken in past seasons as StatsBomb model sees them.
Here are Pope’s performances through the end of August, including his basic and advanced statistics courtesy of FBref:
Here are Pope’s shots faced during the past month including all four (of five played) in which he had to save at least one shot on goal.
Beautiful work. Gotta love this Pope. He wants all that white smoke.