In Newcastle the state of euphoria has been officially declared. the blunt victory over Leicester (0-3)on boxing day allowed the ‘magpies’ to overtake Manchester City and go to bed second, seven points behind Arsenal, although with one more game.
“We are going to win the League”, sang with a certain grace the fans ‘magpies’ displaced to the King Power Stadium. It is not for less. Exactly 365 days ago, Newcastle was penultimate with 10 points in 19 days. Now he has 33 in 16 games, his highest record in Premier since the 39 he added with Kevin Keegan at the start of 1995-96.
Six consecutive victories -his best streak in the elite since March-April 2012- They have catapulted Newcastle into the ‘top 2’, a position they have not held since January 2003. The ‘magpies’ took flight coinciding with the purchase of the club, just over a year ago, by the sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia. The signings of Bruno Guimaraes, Chris Wood, Dan Burn, Kieran Trippier and Matt Targett in the winter transfer window revitalized the team.
Eddie Howe’s arrival on the bench did the rest. The ex from Bournemouth has established himself, according to ‘Opta’, the third English coach to win more than 20 Premier League games in a calendar year.Add 21. Previously it was achieved by Kevin Keegan (Newcastle, 1994 and 1995) and Roy Evans (1996).
“I have no problem with fans dreaming, talking and speculating about what we can achieve… but we must focus on what we can control.” and don’t look too far or listen to what the media say. This is the toughest League in the world for a reason,” stressed Eddie Howe in reference to the chants of ‘We’re gonna to win the League’.
I have no problem with fans dreaming, talking and speculating about what we can achieve… but we need to focus on what we can control.
Newcastle’s success, on the game rectangle, has several ‘fathers’. The most obvious is that of Miguel Almirn. The Paraguayan midfielder does not seem to have noticed the break due to the World Cup. Add, with his goal against Leicester, eight goals in the last nine Premier games.
His ‘metamorphosis’ has been brutal. There is a key fact. Add the same goals in this League (9) as in the 110 games that he had played in the Premier in the four previous seasons.
Trippier, a dagger in attack and safe in defense
Special mention also deserves Kieran Trippierwhich gave Joelinton the final 0-3 against Leicester from the corner. The ex of Atltico adds a goal and four assists in the Premier. Only Andrew Robertson (5) surpasses him among the defenders who have distributed the most goal passes this season in the English League. Trippier’s influence on Howe’s scheme is understood by the great display he makes match after match.
With great presence in attack, but without neglecting his back. Which allows him to become the sixth footballer in the entire Premier who makes the most recoveries (69) in a rival field. In addition to being the second man with the most complete depth passes (19) and the third with the most shot assists (33) of the entire English League, being… defender!
Newcastle’s success lies in Howe’s scheme
Apart from Trippier and Almirn, Eddie Howe’s system will not be understood without footballers like Botman, Schar, Guimaraes and a Joelinton that looks like another. The Brazilian has adapted wonderfully to his conversion. Delaying his position, the ‘9’ refers to that of a more fallen player on the wing and involved in the recovery of possession. He is able to play on the left flank in both forward and midfield positions making most of his passes forward.
Without losing the arrival to the opposite area. Yesterday against Leicester the fact of joining the attack earned him a goal. His compatriot, Bruno Guimaraes, with the 39 on his back is the Newcastle beacon. In the graph below it can be seen how he is the link between the defense and the forward, he is in charge of setting the pace at which the ‘magpies’ play. All the circulation of the ball of Howe’s men goes through the boots of the Brazilian who is also capable of giving the last pass that was so lacking in St James Park.
Together and compact lines
The graph of average positions also allows us to observe how the central defenders and, even more, the wingers, adopt quite advanced positions. What makes Newcastle the Premier League team that most times (33) makes rival forwards incur offside. Without forgetting defensive tasks, Howe’s men are the team with the fewest goals scored in the championship with 11 goals against and the one that has left their goal unbeaten on the most occasions (8).
The fact of playing with the lines so close together has allowed Newcastle to be the second English club with the most recoveries (1402) has done so far as Premier. To this is added that a third of them (492) are in a rival field, being surpassed in this facet only by Liverpool. Intensity is also not negotiated in the Howe system.
The usual 4-3-3 of the English coach is not exempt from delivery in each play. The good positioning of the Newcastle players on the field of play is combined with the energy with which they come to each dispute for the ball. Combination that situates the ‘magpies’ as the team that more divided balls (282) wins of the entire Premier. In Newcastle they are already excited about this group that for the moment will go back to sleep in second position.
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The state of euphoria is declared in Newcastle: “We are going to win the League”