Football is the most popular sport in the world because it is so simple.
It can be played on pretty much on any surface, with anything from 1 to 100 or more playing, with the only essential being a ball…or at least something that resembles one.
It is the greatest because of its simplicity but with so many people now trying to make so much money out of the game, they feel it is essential to dress it up in all kinds of terminology and over-complicated theories/explanations.
Put simply, if you have more shots on target than the opposition then in most case you win the game.
Of course one of the other great things about football, as well as the simplicity, is that overwhelming pressure and chances doesn’t always equal a win as it does in most other sports.
The exceptions do though still prove the rule, the better team creates most chances and with those shots on target they win the vast proportion of matches.
Which brings me to Newcastle United.
Steve McClaren and others at the football club, want us to believe that recently the team has played really well and only bad luck, dodgy referees and pacts with the devil have prevented us climbing into the heady heights of sixth or seventh bottom.
Now to the untrained eye, it may have looked as though Newcastle have just approached every single game with the intention of getting everybody behind the ball and defend for their lives, then after being battered for most of each match, to suddenly sprint forward in the latter stages and do a smash and grab….
If you are somebody who agrees with the untrained eye opinion then that is probably because it is…correct.
The last two months when Steve McClaren reckons his team have played so much better and deserved so much more from the games, which they would have supposedly had without the devil, referees and bad luck interfering – just have a look at these stats sourced from BBC Sport).
Eight games have been played in November – these are the scores and in brackets how many shots on target for the teams.
Bournemouth 0 (5) Newcastle 1 (1)
Newcastle 0 (1) Leicester 3 (7)
Crystal Palace 5 (8) Newcastle 1 (2)
Newcastle 2 (1) Liverpool 0 (1)
Tottenham 1 (8) Newcastle 2 (4)
Newcastle 1 (4) Aston Villa 1 (7)
Newcastle 0 (1) Everton 1 (7)
West Brom 1 (5) Newcastle 0 (2)
In total, Newcastle have had only 16 attempts on target in those eight matches, compared to 48 for the opposition, meaning on average in each game the opposition had three times as many (six) shots on target to Newcastle’s two.
In fact if you take out the Spurs and Villa games where Newcastle had four shots on target in each, United had only eight attempts on target in the other six matches – unbelievable.
Whilst McClaren and others would have you believe that the team have deserved MORE points than the 10 they have picked up out of 24 in these eight matches, surely the exact opposite is shown here.
At Bournemouth a win was picked up with the only shot on target.
Against Liverpool we won by a two goal margin despite having only one effort on target.
Tottenham had twice (8 v 4) as many shots on target and yet Newcastle smashed and grabbed the three points.
Whilst even Aston Villa forced seven saves to Newcastle’s four, yet both teams picked up a point.
Steve McClaren claimed Newcastle were somehow robbed against Everton and yet had only the Wijnaldum header on target compared to the seven the scousers managed.
Similar story at West Brom, in the whole match Newcastle only managed two efforts that needed dealing with, while the home side had five. Not to mention a massive 18 corners that head to be defended by the visitors.
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