The Newcastle United party line led by Steve McClaren and his senior players, is that if only the players had turned chances into goals then NUFC would be doing very nicely in the Premier League.
Well every manager of every club could point to one or two instances, including failing to put away chances, in any match and claim that was why the result turned out the way it did.
“Those small things are the difference between winning and losing….we’ve got to start taking our chances.”
“The only thing missing was sticking the ball in the back of the net…the last three games I have stood behind the camera and said exactly the same thing.”
Yes there have been a few chances you’d hope the likes of Wijnaldum, Mitrovic and de Jong would have put away, but this is clouding the real problem at the club.
If you look at the table below, you will see that in actual fact Newcastle are pretty decent when it comes to finishing chances this season, of all the chances created they have put away 10.22% of them, placing them 10th in the Premier League when it comes to the percentage of shots that end up going in the back of the net.
However, when it comes to the number of shots on target, Newcastle United are actually rock bottom, averaging only 9.3 shots each match.
Obviously having learnt from the master himself (Alex Ferguson) at distracting the media/fans away from the real problem, Steve McClaren’s biggest issue isn’t his players being bad finishers, it is that his negative tactics and players that he picks in his teams, have meant United are the very worst in creating chances in the division.
Worse than ultra negative Tony Pulis at West Brom, worse than rock bottom Villa and worse than the other 17 teams in the Premier League.
Thanks to @MikeAshleyLies for the table below detailing how many shots each Premier League team averages per match, the goals per game, then the percentage of the shots that end up as goals (the table is based on stats from whoscored).
Against Arsenal, it was more encouraging with Newcastle registering 15 shots in total, which coincidentally DID create a creditable number of good chances.
However, the last time United did record double figures in a match, in terms of shots per game, it was way back in October against Stoke, when despite failing to score in a goalless draw they did have a good number of chances but ran into an inspired keeper in Jack Butland.
In the eight matches between those two games, Newcastle failed to get to double figures in terms of shots, in any match. In fact against Bournemouth, despite winning, United had two shots and only one of those was on target – if Steve McClaren wants to talk about luck then that is the kind of game he should be talking about.
The table above shows clearly that the teams that create most chances tend to score the most goals.
We do not have a team capable of defending and keeping clean sheets as a means of building a foundation to stay up.
So Steve McClaren’s central (only?) aim has to be that between now and the end of the season, he sends out a team that is the most capable of creating chances, anything else will just about ensure certain failure and relegation.