Ben Arfa and Jonas – The Inside Track
The combination of Jonas’ extraordinary non-stop work and Hatem’s magical left foot mark them apart from the rest.
That isn’t to say they are necessarily the very best pairing, though I think they are up amongst them, but they are, different.
Another thing that marks them out is the fact that for many fans they see them as playing on the ‘wrong’ side, Jonas clearly right-footed but on the left and Hatem Ben Arfa massively favouring his left peg.
Earlier this week we ran the story about the unbelievable length of time since Newcastle last scored a goal from a corner in the Premier League, currently just under 13 months back to the 1st October 2011 when Ba headed home Cabaye’s cross.
Since that epic day, Newcastle have played 39 more Premier League matches and failed to score with 174 corners, not good.
However, on top of the lack of threat from corners there is also another stand out statistic.
The average number of corners per match for a Premiership team is just over 5 and Newcastle have failed to get over 5 corners in 30 of the last 39 league matches.
Have Newcastle in part set up their team to not actually actively look for corners due to the lack of success, or is it just coincidental?
With Gutierrez and Ben Arfa having a natural inclination to come inside in their stronger foot, it means the bog standard corner won by a winger racing to the line and getting it across the box, getting cut out and behind for a corner, is always going to be a rarity.
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Add to that, Simpson’s strength isn’t getting forward and creating, plus Santon is also right footed but on the left….you can’t see the number of corners increasing unless the formation/personnel changes.
What I do think stands out is that we have two tall very decent strikers who are good in the air, if we can get a bit more variation then I think they’ll thrive on that kind of ball.
Just look at Shane Ferguson’s great deliveries against Manchester United (when Cisse scored at Old Trafford) and against Brugge the other night (when Papiss hit the keeper with the goal wide open).
Food for thought, a bit like why we can’t score from a corner…
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