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Tyne Talk

Research Shows Newcastle’s Drop From 5th Top Was Inevitable And Man Utd/Spurs At Risk

8 years ago

I’ve long thought that the big surprise wasn’t that Newcastle fell away last season but that we finished fifth the year before, based on what I saw with me own eyes.

Now there has been some excellent statistical research to back that up.

What I saw during the 2011/12 season was a tight defence helping to scrape narrow wins early on, followed by better football but still rarely Newcastle taking teams apart. What stood out was the number of times games were decided by the odd goal and that odd goal being a wonder strike by the likes of Ba, Ben Arfa, Cabaye and especially Papiss Cisse in the second half of that season, rather than dominant whole match displays as we often saw in Keegan and Sir Bobby’s best seasons.

I thought there was no chance of those circumstances being repeated and that Newcastle had to strengthen the squad to have any chance of getting near that fifth spot again, as we know they didn’t and they…didn’t.

Now the respected Forbes magazine has published research which states that achieving 65 points that season with only a +5 goal difference should have been a massive wake up call to the management at Newcastle.

This is part of what they had to say;

‘Last season Newcastle completed one of the worst season to season points drops in the history of the Premier League. The Toon finished 2011/12 in 5th place with 65 points from a +5 goal difference, which meant that they were going to have to make a number of changes in the close season or face a regression in points total and table position more in line with their goal difference. There was minimal player movement (Anita the only first team squad signing) into the club in the summer 2012 transfer window, the net sum of actions in the January 2013 window doing little to change Newcastle’s fate at the end of the season. They would finish the 2012/13 season with 24 less points, 11 places lower in the table, and a -23 goal difference as they avoided relegation by only five points.

While few would have predicted such a drop from one season to the next, there was little doubt that Newcastle’s points total had greatly outperformed  their actual play on the pitch and the resultant goal difference in 2011/12. Historical data suggest teams that outperform their goal difference as Newcastle did (+10 points) often regress towards the mean next season.’

So basically, the research/data suggests that based on our 2011/12 goal difference that kind of return would normally result in around 10 points less which would have see Newcastle finish a distant 7th rather than a close 5th.

You can read the excellent full article Forbes article here, and it does get a bit technical, but their findings going into this season were that Manchester United and Spurs were the two teams who outperformed against their goal difference. Spur finished 2012/13 only 1 point behind Arsenal but the Gunners had a 15 goal better goal difference (+35 v +20) than Spurs.

The conclusion being that for Man Utd and Tottenham to stand a realistic chance of repeating or bettering their points totals this season, they would almost certainly have to change/improve their squads.

It may be only early days but after six matches Spurs are in third and Man Utd in twelfth. Tottenham of course making big changes this summer and Manchester United taking minimal action.

Interesting to see if the research bears this probability out over the season but to our cost we know only too well what Newcastle’s failure to strengthen meant for us last season. The fans’ own eyes telling them that Newcastle had no chance of repeating 2011/12 without squad improvement and so it sadly proved.

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