If You Want A Clean Sheet Is Williamson Your Man?
Since Mike Williamson signed from Portsmouth on the 27th January 2010, he has gone on to make 87 league appearances for the club. He is set to add to his tally when Newcastle visit Cardiff on Saturday, after giving a hardworking, professional performance in the second half away at Everton.
He has had his ups and downs bringing about a lot of criticism his way, but I am going to try to explore the stats and try to make a fairer judgement on the centre half, as I think a lot of fans see him as an easy target.
Williamson was actually man of the match on his debut at home to Crystal Palace in a 2-0 win; Mike would go on that season to win an impressive twelve out of fifteen league games where he featured, recording five clean sheets.
The next year Williamson finally had his break in the Premier League after being frozen out during his time at Portsmouth and in that season he was involved in eight of the black and whites wins but more interestingly eight out of nine clean sheets which were recorded that season, the defence were much more likely to concede when he was not on the field. For example that crazy final day against West Brom, where Newcastle made Simon Tchoyi look world class, to throw away a top half finish. He was also one of the main men in some memorable results; the 5-1 against Sunderland and the 1-0 win away at Arsenal as examples.
The next year (2011/12) Mike missed the start of the season injured, a year where I believe he does not get enough credit. Lots of fans including myself remember our solid defence at the start of the season, yet without Williamson in the team the Magpies only made six clean sheets with a win percentage of 43%. When Mike played, not only did Newcastle record nine clean sheets but also have a superior win percentage of 55%; not something you would assume unless you sat and studied the facts. These wins included the 2-0 win against Liverpool and the epic 3-0 win against Manchester United in the new year.
Last year, Newcastle struggled with a tough fight against relegation. Although without Mike playing, the win percentage was 31% in comparison to 26% with him in the team, Newcastle only picked up two clean sheets when he was not in the team, compared to four when he was playing. Williamson was also not involved in the two standout horrifying results; the 3-0 loss to Sunderland and the 6-0 thrashing from Liverpool.
Overall, since Newcastle returned to the Premier League in 2010, Williamson has played a key role in Newcastle’s success with a total win percentage of 36%, which may seem poor but when you consider without Mike in the side it is interestingly exactly the same on 36% you have to respect his contribution to the side, as we have been as successful with him in the side as any other centre back pairing. Even better, since Newcastle returned to the Premier League they have picked up 32 clean sheets in total, however only 11 of these came without Mike Williamson in the side!
I’m not trying to argue Williamson is perfect but on the balance of this investigation he’s been there and done as well as anyone since Newcastle returned to the Premier League and deserves a fair crack in the black and white shirt again.
Top Tips – NUFC To Win 21/10 – Cabaye To Score First Goal 16/1 – Remy To Score First 13/2 – NUFC To Keep Clean Sheet 5/2
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