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Fortress St.James? Have A Look At Newcastle United Home Stats In Alan Pardew 3 Seasons

8 years ago
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St. James’ Park. Long considered one of the toughest Premier League grounds for any side to get a result, no matter how big or bold they were. Under Alan Pardew, it has become a ground where every side now fancy their chances.

In Pardew’s three full seasons in charge, there has been a steady decline in percentage of games won, from 58% in 2011/12 to 47% during last season’s relegation battle, only to fall further this season, with a win percentage of 42%.

The loss record however, is much more concerning. In 2012/13 we lost 47% of home games, the worst ever in our Premier League history. Although we’ve improved this season, losing 42%, it’s still the 2nd worst in our Premier League era.

Pardew loses as much as he wins at home. With home form being the foundation of any strong season, his record over the past two seasons is not a good sign. 27 points from 19 games at home this season. Again, the 2nd worst in twenty years.

For a team who built a reputation on putting, especially weaker, sides to the sword in St. James’ Park, scoring a lot of goals, winning well, with entertaining football to boot, that too has disappeared into the box marked ‘remember when?’ under Pardew.

When compared to other Premier League sides, we have the 14th most potent attack at home, scoring 1.21 goals per game, which shows we rarely if ever beat sides well at home and is compounded by the fact it’s an even worse return than last season.

In fact, this is another area where there has been a steady decline under the management  of Pardew. In 2010/11 we scored 2.16 goals per game at home. In 2011/12, it fell to 1.53. Last season, 1.26 goals per game and as I mentioned, this time around, 1.21.

Once more, this is the 2nd worst return in twenty years. What makes it even worse is that we’ve failed to score in 37% of home games this season too, which is the worst in Pardew’s tenure and also the joint worst in twenty years. Seems to be a trend forming here.

Credit where due though, in terms of goals conceded at home, his return is slightly higher. We conceded 1.47 goals per game this season, only the 3rd worst in Premier League history, behind the relegation season, conceding 1.53, and last season, worst ever at 1.63.

For a conservative approach based on defensive solidity first, attack second, it’s not really delivering is it? We have the 17th best defence at home in the Premier League this season. That’s scary and shows how little teams fear playing away to us now.

Now to the hidings we take. When really struggling last season, we lost by three or more goals at home in three games, 0 – 3 to Man Utd, 0 – 3 to Sunderland, and 0 – 6 to Liverpool. That in itself should have been a warning of what was to come.

This season, compared to that mess in 2012/13, is actually worse in this aspect too, losing by three or more in four games, Everton, Spurs, Man Utd, and again, the derby to Sunderland. Consecutive home derby hidings alone is unheard of in our history.

Top sides with unlimited cash can have a bench of international talent and use that squad strength to keep consistent form home and away, but for sides outside of those few, what good seasons are nearly always built on is being formidable at home.

We are now far from formidable. Quite often, actually most of the time, we play the same way we would away, conservatively sitting back, try keep it tight and nick a goal, if we can. This is no way to play at home and contributes massively to the abysmal record.

Newcastle have actually done okay away this season. The system suits it, but teams had us figured out by the return game against most. Decent away form is no guarantee. Most clubs’ away form fluctuates season to season. Home form has to be good to compete.

Even putting appalling stats aside, that brand of football at home, for any team, is far too negative. Far be it from opposition fearing St. James’, they now come with confidence, growing as the game goes on, knowing they won’t be pinned to their own box.

What was once a fortress has now become one of the easier grounds in the Premier League to come to. The large stadium full to the brim wasn’t ever what put that fear into teams. It was what that support got behind. Visible intent to put teams to the sword.

Outside the top six in the league, where you have to be a bit more conservative, everyone else that visits should be expecting an onslaught, a team that is going to attack and pin them back from the word go. That’s where the 52,000 kicks in.

Pardew can keep complimenting fans and asking them to get behind the team, but he has to give them something to get behind. This is a fan base that accepts we’re not up there with the top clubs, but is built on entertaining attacking football, and demands it at St. James’.

His home record this season is not only poor, it’s as bad as the brand of football he serves up, and even worse in a lot of aspects, than a season in which we barely escaped the drop under him. It’s no wonder the atmosphere has been poor.

The discontent is not due to short-term failings. The fans have been given nothing for two years to justify why they should be excited. The atmosphere reflects the football and always will. It has spoken volumes over the past few years.

You can follow Keith on Twitter @nufckeithr

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