Are Newcastle United missing a Paul Licuria in midfield?
Paul Licuria….Who??? I hear you ask.
Paul Licuria gave his heart and soul in 182 games of Australian Rules Football as a midfielder for the Collingwood Football Club.
One of the main reasons why Paul Licuria was such a favourite of the Magpie army was for the fact that he was the King of the 1%er’s.
In Australian Football a 1%er is usually an act by a player when the opposition have the ball or if the ball is in dispute. This can be chasing an opponent into error, applying supreme pressure on the ball carrier, tackling, winning the ball in a contest, blocking, punching the ball away from opponents.
This is a massive component in Australian Football and usually the team that displays this aspect in abundance win the game.
However, can this statistic somehow be measured at Newcastle United???
Very simply, information has been gathered from this season and assessed into four categories:
- Effective Tackles / 2. Interceptions / 3. Clearances / 4. Blocking an opponent’s pass or shot on goal.
For this article let’s group these four components into the ‘1%er’s’. It’s not an exact science as players are subbed off during matches, or are bench starters, but it does give us a glimpse as to the work ethic, off the ball, that our Newcastle players possess.
Now let’s compare Newcastle’s numbers against a side that were last in the Premier League table not so long ago, Leicester City. We will take eight regular players from each team that play in similar positions and assess the results.
Janmaat 7.92 per game v Simpson 12.42
Coloccini 9.92 v Morgan 9.04
Mbemba 12.91 v Huth 11.84
Dummett 10.06 v Fuchs 13.60
Tiote 5.69 v N’Gola Kante’s 12.62
Colback 6.84 v Drinkwater 8.00
Sissoko 4.28 v Albrighton 6.15
Wijnaldum 2.50 v Mahrez 4.96
The data indicates that this group of Leicester players produce close to 20 more 1%er’s per game than our Newcastle lads.
In Australian Rules Football that’s a smashing and is probably a major reason as to why Leicester are pushing for a Premier League title and we are battling for survival.
For Newcastle, the statistic is most damning through the centre of midfield. The back four, which can be jittery at the best of times, have been heavily exposed for most of the season judging by the above results.
For those of you who are curious, Vurnon Anita averaged 7.89 per game and Henri Saivet is at 7.59 through his time at Newcastle and Bordeaux. Jonjo Shelvey through both Newcastle and Swansea was at 4.43, as was Ayoze Perez.
Perhaps, if Newcastle United can increase their ‘1%er’s’ tally, especially through the midfield, it may coincide with a lift in performance and achieve the favourable results necessary that will see us avoid relegation.
Now, with 12 matches remaining, it is time for a ‘Paul Licuria’ to stand up…
(A Magpie from Oz is one of our ever expanding team of regular/irregular writers, send in your original articles for our website to [email protected])
If you would like to feature on The Mag, submit your article to [email protected]