A newly published table of Premier League stats sums up Newcastle’s defence this season.

Organised by Rafa Benitez and marshalled by captain Jamaal Lascelles, the back four has been the rock that Newcastle’s current seventh place has been built on.

With only eight goals conceded in nine matches, it is only the top trio of Spurs and the two Manchester clubs that have leaked fewer goals.

So how has this been achieved?

Whilst obviously number of goals conceded is the stand out guide, maybe you need to go beyond that to find out why some clubs are doing better than others.

The table below shows how many clearances have been made by each Premier League team so far.

Five of the top six when it comes to making the most clearances, are also five of the clubs to have conceded 10 or less goals.

The exception that maybe proves the rule is Everton, they are third top when it comes to making clearances but are also third bottom, having conceded the third highest number of goals (18). With their chaotic/clueless start, they have been left far too open at the back, so simply maybe a case of their defence seeing far too much of the ball.

Under Sean Dyche’s leadership, Burnley are top for clearances with 318, then Newcastle in second with 281.

Fair to say that leaving Everton aside, the five of the top six for clearances, are clubs that at least this season, are having to make it their business to have a solid defence to give them a chance of achieving better than expected, the three promoted clubs and relative minnows, West Brom and Burnley who have found relative success in recent seasons due mainly to a well drilled defence.

The totals for clearances suggest to me to a large degree of players having the desire and heart to get there first and clear the danger, plus having the discipline to go with it.

The presence of Man Utd and Man City in the bottom three of this table can be easily explained by the fact they have usually got the ball up the other end of the pitch. However, Liverpool have the second lowest total of clearances and one of the highest totals of goals conceded (16). Along with Palace (19 goals conceded) and West Ham (17 conceded) who make up the bottom five for clearances made.

Looking back, in Newcastle’s last two Premier League seasons, they ended up only 14th highest for clearances in the (2015/16) relegation season, and 16th the season before. Still relying on central defenders who were still hanging around from the Championship days of 2009/10 proving a disaster.

Premier League clubs total number of clearances this season:

premier league

Interesting to see if Rafa Benitez can inspire his players to keep up this level of consistency, desire, and discipline, throughout the season.



  • Simon Ritter

    One big factor seems to be missing in this analysis: the high total of clearances confirms our tactic of inviting pressure at home and away. Three cheers for the defensive work by all players (from Joselu back to Elliot) but there is an obvious risk in sitting deep. I’m more than happy with the season so far, while wondering how many fans would prefer to see a bit more attacking intent.

    • Mark Spark

      Fair point,but speaking personally,after years of “attacking football” ive realised it also means losing football.Watching mcclarens team killed it off for me,ridiculously gung ho.
      I enjoy watching Rafas team now because I can see the hard work the whole team puts into it.I must be weird because I enjoy watching the opposition play the ball along there back four deep in there own half desperately looking for a foward pass to make,be unable to see one then just hoof aimlessly foward for us to win.

      • Mark Spark

        Plus to play attacking winning football is very difficult and expensive.Who does it?Barca,Man City,Maybe Bayern,plus maybe a few others.we are light years behind those teams and im not even sure we can ever be like them

  • TwinFire

    Palace can’t/can’t be bothered to clear the ball then. Sorry Palace fans, i just love it when we beat you.

  • Paul Patterson

    The clearance stats are all well and good but we need someone to put the ball in the net to make the clearance stats worthwhile . .

    • Mark Spark

      true.hopefully one of our strikers can find there shooting boots,We cant get anybody else in till Jan,and even then,what chances of any really top class fowards being available.Best to support the ones weve got and hope they can turn it round

      • Paul Patterson

        I feel that when we play Perez and Joselu we are down to at least ten men, as for long periods, they BOTH offer nothing.

        • Mark Spark

          ok.I agree they offer little going foward,but I do think our defensive strength starts with those front 2,I can only imagine that Rafa would like to carry more threat going foward but he just doesnt think we have the players to be better attacking without losing defensively.

  • Mark Spark

    wow.3 long posts on one thread and not a single ,”awaiting moderation”

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    Rafa has always been a master at organising a defense which is just as well considering the krap we have as a strike force

  • Peaky Magpie

    If we had even just one of Liverpool’s forwards we would be flying now.

  • Alreet

    The defence is looking the healthiest in years. Not since the fake top 5 finish wen colo was primed and made taylor look like mathias sammer have we been this organised.

    Its taking a fair old ball or 2 to get in over the top. I think weve only conceded one header all season. The rest have been very scrappy 6 yarders. Or coutinho 20 yards screamers.

    If we can get shooting boots for the wingers and strikers we wont be doing too bad.

    Keep it up rafa. The bad man upstairs will be gone soon.

    HTL