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The Steve Bruce playing ‘style’ exposed at Newcastle United by these two sets of players stats

10 months ago

How would you describe the ‘style’ of football Steve Bruce has brought to Newcastle United?

It is clearly very negative, with so many statistics backing that up, as well as what our own eyes tell us.

The fact that only 20 goals have been scored in 21 Premier League games is bad enough but to have scored even that many has depended on some outrageous luck.

Newcastle United at the bottom of pretty much every table when it comes to creating chances, touches in the opposition box, time spent in the attacking third, possession, number of shots, expected goals, number of corners and so on.

The club / Steve Bruce would describe the style as counter-attacking.

The claim being that Newcastle turnover possession and have a plan to race up the other end and try to score…but is this actually true?

How many goals actually fit that description, one or two at most? I can’t even recall that many shots when Newcastle have won the ball back and ran with the ball at the opposition.

Instead, I think the Steve Bruce playing ‘style’ has tended to be something very different in terms of getting up the pitch.

Here are two sets of stats published by ‘The Other 14’ (who specialise on stats/tables etc on the 14 clubs who aren’t the ‘Big Six’) which shows the most successful Premier League players in the air and then stats on how goalkeepers have distributed the ball this season and how successful they have been at it…

Then here are the goalkeeper stats:

As you can see, the heading duel stats show Andy Carroll right at the top, winning an average of almost 14 for every 90 minutes he is on the pitch.

Then you have Joelinton in ninth with just over six headed duels on average won every 90 minutes.

However, just look at the sheer number of headed duels the Brazilian has won, only West Ham striker Haller and Burnley defender Tarkowski winning more in this list.

Now we add in these goalkeeping statistics, not so much the percentage success Martin Dubravka has had with short and/or long balls/passes, instead the volume.

The Newcastle keeper playing only 99 short passes but a massive 433 long balls.

The ‘style’ under Steve Bruce is basically the big boot from the goalkeeper up to the likes of Joelinton and Carroll, rather than attempting to play the ball up the pitch through midfield.

Yet Newcastle then don’t get the numbers of players forward that are needed to support the main striker, as Steve Bruce orders them to not go forward. No wonder it has been such a thankless task for Joelinton, obviously he could and should have done better BUT the hideous tactics from Bruce have seen him so isolated in most games.


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