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Opinion

I hold my hands up after looking at these Karl Darlow stats as he replaces Martin Dubravka

1 month ago
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When Newcastle United kick off their Premier League campaign in two weeks time, it will be Karl Darlow in goal.

Martin Dubravka seeing an excellent run of 88 consecutive Premier League starts finally coming to an end.

The Slovakian national coach revealing that the Newcastle keeper has picked up a heel injury, saying it could keep Dubravka out for up to eight weeks. The club later confirmed that the 2019/20 player of the year is indeed injured and missing the start of the season.

When Karlow Darlow plays against West Ham, it will be his first Premier League start in over 31 months.

Darlow playing on 4 February 2018 as Newcastle got a 1-1 draw at Crystal Palace, the keeper only beaten by a Palace penalty (pictured above) after Mo Diame had given United the lead.

Nevertheless, Martin Dubravka who had just arrived on loan, immediately replaced Karl Darlow and started against Man Utd the following week.

The rest is history as they say, a clean sheet and man of the match for Dubravka as United (Newcastle!) won 1-0, the first of the Slovakian’s 88 PL matches in a row.

Dubravka went on to only concede 11 goals in 12 Premier League matches in 2017/18, only two clubs outside the top four conceded less than Newcastle that season.

Seamlessly moving into 2018/19, Martin Dubravka conceding only 48 goals in 38 games despite it being yet another relegation fight. Once again only two clubs outside the top four conceded less goals than Newcastle.

Fast forward to last season and in 2019/20 goals have been conceded at a faster rate by Martin Dubravka, with 58 in 38 PL games, as Steve Bruce’s clueless and overly negative tactics invited opposition teams to dominate and create far more chances.

The fact that Dubravka was NUFC player of the season AND made more saves than any other Premier League keeper, tells you that it was anybody but the Slovakian’s fault for the increased number of goals conceded.

Martin Dubravka Premier League record:

His average goals per game conceded for Newcastle being:

2017/18: 0.91 goals per game (11 in 12)

2018/19: 1.26 goals per game (48 in 38)

2019/20: 1.53 goals per game (58 in 38)

An overall NUFC record of 117 conceded in 88 PL matches, an average of 1.33 goals per game.

What about Karl Darlow though?

I must admit that I had the idea for this article to write about how much better Martin Dubravka is and these are the stats to prove it…

Karl Darlow Premier League record:

2015/16: 1.22 goals per game (11 in 9)

2017/18: 1.50 goals per game (15 in 10)

An overall NUFC Premier League record of 26 conceded in 19 PL matches, an average of 1.37 goals per game.

Karl Darlow has played another 34 games for Newcastle but in the Championship.

2016/17: 0.94 goals per game (32 in 34)

If you did include those second tier matches, Karl Darlow has conceded 58 goals in 53 matches, an average of only 1.09 goals per game.

So, I hold my hands up.

After looking at these Karl Darlow stats, as he replaces Martin Dubravka, they don’t really in any way back up it being a cause for concern. The Premier League stats are only 19 matches but with Darlow, that is all you have to go on, unless you then start looking at second tier matches and / or cup games, neither of which are relevant I think, as different levels and for NUFC, weakened teams in the cups.

Of course, the best guide / proof for anything, is what you see with your own eyes. That tells us Martin Dubravka is a class act and will be a massive loss.

However, the stats do strongly suggest that on the other hand, whilst Dubravka will be missed, Karl Darlow shouldn’t be a serious weakness in this Newcastle team.

With only 58 goals conceded in 53 games (PL and Championship), Darlow has done a very good job in his time at St James Park.

I just hope this daunting new NUFC season isn’t going to see the former Forest keeper’s stats smashed to pieces before Martin Dubravka returns.

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