Newcastle’s 6 signings scored as many goals in last 11 months as Gayle did in 2019/20 final month
Newcastle United scored only 38 Premier League goals in 2019/20.
You have to go back to 1997/98 for when NUFC scored less than that.
No prizes for guessing then where Newcastle United needed most help in this summer transfer window.
Especially when you consider how much luck Steve Bruce carried last season in so many matches, plus Newcastle stayed up despite having the third worst form in the division from Christmas 2019 onwards, including only four wins in the final 20 matches and two of them against 10 men.
So many of the goals coming from corners and free-kicks, a third of the goals scored by defenders and Jonjo Shelvey (two goals in two and a half PL seasons for NUFC previously) having a one-off purple match from nowhere of six goals, including four in a month in November to December.
The forwards in particular made dismal reading, between the four of them, Carroll, Joelinton, Gayle and Muto only managed six PL goals between them all last season.
Little wonder then that Newcastle United finally set to bring in seemingly credible signings, has been met with various levels of hope and / or excitement.
Is it justified?
The big question is, will the new Newcastle United signings add goals to a team that is so lacking in them?
Well having a look at the stats, you would have to say it won’t just happen automatically.
Newcastle United will need these new signings to arrive and hit the ground running, with the right tactics in place, to give them and the existing players the best chance of improving the goals tally and NUFC their best chance of staying away from the relegation zone.
A couple of things to note with Dwight Gayle.
Whilst he only scored four Premier League goals last season, Steve Bruce gave him very few chances. Only 10 starts in total and only four of those of them were before the PL restart and final nine games.
Plus, his four goals came in the final month of the season, scored between 24 June and 26 July 2020.
How does that compare to the goal exploits of our new / imminent signings?
Well in the last 11 months, the six new / imminent signings only scored four goals between them.
A bit of a wake up call to those who blindly assume that just because Mike Ashley is finally allowing some credible looking signings to be made, that they are going to magically transform our fortunes.
Mark Gillespie can be excused not scoring many last season as he is a goalkeeper, however, Jeff Hendrick didn’t score a single goal in these past 11 months. The midfielder scoring just the two early on in the 2019/20 season.
Jamal Lewis scored on 28 February 2020 and that is actually the only league goal the left-back has ever scored, whether in the Championship or Premier League.
Rob Holding is reportedly set to come in on loan from Arsenal this week but as for goals, it is unlikely he will help out in that department. Despite turning 25 this month, he is still awaiting his first ever Premier League goal.
Ryan Fraser had a stand out 2018/19 season with 14 PL assists and seven goals but you can hardly say he is arriving at Newcastle in form. He hasn’t scored a single PL goal in the past 11 months and indeed only scored one in total in the league in 2019/20.
I like Callum Wilson and think he is probably about the best striker we could have attracted in this ambition free Mike Ashley circus. However, we might have to be patient.
The striker only scored three goals these past 11 months, in 28 PL appearances since 28 September 2019 those three goals came with a single one in each of January, February and March 2020. Wilson scoring eight in total as he started last season in great form with five early goals but never recaptured that form in front of goal as the season progressed.
There are mitigating reasons but those are the facts, the new signings can’t be expected to come in and turn it around without help.
Yes they might have been generally playing last season for struggling teams that don’t create a lot of chances but that description perfectly fits Newcastle under Steve Bruce last season.
No doubt pretty much all NUFC fans will see Callum Wilson as an upgrade on Dwight Gayle but how much that proves to be the case will largely depend on the tactics and the service he receives. Leave him totally isolated as Bruce did with Joelinton (and Carroll and Gayle when given a chance) and we won’t be able to expect much improvement.
There has to be a plan on how to score goals this season, which clearly there wasn’t last season. Unless you count get close enough occasionally to the opposition box to be able to out in corners and free-kicks, then hope somebody (usuakky a defender) gets on the end of it.
When Ryan Fraser and Callum Wilson had their stand out season of 2018/19, they were playing in a very attacking team. Wilson got 14 PL goals, Fraser 14 assists and 7 goals, they came though from a total of 56 goals which only the top six could beat. That attacking style also came with 70 goals conceded, Bournemouth only finishing in 14th as only the bottom two clubs conceded more goals.
To put Bournemouth’s attacking style and 56 goals in context, in the entire tragic Mike Ashley era, Newcastle have never scored more than that total in a Premier League season.
Even when finishing fifth in 2011/12 they only matched that 56 goals total, pointing to the fact that the fifth place finish relied on a lot of luck as well as the likes of Ba, Cabaye, Cisse and Ben Arfa scoring so many quality goals, often out of nothing.
Don’t forget as well, with Mike Ashley not allowing money to be spent until so late in the window, overall the new Newcastle United signings will have almost no pre-season with their new teammates and for the five outfield players outlined above, only 60 minutes (Jeff Hendrick) in the friendlies between them. The new look team will need to mould very quickly and of course you have the backdrop of long-term injuries to Dubravka and Gayle, whilst a host of other players were also unavailable for that final friendly on Saturday against Stoke.
Teams that struggle to score goals will almost always struggle to stay up.
Here’s hoping the new Newcastle United signings will ensure that isn’t the case.
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