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‘It’s an unsustainable model’ at Newcastle United – Sky Sports expert

3 weeks ago
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An interesting new Sky Sports column with some analysis and comments on what is happening at Newcastle United.

The column is looking at Premier League matches overall and predicting what will happen.

However, unlike the usual ex-pro predictions, that are usually simply based on how ‘big’ a club is and whether or not they won the previous game, this one has proper analysis, you know, based on relevant stats.

The Sky Sports ‘Jones Knows’ column looks at the matches from a betting perspective and highly praises the job Ralph Hasenhuttl is doing.

He took over at Southampton from Mark Hughes on 5 December 2018, the Saints seemingly heading for certain relegation after only one win in the opening 14 PL games.

Ralph Hasenhuttl got them up to 39 points and comfortable safety in 16th by the end of that 2018/19 season.

Then last campaign it was 52 points and 11th place, only seven points off the top six.

This time, Southampton will go top of the table after eight games if they beat Newcastle tonight.

Since Christmas 2019, Hasenhuttl’s team have picked up more points than all but three other PL clubs.

To put that 52 Southampton points total into context last season, we are now in the 14th season of Mike Ashley at Newcastle United and only once have NUFC got 50 or more points in a Premier League season under him. In the 14 PL seasons before Ashley bought the club, Newcastle finished with 50 or more points on 10 occasions.

The Sky Sports expert declares about Ralph Hasenhuttl: ‘I’m fully invested in his managerial ability.’

In contrast, the Sky Sports columnist says you don’t have to scratch far below the surface at St James Park to see that: ‘It’s an unsustainable model’ under Steve Bruce.

Last season, Newcastle fans watched on in disbelief at the luck Steve Bruce carried in so many games, on many occasions NUFC picking up points that they didn’t deserve based on all underlying stats. Even with all that luck and fortunate points, Newcastle still only finished on 44 points, less than the season before despite Steve Bruce having a £65m net spend on players, which has now become a £100m+ net spend in his time at Newcastle.

Even without Danny Ings, the Sky Sports betting expert is very confident that Ralph Hasenhuttl will find a way to beat Steve Bruce’s team tonight as he declares: ‘Newcastle continue to defy the performance metrics to pick up points’ this season.

His simple to understand explanation of this is that when it comes to Newcastle United: ‘They have scored 10 goals from 18 shots on target this season – no side have had fewer efforts on target in the Premier League. Also, they have faced 117 shots this season – 13 more than any other side.’

Last season these kind of stats eventually caught up with Steve Bruce, Newcastle with relegation form in the second half of the season, only winning four of the final 20 PL matches. Bruce grateful for a hotspot of five wins in eight matches from 2 November 2019 to 21 December 2019, when the luck flowed and goals were scored from very few chances.

Can Steve Bruce carry the luck once again tonight? Last weekend he used the same old negative tactics against an Everton side missing many of their best players and after 55 minutes it looked nailed on for 0-0, only for Callum Wilson to win a very clever penalty that transformed the game and the result.

The quality of Ralph Hasenhuttl v the luck of Steve Bruce, the Newcastle boss hates being called lucky so far at NUFC but in over two decades of management in English football nothing suggests he has Premier League quality, never winning anything and never finishing top eight in the top tier.

Bruce has been allowed plenty of money to spend and there is a feeling amongst fans that this squad of Newcastle players is capable of far more than ultra defensive tactics and relying on luck to score from so few chances at the other end.

However, as the Sky Sports expert says, expecting positive results to continue is ‘unsustainable’, unless a change of tactics allows Newcastle to create more chances at one end and reduce the number of chances conceded at the other.

Sky Sports – Betting expert ‘Jones Knows’ predicts what will happen at Southampton v Newcastle tonight:

“If Southampton win here, they will finish a day top of Premier League for the very first time.

“Last time they ended a day top of a league was back in 1988 when Phil Collins was topping the charts with ‘A Groovy Kind Of Love’ – a fitting way to describe my feeling towards Ralph Hasenhuttl.

“Sir Ralph has an opportunity to get where he belongs on Friday night: top of the pile.

“I’m fully invested in his managerial ability. If he takes Southampton places, he will take me along with them.

“Aston Villa got ‘Hasenhuttled’ last weekend courtesy of some rip-roaring midfield play and sensational finishing from James Ward-Prowse and Danny Ings.

“The striker will be a big miss over the next six weeks but it’s not a worry for this game.

“Newcastle continue to defy the performance metrics to pick up points.

“They have scored 10 goals from 18 shots on target this season – no side have had fewer efforts on target in the Premier League.

“Also, they have faced 117 shots this season – 13 more than any other side.

“It’s an unsustainable model.

“They do not scare me. Ralph will find a way through.

“Jones Knows prediction is Southampton 2 Newcastle 0.”

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