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Steve Bruce defending so deep makes it easy for opposition? New stats report sums it up

5 months ago

Steve Bruce is coming under ever increasing pressure.

Newcastle fans having constantly pointed out the appalling negative and clueless tactics employed by the NUFC Head Coach.

It has reached the point where even pundits and journalists that have been blindly loyal to Steve Bruce and called the Newcastle fans deluded, are now questioning exactly what Bruce is trying to do.

Very difficult to see that there is any plan at all really, apart from lining up the entire team around their own box, gifting total control to the opposition game after game, then hoping they don’t take too many of their numerous chances.

This new Premier League stats report gets to the heart I think, of why Newcastle United are struggling so badly this season and making it so easy for the opposition.

These stats from The Other 14 (they specialise in stats on the 14 who aren’t the ‘big six’) show the players who have averaged the most tackles and interceptions per 90 minutes in the nine PL rounds of games so far this season:

As you can see, not a single Newcastle United player featuring in the top 20 players for tackles and interceptions from the ‘other 14’ PL clubs.

Twelve of the other thirteen ‘Other14’ clubs all have at least one player, only Newcastle and Wolves not having a player included.

We got in touch with the ‘Other14’ and they kindly supplied details of which Newcastle players have averaged the most tackles and interceptions per 90 minutes this season so far.

Miguel Almiron – 16 tackles and 5 interceptions – An average of 4.53 tackles and interceptions every 90 minutes

Isaac Hayden – 11 tackles and 11 interceptions – An average of 3.91 tackles and interceptions every 90 minutes

Jamal Lewis – 16 tackles and 4 interceptions – An average of 2.43 tackles and interceptions every 90 minutes

This is very informative, as Newcastle would have had a player in that top 20 BUT Steve Bruce has decided to give Miguel Almiron only four starts in the nine PL games, meaning that whilst he averages 4.53 tackles and interceptions every 90 minutes, his lack of games meant he hasn’t reached the total of minimum 25 tackles and interceptions in order to make this list.

The problem with the Steve Bruce tactics and formation, as well as his team selection to an extent, is that Newcastle end up so passive and just sitting in so deeply, the opposition stroll through to Newcastle’s defensive third.

Miguel Almiron properly hassles and chases down the opposition as the stats below back up, whilst Steve Bruce has instead preferred the likes of Jeff Hendrick and Joelinton ahead of Almiron.

Indeed, it is amazing how often Miguel Almiron, the player Steve Bruce doesn’t want to play, features so highly time after time in the stats.

On Wednesday we published a different Other14 table, which showed the 20 players (of non-big six clubs) who had created the most chances this season. Not one Newcastle player featured.

However, when contacting the Other14 for the additional NUFC stats, the Newcastle player to create the most chances this season was…Miguel Almiron. Yes, despite only allowed to start four of the nine PL matches, the Paraguayan was also the most productive Newcastle player in that list as well.

The four highest are Miguel Almiron with eight and then with seven each, Allan Saint-Maximin, Callum Wilson and Jamal Lewis.

Interestingly, all of the chances created by these four were in open play, a reminder as well that set-pieces is another big weakness for Newcastle, with no great plan in place from Steve Bruce…


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