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New report gives brilliant insight into how Sheffield United v Newcastle United will play out

4 months ago
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It is Sheffield United v Newcastle United tonight.

A massive game for both clubs as the season is almost at the halfway point.

For Chris Wilder and his players it is surely a must win game if they are to have any chance at all of staying up, with only two points from 17 matches, they need a win now to have some kind of survival attempt starting point.

For Steve Bruce and the Newcastle players, the situation isn’t of course as drastic as the Sheffield United one, but they do need a win desperately.

Having stumbled their way to a semi-respectable 19 points, they are now left with wondering just where the next victory is coming from.

No wins in seven and one goal in eight hours of football, Newcastle are very much on the slide.

So how will the two clubs approach tonight’s relegation clash?

Well, a timely new Premier League report gives us a perfect insight of what we can expect tonight from the two teams and managers.

This new table is published by ‘The Other 14’ (who specialise on stats/tables etc on the 14 clubs who aren’t the ‘Big Six’), showing how the goalkeepers at each club distribute the ball:

As you can see, there are clubs such as Leeds, Leicester, Brighton and Southampton, where the goalkeepers play a lot of short passes to defenders and midfielders to start move from the back.

Then you have Newcastle United and Sheffield United, with Burnley and West Brom arguably to be added as well.

Karl Darlow (16 PL appearances this season) and Aaron Ramsdale (17 PL appearances) have only tried 52 short passes (only Burnley’s Nick Pope (14 PL appearances) has tried less short passes) each this season, that is only a shade over three per game for each keeper.

However, when it comes to hitting (booting…) it long up the pitch, the Newcastle keeper does this on average 22 times per match and his Sheff Utd counterpart 24 times. The thing is, as well as this being the main depressing tactic used by both managers in terms of initiating forward play from the back, only a fraction over a third of the time (35% Sheffield Utd, 36% NUFC) do these long balls from the keeper actually reach one of their own players.

Prepare for a feast of football, Chris Wilder v Steve Bruce, balls booted by goalkeepers from one end of the pitch to the other and losing possession a massive proportion of the time.

Who on earth would want a daft foreign manager such as Hasenhuttl at Southampton or Bielsa at Leeds…?

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