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Sky Sports expose how lucky Steve Bruce was this season, massive weaknesses at both ends

3 weeks ago
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Sky Sports have been taking a look at what the key stats point to this past season (2020/21) at Newcastle United.

The Sky Sports focus finding massive weaknesses that need addressing at both ends of the pitch.

Weaknesses that back up the opinion of many Newcastle United fans that Steve Bruce has got seriously lucky this season, considering what the trend was in matches compared to the semi-respectable number of points they eventually ended up with.

Sky Sports reporting:

‘The standout takeaway revolves around Newcastle’s work in both boxes.

In defence they have been asked to make the most clearances of any team in the Premier League this season, suggesting they are being overworked.

In attack, the club also sit bottom for final third passes completed.

This highlights what an outstanding job Wilson has done leading the line this season for Bruce’s team – scoring 12 goals in 26 games – as the service into him has been lacking.’

This very much fits in with what Newcastle United fans have said throughout this season, that the contributions of certain individuals have helped Newcastle survive DESPITE Steve Bruce, not because of him.

The fact that the Newcastle United backline has had to make more clearances than any other Premier League team, tells you just where the majority of play has taken place at during NUFC games this season.

Whilst at the other end, it is a minor miracle that Newcastle United have scored 46 goals, when you see the Sky Sports stats telling you how infrequently the NUFC players were able to get into attacking positions and create chances.

The stats surrounding Callum Wilson and Joe Willock are especially astonishing.

Callum Wilson scored 12 goals from only 49 shots, a goal conversion rate of 24.5%.

As for Joe Willock (scored in seven matches in a row!), it is an incredible 8 goals in total from only 17 shots,  a goal conversion rate of 47.1% for Newcastle.

Out of 46 PL goals scored in total by Newcastle, 20 of them were scored from only 66 shots from the two players.

Willock started only 11 PL games (plus 3 sub appearances) for Newcastle and in the eight games he scored in, the goals helped Newcastle accumulate seventeen points from the eight matches, compared to only 28 points from the other 30 games.

Sky Sports ask the question ‘Which positions are Newcastle targeting?’ and answer it with:

‘Recruitment plans are always a hot topic on Tyneside with owner Mike Ashley thought unlikely to invest heavily in the transfer market unless generating revenue through player sales. It’s a frustrating situation for the Newcastle fans to swallow seeing as that could have changed significantly had the Saudi-backed takeover gone through. It’s a squad that needs a boost of quality within the ranks as an overreliance on Allan Saint-Maximin and Callum Wilson has been clear to see this season.

Most of Bruce’s budget will be spent on landing a young centre-forward to provide support for Wilson and Joelinton and a centre-back – Celtic’s Kristoffer Ajer has been heavily linked. The club is also targeting a young central midfielder that has bundles of energy in order to slot into the more aggressive style of pressing in midfield that we saw from Bruce’s side in the second half of the season. Joe Willock, who scored in the final seven games of the season while on loan from Arsenal, is an obvious target in that regard but the Gunners have said he is not for sale.’

Newcastle United desperately need better quality added permanently at both ends of the pitch and for the tactics and set-up from the manager, to be massively improved.

Far more chances need to be created up front, whilst at the back, this season only two clubs outside the very bottom two conceded more goals than the 62 Newcastle United let in.

Obviously the dream is to have new owners and new managers, to allow real ambition to be shown.

However, if it is going to be the ‘dream team’ once again of Mike Ashley and Steve Bruce, everything needs to be thrown at signing Joe Willock and keeping Allan Saint-Maximin, as the two things could be inextricably linked.

If those two are playing with Callum Wilson, then that would go a long way to sort out things in the attacking third.

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