Best 11 Newcastle United players of the 2020/21 season
As part of a personal end of season review, I have selected my team of the 2020/21 season, the best 11 Newcastle United players.
It is based off statistics and personal bias drawn from watching the team.
A personal high for me was watching Darlow and Willock, two of my favourite footballers, surprise everyone else (excluding me) with good performances when finally given a chance to play consistently.
Letting Yedlin leave on a free was poor from both a financial and tactical perspective, as we now have to play Murphy in RWB, losing much of his attacking threat.
It was nice to see Jack Colback leave however, after years of being frozen out of the first team while his contract was being run out.
I’d be happy to know your thoughts on who makes your team of the season, and who deserves special recognition.
Karl Darlow – GK
Both keepers performed wonderfully when called upon, and their stats were similar. However Darlow edges it for me because he played more games. He reminded us of his “penalty stopper” attribute, as he became one of only 13 goalies to save a spot kick last season (who remembers Dec 2016 vs Forrest?). He also made the most recoveries on the team and had four clean sheets.
Jake Murphy – RWB
Solid defensive play, joint for third successful tackles on our team. Showed good attacking intent and produced at vital times. Created the most big chances, scored 2 goals (including our only freekick goal) and made 3 assists playing from wingback.
Federico Fernandez – RCB
Best Centre Back this year. Rock solid at the back, as he led the team in blocks, clean sheets and clearances. Was comfortable on the ball and helped dictate the pace from the back, making the third most passes and touches. Nonetheless, conceded a penalty and scored an own goal
Jamaal Lascelles – CB
Showed up when he was needed most. The only defender to have made a successful crucial/last man tackle. No penalties conceded, no errors leading to goals. Scored two headers when we desperately needed them, and third best in blocks and clearances, including 2 goal line clearances. Completed only 19 games and was sorely missed whenever out injured. He was sadly rushed back to the pitch every single time and ended up missing the season finale.
Ciaran Clark – LCB
Best player in aerial duels (63% won), led the defence in interceptions, contributed one goal, and was second best to Fernandez on clearances and blocks.
Also, however, conceded a penalty and scored an own goal.
Matt Ritchie – LWB
Joint 34th in the league for crosses completed. His reinstatement into the side was one of the factors for the resurgence. Offered a better attacking threat than the alternative Left wing backs, with 30 successful crosses (1st) and 2 assists. However, he did score an own goal.
Joe Willock – RCM
His addition to the team gave new life to our attack. From the first goal against Southampton, it was obvious to me that he had good chemistry with ASM and Almiron. Broke Shearer’s record for consecutive games with goals, and scored BIG goals in BIG games, at a crucial point in the season. 8 goals in 14 games, the most clinical player on the team, averaging one goal from every three shots taken (1 goal every 158 minutes). Ridiculous
Isaac Hayden – DM
Led the team with successful tackles and interceptions, and the best CM/DM in duels. Was sorely missed when out injured. Definitely made his presence known, and ended the season as our most booked player and second in fouls committed. Gladly he managed to foul smartly, and failed to add to his 2 red cards so far.
Miguel Almiron – LCM
Four goals and one assist, second best in successful tackles, two goal line clearances, third best for recoveries made, second most touches and passes made, Almiron was a busy man at all ends of the pitch, and a major reason why we coped fairly without Hayden. He was the most subbed off player, having had his number put up 16 times. Would have loved to see him directed more towards his offensive game though.
Callum Wilson – CF
12 goals, 5 assists. Best conversion rate bar Willock, with an average of one goal from every 4 shots (1 goal every 195 minutes). He is the spearhead centre forward we have needed for many years and became only the fourth NUFC player to have reached 12 goals a season, since Demba Ba in 11/12(16) and Aug – Dec 2012(13), Loïc Remy in 13/14(14), and Ayoze Perez in 18/19(12). On the flip side, he was 8th in the league for offsides.
Allain Saint-Maximin – SS
I could literally leave this space blank and everyone would still agree with his inclusion. Thank God he didn’t break down after being overused carelessly by the manager, risked needlessly in some cases. 3 goals and 4 assists were the numbers. He was a constant, pacy, tricky, and flashy headache to defenders and opposing managers. He was our key creative outlet, with 4 assists(2nd), 30 key passes(1st) and 6 big chances created(1st), all on 82% pass accuracy(2nd).
Dubravka, Schär, Dummett, Shelvey, Sean Longstaff, Joelinton
Best Keeper: Karl Darlow
Best Defender: Federico Fernandez
Best Midfielder: Miguel Almiron
Best forward: Callum Wilson
Best signing: Joe Willock
Worst signing: Ryan Fraser
Best release: Jack Colback (free)
Worst release: DeAndre Yedlin (free)
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