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Opinion

Survey of fans of Premier League clubs produces standout Newcastle United results

1 month ago
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What do fans of Premier League clubs think about what has been going on at their club and their hopes / wishes for the 2021/22 season?

Well, The Athletic have carried out a big survey of thousands of their paying subscribers.

The Athletic asking the fanbases of all 20 Premier League clubs – ‘Are you feeling hope or fear’ ahead of the 2021/22 season.

This is how The Athletic poll turned out, gauging the sense of hope or optimism ahead of the new campaign:

Premier League clubs fan optimism for 2021/22 season

As you can see, their “hope-o-meter” showed just 18% of Everton fans feeling optimistic, he next lowest figure is 23% of  Newcastle United fans.

Champions League winners Chelsea maybe not surprisingly showing top with 98%.

Amusingly, Man City fans only ninth highest (92%), obviously their club failing in only winning one Premier League title in the last three months and signing only the one £100m player…

The Athletic verdict on Newcastle United and this 2021/22 season…

‘Newcastle? Same again. A club that is barely treading water under Mike Ashley’s ownership and a team that reflects that ambition. Joe Willock’s arrival from Arsenal on a permanent deal is certainly welcome, but it is unlikely to shift the dial dramatically given that he was already a Newcastle player in the second half of last season.

Just 23 per cent of the Newcastle fans we polled are feeling optimistic. That might feel like a referendum on Ashley’s ownership or indeed Steve Bruce’s management, but it doesn’t sound unduly glum.’

Included in the analysis was a graph that looked at the 17 Premier League clubs who were in the top tier in both 2019/20 and 2020/21, it compared how inclined their teams were to press the opposition high up the pitch:

Premier League teams pressing 2019/20 and 2020/21

The Athletic were looking to show how in the 2020/21 season for many clubs there were ‘significant drop-offs when it comes to the percentage of opposition touches that were pressurised in the middle and final thirds of the pitch’, those clubs no longer playing quite so high up the pitch, not as high energy. The Athletic picking out Manchester City, Leicester City, Chelsea and Southampton in particular.

For Newcastle United fans…

If you look at the graph, there is really one massive standout of all the Premier League clubs compared and contrasted.

In both the 2019/20 AND 2020/21 seasons , one club were by a massive distance the least attacking team of all. In both Steve Bruce seasons so far, Newcastle United easily the most negative and refusing to press higher up the pitch, staying camped around their own penalty area for significant periods of matches, simply hoping the opposition doesn’t score.

In 2020/21, Newcastle United players scored 44 Premier League goals (46 NUFC goals in total as two own goals by opposition players).

However, they were massively indebted to Callum Wilson and Joe Willock, as the pair of them scored a massive proportion of the goals (20 of 44) by NUFC players, despite woeful service and support, due to Steve Bruce’s ultra negative tactics the vast majority of the time. Callum Wilson scoring 12 PL goals from only 49 shots / chances created, whilst for Joe Willock it was an astonishing 8 goals from 17 shots / chances created. A combined total of 20 goals from only 66 shots / chances created.

That kind of average conversion won’t happen again, so absolutely vital that Steve Bruce scraps his over the top defensive tactics and gives Newcastle United’s attacking players a chance to shine.

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