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Wout Weghorst v Chris Wood – Journalist comes up with very embarrassing comparison

1 month ago
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It was inevitable that Chris Wood and Wout Weghorst were going to see fans, journalists, whoever, comparing and contrasting their respective impacts on the second half of this Premier League season.

With Callum Wilson set to miss most, if not all, of the rest of the season and with no other Premier League starting level striker in the squad, due to the ridiculous summer 2021 transfer window presided over by Steve Bruce and Mike Ashley, the new Newcastle United owners forced to bite the bullet.

Those new NUFC owners paying out £25m for Chris Wood, the amount needed to trigger his release clause and leave Burnley powerless to stop him leaving.

Much of the media mocking Eddie Howe and those now owning Newcastle United, for paying out £25m on Wood who had turned 30 in December.

Burnley then forced into the transfer market and spending around half (£12m) of the cash they’d received for selling Chris Wood, with 29 year old Holland international Wout Weghorst signed from Wolfsburg.

Three months later, journalist Zach Lowy has given his ‘expert’ view when reflecting on these two striker transfers in January.

Zach Lowy – 3 April 2022:

“Newcastle really paid £25m for Chris Wood for the sole purpose of weakening relegation rivals.

“Looking more and more like a shocking piece of business especially when Burnley were able to bring in Wout Weghorst for a fraction of the price.”

How do you define ‘shocking piece of business’ when it comes to these two January transfers?

Well, difficult / impossible to split them when it comes to goalscoring, Chris Wood scoring one goal in his 11 Premier League matches for Newcastle so far, Wout Weghorst scoring one goal in his 10 PL games for Burnley so far.

I know it is seen as a bit old fashioned for many journalists these days to actually do any proper research or even scratch below the surface of any particular debate, however, it may have helped our friend Zach on this occasion…

Wout Weghorst 10 match Premier League record at Burnley so far:

Played 10 Won 2 Drawn 3 Lost 5 (Burnley scoring 6 goals and conceding 13 in these 10 games)

With 9 points from a possible 30, Burnley averaging 0.9 points per game with Wout Weghorst in the side.

Chris Wood opening 10 match Premier League record at Newcastle United:

Played 10 Won 6 Drawn 3 Lost 2 (Newcastle  scoring 13 goals and conceding 7 in these 10 games)

With 21 points from a possible 30, Newcastle averaging 2.1 points per game with Chris Wood in the side, in his first 10 PL matches for NUFC.

(***Also worth pointing out that including the defeat at Tottenham yesterday, Chris Wood has now played 4 home games and 7 away in the Premier League for NUFC, whilst Weghorst has played 7 at home and 3 away)

Hmmm, could it possibly be that when judging any player you have to actually watch the games, see what happens, see how the team is set up and what that / any player is being asked to do?

I haven’t got a clue about what job Weghorst is doing at Burnley, I don’t watch their matches.

I do however watch Newcastle’s games, all of them, and I know exactly what Chris Wood has been asked to do by Eddie Howe.

The defending starts from the front with Chris Wood and he works incredibly hard, closing down defender after defender and the goalkeeper. Weghorst is 6 foot 6 so I wouldn’t imagine he will be putting in anything like the workrate that Wood puts in. Chris Wood is also being asked to do a very unselfish role when leading the attack, his job mainly to help create the space and opportunity for others to get in the box and score, as the likes of Willock, Joelinton and Fraser have done since Wood’s arrival.

Don’t get me wrong, I think Chris Wood should have scored more than his single Newcastle goal BUT considering how few decent chances have come his way and the lack of credible crosses in particular, I think he is a couple of goals short of what he should have managed, not half a dozen. Which then means you also have to factor in what else he has given to the team.

Once again, I haven’t a clue what Wout Weghorst has given Burnley apart from his one goal BUT I am taking an educated guess that it hasn’t been remotely close to what Chris Wood has contributed for Newcastle United.

Maybe these two tables will give an even better illustration of what has happened since the two strikers made their moves in January 2022…

This was how the Premier League table looked before Chris Wood made his Newcastle United PL debut on 15 January 2022:

Premier League Table 15 January 2022

This is how the Premier League table looks this Monday (4 April 2022) morning:

Premier League Table 4 April 2022

So before Chris Wood moved clubs. Newcastle United were nineteenth, one place below Burnley and behind them on goal difference.

Moving forward to the present day, Newcastle are fifteenth and four places higher than Burnley, with a 10 point advantage. I know it might not be a truly scientific take on this situation BUT there is a case for saying that Chris Wood has been worth (or at least contributed to) Newcastle United averaging an extra point per game compared to how Burnley have done in the same time period.

Let us look again at our journalist friend’s take on the respective January signings…

Zach Lowy via Twitter– 3 April 2022:

“Newcastle really paid £25m for Chris Wood for the sole purpose of weakening relegation rivals.

“Looking more and more like a shocking piece of business especially when Burnley were able to bring in Wout Weghorst for a fraction of the price.”

Zach Lowy does work for Talksport, is based in Washington DC, has an American Football photo as his Twitter bio image, whilst appearing to specialise in football in Portugal.

This is no slight on our fellow fans supporting NUFC from across the pond…but I don’t think Zach has a clue. I wonder just how many Newcastle matches he ever watches, apart from possibly that second half yesterday at Tottenham?

It is embarrassing to claim that Newcastle ‘paid £25m for Chris Wood for the sole purpose of weakening relegation rivals.’ Indeed, if you follow Lowy’s logic, then surely if Chris Wood has been as shocking as he claims, Newcastle actually did Burnley a favour by enabling / forcing them to end up strengthening their team when replacing Wood with Weghorst?

Eddie Howe and the NUFC owners paid £25m for Chris Wood because they desperately needed a Premier League ready striker because they had lost the only one they had to injury, PL ready Wood came in and in his first eight league matches for Newcastle helped them win six and draw the other two, in the space of seven weeks United going from relegation favourites to not a single pundit or journalist believing they would go down.

The last three games and defeats have been a reality check for some that Newcastle United aren’t suddenly some great side full of quality players.

However, for all but this most recent half of football on Sunday at Tottenham, for the previous ten and a half matches Chris Wood has helped make Newcastle United competitive once again and capable of picking up points.

Wood came in to do a job, a very short-term essential job. He may well stay on at St James Park for another year or two but will know that it will be as a squad player and an impact sub most often.

The reality is though that avoiding relegation was an absolutely massive first building block to allow for a new ambitious Newcastle United to be able to use as a starting point.

If Chris Wood had stayed at Burnley and Newcastle United made the supposedly smarter move of recruiting Wout Weghorst for half the money, nobody can say for sure what would have happened at either / both clubs, or indeed with the relegation battle overall.

However, at the very least, I would bet the mortgage that if this scenario had happened instead of Chris Wood arriving at St James Park, Newcastle United wouldn’t currently be anything like nine points clear of the relegation zone, just how much lower NUFC would have been is something I don’t want to think too much about…

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