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Opinion

Wolves and Newcastle United delusion – Argument destroyed with stunning underlying stats

1 year ago
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The Wolves and Newcastle United match was an eventful and overall entertaining affair on Sunday.

However, the post-match debate was all a little bizarre.

A clear case of delusion setting in where the Wolves camp were concerned AND the media happy to accommodate and not challenge their ridiculous claims on what we had all just watched…

The Wolves Captain Ruben Neves came out with these laughable comments after Sunday’s match ‘Of course, their (Newcastle’s) style of play is like that. Just long balls and second balls. They are not a team that wants to have the possession too much. We knew that. We prepare really well for that.’

Wolves Manager Bruno Lage declaring ‘We controlled everything. We know how they (Newcastle) play, long balls in behind (but) we controlled.’

The reality though was something very different BUT Bruno Lage and Ruben Neves bizarrely refusing to accept the actual truth of how the game played out, with the BBC Sport stats showing¬†Wolves 36% possession and Newcastle 64%, Wolves 10 shots and Newcastle 21, Wolves 4 shots on target and Newcastle 6, Wolves 4 corners and Newcastle 13.’

The reality was, Newcastle United controlled the play, they were the ones passing it about, it was Wolves who were struggling to pass it out from the back and often hitting it long. Eddie Howe playing a brave pressing / passing game, whilst Wolves were very negative and defensive (as usual!). Last season only the three relegated clubs scored less than this Bruno Lage Wolves side, a very negative set of tactics that going into this Newcastle game, meant Wolves had scored only 39 goals in their last 41 Premier League matches.

Maybe this explains the Wolves delusion and then why in his other comments, Bruno Lage makes so much of certain incidents. Out of all proportion when considering what overall happened in the match.

Bruno Lage reflecting on Wolves 1 Newcastle 1:

“Unlucky for us and a lucky goal for Newcastle.

“I think we played a good game.¬†

“We controlled everything.

“We know how they (Newcastle) play, long balls in behind (but) we controlled.”

Anyway, following the weekend action in the Premier League, I want you to consider the underlying stats as well.

Do they show that the Wolves camp are actually proved to be right in what they were claiming…or do they simply make them look even more delusional?

These five new tables were published on Monday, giving us great insight and clarity on what really happened with Wolves and Newcastle at the weekend.

Tables courtesy of TheOther14, who specialise in stats and analysis on the 14 Premier League clubs (and their players) who aren’t ‘big six’ clubs:

So, Wolves controlled the match, were the better and more dangerous team etc etc, yet as the home side they only had 16 touches in the Newcastle box in the entire match AND NUFC players had two and a half times as many (40)!

So, Newcastle had four players in the top nine in this table, the quartet having a combined 721 progressive yards carrying the ball, never mind the rest of the NUFC team as well. According to the Wolves camp, Newcastle players were just hitting hopeful long balls forward, yet the reality is Newcastle players were carrying the ball forward.

Wolves claim they were in total control of the match and dictating the game / play etc. Yet somehow, they have four players in the top six when it comes to having to make desperate blocks and clearances back in and around their own penalty area, 39 of them from this quartet alone! Yes Newcastle only have one player in the entire table. It might seem like a daft question but…is Wolves were so much in control, why did they need to make so many blocks and clearances?

As you can see, when it comes to players creating the most chances, four NUFC players in the list and just one from Wolves. How strange, when they were (supposedly) the team who deserved to win…

Yet again, Newcastle United players dominate, three in the table and none from Wolves. This isn’t players hitting aimless balls forward and losing possession, as the Wolves manager and captain want everybody to believe. It is (NUFC) players playing possession football and building play from the back, the likes of Botman, Schar and Trippier playing passes successfully to teammates as Newcastle attacked time after time.

Only one team deserved to win on Sunday and here’s a clue, it wasn’t Wolves.

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