Jonas Gutierrez - Newcastle's new marmite?

Jonas Gutierrez - Newcastle's new marmite?

“He’s an exciting player and I’m sure our fans will enjoy watching him!” That was the verdict of Kevin Keegan on signing Jonas Gutierrez for Newcastle from Real Mallorca back in July 2008.

And, it’s fair to say, the Argentine hasn’t disappointed. He possesses amazing skill and has that drive and flair to evade even the toughest of full backs. He also has an excellent understanding of defending principles and matched with his hard work and endeavour, Jonas would be a key player for many sides.

Having said all of that, Gutierrez has become somewhat of a love/hate player at Newcastle United of late. Some claim the winger is too defensive minded, thus hindering his attacking threat – the player himself, the players behind him and the manager’s tactics all suspect for reasoning.

Furthermore, there are those that say even when the Argentine is given the freedom to play high and forward, he lacks contribution and his end product is poor.

A look at Jonas’ attacking and defending numbers for this Premier League season should shine some light on the wide man’s ability and performances.

Attack

PL Current Top Ten - Left Sided Players Attacking Stats

Compared to the left-sided players of the current top ten Premier League clubs, Jonas Gutierrez fares average at absolute best. While none of his values are the lowest, he is way off the highest numbers for every value. Only Downing & Pienaar have scored less goals than the Argentine so far and only those two plus James McLean have assisted less goals.

From a creativity point of view, the weakness in NUFC in general has been highlighted recently, but in Jonas, Newcastle have a top ten left-sided player that creates more per game than only James McLean at rivals Sunderland.

In terms of dribbling, Jonas does as well as most, but his crossing data is way down the pecking order again.

Next Page: Jonas Gutierrez defensive stats…

Defence

PL Current Top Ten - Left Sided Players Defending Stats

A more clear picture of Jonas Gutierrez is painted after glancing over the defensive figures. It is only James McLean, again, that makes more tackles per game than Jonas, which tells you about the way Sunderland are employing the Irish wideman. Also, Guti makes the joint most interceptions per game on average alongside Steven Pienaar, but by far the most ‘dribble stops’, doubling the stats of next best McLean.

Only Samir Nasri makes more clearances on average per game and it is the Sunderland and Everton men again that are the only ones to do better than Jonas in terms of blocking shots per game.

Where he gets it

Jonas Gutierrez receiving - last 8 PL games

The majority of the black and white faithful would say that they would prefer to see Jonas with the ball as opposed to chasing it, but in his ‘defending-prioritised’ position there have been many games where Newcastle simply cant get him on the ball in the right areas.

The graphic above shows where Guti has received the ball in the last 8 Premier League games.

While it’s quite pleasing to see him not gaining possession in his defensive third as much as it may have been perceived, his lack of receivals in the final third, particularly beyond the opposition’s 18 yard line, is a concern and it can certainly be seen why his figures such as crossing are deficient.

The majority of where Gutierrez is given the ball, whether his or the passers fault, is the middle third and with the attributes the Argentine has, Newcastle must find ways to get him on the ball higher up the pitch.

It comes as no surprise, when looking at this, that Jonas Gutierrez is the most fouled player in the top division – teams can afford to foul him in that middle area.

No one doubts that Jonas Gutierrez is now an integral part of Newcastle United’s team. He works as hard as any player in world football and has the ability to produce the sublime at any time in a football match.

However, the tactics currently adopted by the team have thwarted what was already a questionable attacking output. For a left winger in the top flight, Jonas is not producing the goods needed for a European fight.

However, if it was down to his ability alone, question marks would arise regarding his first team place. But, that’s not the case – Jonas is being employed to protect his full back as much as possible and when the chance arises to join in attacks, he does his up most to do so.

Should this be the case? How many other teams are asking their left-sided players to do the same job? Should AP not have full confidence in his defensive back line and holding midfield player, allowing Gutierrez to do more damage in the final third? Particularly at home, should Newcastle United not implement a more attacking ethos, to the point of even starting a different player than Gutierrez?

Let us know your thoughts and please leave a comment.

All of the stats from this article have been taken from the Opta Stats Centre at EPLIndex.comSubscribe Now (Includes author privileges!) See Demo’s and videos about the Stats Centre & read about new additions to the stats centre.