Villa v Newcastle | Stats Analysis

Villa v Newcastle | Stats Analysis

After a disappointing performance on Monday night against QPR, Pardew stuck with the same formation. However he started Demba Ba, replacing Shola Ameobi who had a poor game on Monday.  After an open twenty minutes, where both teams had good possession and chances on goal, it was Newcastle who dominated much of the possession and it was a game that they could have won if it wasn’t for Shay Given’s heroics in front of goal.

Winning central midfield battle

I had my doubts when I heard we were playing 442 again, but it was the right choice against Villa’s midfield. Against Arsenal and QPR, where we were out-numbered in the centre of midfield – this time, Cabaye and Tiote were up against Stilian Petrov and Fabian Delph – and our central midfield pairing came out top.

 

As you can see from the stats and the Guardian Chalkboards above, our central midfield were on the ball more often, having the time and space to pick out passes.  Cheik Tiote actually made more passes than the Villa’s central midfield put together (Tiote 91 v Petrov 22, Delph 44, Ireland (sub) 14 – Total 80).  Tiote had his best game this season, completing 84% of his passes (his average last season), providing the cross that led to Leon Best’s equaliser and he also made 8 interceptions.  Although there were a couple of times where he was caught on the ball or made a misplaced pass that led to a Villa attack, his performances are definitely improving as the season progresses.  Tiote was helped by Gutierrez and Obertan providing some width, giving him more passing options (see Tiote’s chalkboard).  In contrast, Villa’s left footed Barry Bannan – who was playing on the right wing – tended to tuck infield limiting Villa’s options.  As a result, Ryan Taylor had an easier game compared to Monday night when he faced Shaun Wright Phillips.

After my criticism on Gabriel Obertan’s reluctance to attack the defenders and play a ball into the box, there was much improvement on Saturday.  Although his quality of crosses was very poor, often hitting the first man.  All 5 crosses failed to reach one of our men.

Yohan Cabaye had an excellent game – he completed 83% of his total passes (91% of open play passes), provided five goal scoring chances and had three shots on goal (doesn’t seem his last chance of the game registered as a shot).  He was very unlucky not to score, striking the bar and also Given producing a top quality save to prevent his shot heading for the top corner.

Summary

It was a good performance, as we had more possession (59% v 41%), more shots on target (6/13 v 2/9) and a greater pass completion rate (83% v 73%) – in hindsight, we could have left Birmingham with three points.  Other than Obertan and Best, all of our starting players had a 80+% passing rate. We looked better going forward – Demba Ba offering more than Shola Ameobi and at times, both Ba and Best linked up well in our attacking play.  Nine points from five games played, unbeaten, 4th place and the best defence in the league – it’s been a very good start to the season for Newcastle.