HomeOTHEREPLThe Rise of Coloccini | Relegation to Top 4

The Rise of Coloccini | Relegation to Top 4

In transferring from Deportivo in 2008 for something close to £10m, many thought Argentine centre half Fabricio Coloccini was to be the saviour of what was a near shambolic and frequently error-filled defensive back-line for Newcastle United at the time. However, his introduction gradually faded to ‘fruitless’ as Colo appeared to struggle with the intensity and tempo of the best league in the world.

Alongside fellow Argy Jonas Gutierrez and relative newcomers Habib Beye and Cacapa, the Premier League was proving a literal different league to the experience conjured in Italy and Spain by Colo and added to the under-performances of ‘stars’ like Michael Owen, Mark Viduka and Obafemi Martins, toothless Newcastle United were duly relegated at the end of the 2008/09 season.

While the majority of the over-paid mercenaries which were responsible for Newcastle’s downfall jumped ship, the Argentinian contingent at the Toon appeared fully intact with both Jonas and Colo sticking around for the Championship campaign. It was here it would appear that the South Americans found their feet in the English game, producing some super displays as they helped NUFC to the peak of the ‘Electronics’ League and back to the top division.

The 2010/11 season saw the Mighty Mags steady their Premier League ship and although Jonas Gutierrez had what you would arguably call anaverage season, Fab Colo was at the forefront of some impressive defensive displays. This season, newly instated as club captain, Super Colo has continued that great form and alongside Geordie-boy Steven Taylor, has created a rock in front of the equally impressive Tim Krul which has earned NUFC a joint-best defence record which continues to remain intact.

NUFC_Stats took a quick look at the stats from the dreaded relegation season for Captain Colo compared to the current campaign.

As a team, NUFC presently concede 0.92 goals a game compared to 1.52 back in 2008/09. They also make significantly less defensive errors, albeit in only 13 game thus far; 21 errors were made in the ‘disaster season’, an average of 0.55 per game. This season that figure stands at just 0.23.

Coloccini has been the figurehead of many of the performances leading to those minor improvements this season; he has been the leader of a back-line that have kept 4 clean sheets already; only 7 were kept in the entire 08/09 season. While some people will say that Ste Taylor and Krul have a big say in those stats, Colo has improved his individual game, adapting to the physicality and intensity of the English game it would seem.

While his tackling stats remain similar, Colo now has an aerial success rate of 46% compared to 43% in 08/09. He has also improved his concentration, making 0 defensive errors thus far compared to 4 then. Furthermore, He has improved his composure in possession, passing accurately 81% of the time, bettering the 75% he conjured up 3 years ago. Finally, Colo’s confidence in the English game has developed as he poses a far better attacking threat than he did on his arrival. He has created 4 scoring chances already this season, parallel to the 3 he produced back then. Moreover,  Captain Colo failed to get into a position to have 1 shot at goal in the whole of the 08/09 season; he has had 1 already in a third of the games played this season.

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