Where will NUFC finish? Part 2

Where will NUFC finish? Part 2

In defeating Aston on Villa on Sunday, Newcastle’s amassed 12 wins is already the most they have achieved since the 2005/06 season. A seat in 5th place in February certainly is a mouth watering prospect for Newcastle United after the turmoil the club has been presented with in recent years. The ship finally looks to be steadying and some may even say credit needs to go to those high up….some!

Part One of this Article was written in December. You can find it here: Where will Newcastle United Finish – Part 1

For fans, there is a real belief around the place that NUFC can produce something ‘magical’ this year – performances against the likes of Arsenal, Man Utd, Tottenham and Man City to some extent have shown a different side to the club, a new, fresh look and the recent battling results against Blackburn and Aston Villa showing just how stubborn and solid a team Newcastle can be now; not something you could have said about the team in recent Premier League seasons.

The arrival of Papiss Demba Cisse and the adhesion of Tiote, Krul and Co. are just what NUFC needed going into the final 3rd or so of the season and a productive final 14 games could see the Magpies flying into a European Competition.

5th place – Historically

Premier League - Teams 5th after 24 games

Currently, NUFC lie in 5th place, 1 below the ‘battled’ 4th Champion’s League spot. In Premier League history, teams placed 5th after 24 games have on average finished the season in 5th place (rounded from 5.4). There has been a team in that situation finish as Premier League champions before (Arsenal (97/98), but there has also been a 16th placed team in the end (Ipswich 1992/93, albeit after 43 games, not 38).

The average points total at the end of the season for teams placed 5th now is 61, a total that in the last 5 years, would have a team finishing between 5th and 8th. Newcastle presently have 42 points and during the Premier League era, teams in 5th with 42 points or more have finished on average in 4th position (rounded from 3.5), an exciting concept for Toon fans!

Historically – NUFC after 24 games

NUFC in the Premier League - 25 games+

Another factor needing a glance is NUFC’s performance in their Premier League history from 25 games onwards. The Black & White’s best season was the 1993/94 campaign in which 35 points were gained. However, there were 42 games a season then so that surely should be the case – of the 38-game seasons, 2005/06 was the most fruitful for Newcastle from fixture 25 onwards; 29 points were collected.

Probably not a surprise, the 2008/09 dreaded relegation season was the least productive for NUFC – only 7 miserly points were earned in the last 14 games, 7 from 42 points!

On average, NUFC have gained 20 points (rounded from 19.9) in the Premier League in the last 14 games of a season – again, in recent years that would see the Mag’s finish anywhere between 5th and 8th position with 62 points.

Predictions

Another way to look at this all, is to unleash the ‘crystal ball’ on the remaining 14 fixtures:

NUFC remaining 14 games - NUFC_Stats predictions

This is not the easiest of tasks – if it was, we wouldn’t have a bookies to walk into on a weekend or an app to open for our accumulators! But, trying to balance optimism and pessimism to equal realism, 20 points was predicted!

That would take NUFC, again, to 62 points. The aforementioned 5th to 8th places would be taken if this was the case.

Average points per game

To this point, Newcastle have produced an average points per game value of 1.75 in their 24 Premier League games. If this rate was to continue until the season nigh, NUFC would accumulate around 66 points (rounded down from 66.5, somewhat pessimistically!). In previous top division seasons, that would have a club finish as so:

Premier League history - 66 point finishes

As seen, the average place over the Premier League’s tenure for a club with 66 points is 5th place (rounded from 4.9) – the highest that total has got a team being 3rd and the lowest being 7th. Worth mentioning that 5th place has looked pretty solid for a ’66 point team’ over the most recent of seasons.

One final view

Teams that do well in England’s elite tend to be the best both defensively and offensively, but the latter in particularly is a ‘must’ for clubs wanting to be part of the top group.

A look at the offensive numbers in relation to the other teams in the division can give an idea of how well a team is performing and certainly identify areas of solidarity or weakness.

NUFC offensive stats 2011/12

Now, it would be pretty dim-witted to suggest that because NUFC languish 11th on average for those attacking statistics, that’s the position they could find themselves in at the conclusion of this season. But, what it does tell us, is that these 14 games and the battle for top places is not going to be easy!

There are many clubs doing good things, as Newcastle are, but some are performing predominantly well in the offensive stakes and NUFC may need to raise the bar to ensure a top 4/5/6 position is secured.

The law of averages and ‘stats galore’ can only paint a picture. The only people than have a definitive bearing on NUFC’s final league position are Newcastle United and their opposition. The Magpies have shown tremendous quality thus far in this campaign; team and individual performances reminiscent of the KK and SBR era’s and they need to certify that the same is brought through until the 38th game of the season.

While Liverpool, Arsenal and Co. will have the same ambitions about the top 6 places, NUFC have shown they have what it takes to compete with them currently – both the Merseysiders and the Gunners not as competent as recent seasons.

The return of Cabaye and Tiote, who, when playing together this season have only suffered 1 Premier League loss for NUFC (Liverpool), the recent intake of the hugely exciting Cisse and the non-stop net-busting from Ba, give Newcastle great quality and firepower to make a high finish possible.

That alongside the ‘togetherness’ and the belief the squad have and will need, and anything is possible!!

NUFC_Stats prediction: 6th