Jamaal Lascelles has given an overview of where Newcastle United are at, with a quarter of the season now gone.
The Newcastle Captain saying; ‘We have set a benchmark in terms of intensity and defending.’
Going into the season, I don’t think anybody had any serious concerns about the defence, with the past two seasons seeing only two clubs outside the top four conceding less than Newcastle each time.
The worry was always regarding the players in front of them.
Jamaal Lascelles says after the Chelsea game: ‘Now we just need to be more clinical with our finishing.’
However, what our eyes tell us and the stats back them up, is that Lascelles is missing a vital part of the equation.
You have to create the chances and get up the pitch into shooting positions first.
The official Premier League stats show that Newcastle United have had only 21 efforts on target in their nine games, including none at all on Saturday. That figure is the lowest of any PL club.
Whilst when it comes to total number of shots (both on and off target), only Wolves (80) have had less than Newcastle’s 81.
What is extra worrying is that when you look at the other clubs in the bottom six, when it comes to total number of shots – Watford 120, Norwich 100, Southampton 121, Brighton 114, Everton 121.
So basically, the other clubs at the bottom are creating the chances, it is just their radars have been off.
When Newcastle played Watford, Norwich and Brighton we saw the proof of that, as all three teams created far more chances than Newcastle in the three games. Steve Bruce’s side very lucky to pick up two points from these three games, plus of course denying relegation rivals Watford and Brighton two more points each.
You can’t just rely on your defence winning you points – Seven of Newcastle’e eight points came in games where Martin Dubravka kept a clean sheet.
Newcastle’s season rests on being able to find a formula to start and create a decent number of chances, are Steve Bruce and his players up to the job?
“We are showing some really good stuff so hopefully we can carry that on in the games that are coming up.
“It would be nice to more consistent but it is the Premier League and every single game is a tough one.
“What is positive for me is that our form is starting to pick up and form-wise we are OK.
“It is not like the Norwich or Leicester game any more so there are good signs, hopefully now we can start getting results.
“We have set a benchmark in terms of intensity and defending.
“Now we just need to be more clinical with our finishing.
“We will work on other things that can win us games.
“Every single game is tough but we have to approach it the right way.
“We have had a really tough start to the season with Man United, Liverpool, Spurs, Chelsea, Leicester and Arsenal in our opening nine games.
“That is a really tough start.
“When you consider we have eight points out of that, it is positive.
“We have been in a lot worse positions.
“I am just pleased with our performances at the minute and I know we can build on this.
“We have had a tough start but beaten two of the big teams, we put on a good show at Chelsea too.
“In the first half (at Chelsea) there was nothing in it and it could have gone either way.
“In the second half…yes they were on the front foot but at the same time, I thought we defended really well.”
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