This is surely the kind of thing that can only happen at Newcastle United.
A club who never (very very rarely) gets awarded penalties, have signed a player who only scores penalties.
Some quite bizarre statistics…
Nabil Bentaleb signed for Newcastle on loan until the end of the season on Tuesday, a loan deal with an option to buy – which is reported to be £8.5m in media reports.
Sky Sports saying the loan fee is £850,000 and Newcastle are covering all of the midfielder’s wages, reported in the German media to be £85,000 per week which would make him NUFC’s top earner.
Many Newcastle fans would have looked at Bentaleb’s goal record and thought he could well add a few at St James Park…but on close inspection, maybe not.
In his years at Spurs, Nabil Bentaleb scored only one goal, the 17 December 2014 in a 4-0 League Cup win over Newcastle.
The midfielder joined Schalke in summer 2016, first on loan for a season and then a permanent deal.
In terms of goals he started well in Germany.
Nabil Bentaleb scored five goals in a 22 day period (all from open play):
15 October 2016 – Augsburg 1 Schalke 1
23 October 2016 – Schalke 3 Mainz 0 (Bentaleb scored twice)
3 November 2016 – Schalke 2 Krasnodar (Europa League)
6 November 2016 – Schalke 3 Werder Bremen 1
Since that goal against Werder Bremen, in the next 38 months Nabil Bentaleb has scored another 14 goals BUT every single one of them has been from the penalty spot!
Eight in the Bundesliga, two in the domestic cups, three in the Champions League and once in the Europa League.
What a bizarre stat, to not have scored a single goal in open play since November 2016.
Particularly so when obviously the player is confident and a good enough striker of the ball for Schalke to have entrusted spot-kick duties.
Now he has signed for Newcastle United…
NUFC haven’t been awarded a single penalty this season.
In eight days time it will be exactly a year since Newcastle last scored a penalty, Matt Ritchie’s winner against Man City. Since then, Newcastle have been awarded only one other spot-kick and Ritchie failed with it in the 3-2 home win over Everton last March.
Last season only two other penalties were awarded in Newcastle’s favour, Kenedy failing in August 2018 in the 0-0 draw at Cardiff, Ritchie scoring in the FA Cup 1-1 draw at home to Blackburn.
The season before (2017/18) only one penalty, Joselu failing at home to Burnley in the 1-1 draw.
Since promotion in 2017, Newcastle United have played 99 times in the Premier League and been awarded only four penalties.
Here’s hoping Nabil Bentaleb can help Newcastle in the opposition box a bit more often and win a few more penalties for him to take, plus obviously nice if he can break his 38 months and counting goal-free run when it comes to open play.
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