By Tony Attwood
Most commentators on next season, speak of Newcastle United’s rise, but because they refuse to use any statistics to analyse the position, feel that Newcastle are not going to rise that far. Mind you they also don’t comment on the issue of where the money is coming from and what it says about Newcastle’s attitude toward human rights.
On 1 January the league table saw them doomed.
They then spent £91.9m on
- Kieran Trippier (£13.5m, Atletico Madrid)
- Chris Wood (£27m, Burnley)
- Bruno Guimaraes (£37.9m, Lyon)
- Matt Targett (loan, Aston Villa)
- Dan Burn (£13.5m, Brighton & Hove Albion)
and as if by some kind of magic, by the end of the season they were 11th.
|7||West Ham United||38||16||8||14||60||51||9||56|
|9||Brighton and Hove Albion||38||12||15||11||42||44||-2||51|
In that half-season they had won 12, drawn 2 and lost 5, scoring 25, and conceding 20, giving a goal difference of +5 and a points tally of 38. If they had maintained that approach throughout the entire season they would have been third pushing Arsenal down into sixth.
And so finally, after looking at so many clubs, we can see what the fantasy computer of the pundts was thinking. Newcastle will continue next season doing as it had done in the second half of the season and some come third. (Although actually none of the pundits coming third because they kept the top four the same as this last season).
But it didn’t really need a SuperComputer to work that out. I did it on a PC with a calculator.
However, there is a fallacy in this calculation because all it does is have Newcastle improve. Surely to see the full picture we should have a look at what all the clubs were up to in the second half of the season. After all, we have real results for all of them.
But there it is. Although based across the whole season except the first three games Arsenal come in third, based across the last 19 games arsenal are fifth, exactly as they finished up with the advantage of Newcastle’s early demise.
So what is to be done?
Newcastle had two blips in between their powerful run in the second half of the season. Three consecutive defeats in March / April against Chelsea, Everton and Tottenham. All three were away games. Then they lost the last two games of the season, at home to Liverpool and 5-0 away to Manchester City.
Arsenal meanwhile had two blips. Three defeats in March and April out of four games, and two defeats away at the end of the season to Tottenham and Newcastle. For Arsenal to come above Newcastle we need fewer blips than them.
So on this basis Newcastle have firmly planted themselves in the top six squeezing out Manchester United. And if Arsenal wish to jump back into the top four based on the form of the second half of the season, they have to do it by squeezing out at least one of their two blips. In fact, although the journalists away with the fairies tend to focus on just one Arsenal disaster period (the start of the season) there were actually five such.
So, looking at this second half of the season we can see four wanna-be clubs (three wanna-be themselves and one – Leciester – the eternal wanna-be of the journalistic classes) really not pulling up any trees.
|8||Brighton and Hove||19||7||7||5||26||23||3||28|
|11||West Ham United||19||7||4||8||28||27||1||25|
And indeed tucked away with the wanna-bes is Manchester United – an amazing 12th in the league on the basis of the second half of the season.
What we can expect through this whole transfer window is that the top six from the second half of last season, plus Manchester United, will be buying players to get into those four golden places.
So in the next article, we’ll have a look at who they have bought thus far.
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