Sunday, 25 August 2013

Newcastle United 0 - 0 West Ham United

St James' Park

Newcastle United vs West Ham United

Two games played, two games unbeaten, no goals conceded, and only one save for Jussi Jääskeläinen to make. Yes, the season has pretty much gone to plan today.

A nil nil draw on Tyneside is always a good result, and, truth be told, West Ham never really looked in any bother. As Sam Allardyce said afterwards, we defended superbly throughout, and could, maybe should?, have taken all three points.

The defensive performance seems the best place to start.

James Collins and Winston Reid showed once again why James Tomkins is currently warming the bench. Nothing got by the pair, who were superb throughout.

But what impressed me about the defensive display, is the manner in which we pressed the ball. On occasion last season, our tactic away from home was more to sit and wait for the opposition to come on to us. This wasn't an attacking display from West Ham by any stretch of the imagination, but the desire to press and hassle the Newcastle backline was more than we have been used to.

The image below shows tackles made by West Ham. Firstly, 24 attempted tackles is a pretty high return (we only made 11 last week), and a success rate of 20 out of 24 is fantastic. What you can see though, is that there were few tackles in and around our box. For the most part, Newcastle were kept at an arms length, resorting to Hatem Ben Arfa attempting wayward long range effort after wayward long range effort.

Part of the positive defensive display came from the continued selection of Joey O'Brien at left back. Seen as something of a shock last week, more of us expected the Irishman to keep new signing Razvan Rat out of the side this weekend.

Once again, he was a rock at left back, and really impressed defensively. That said, I think a big downside to playing Joey at left back is that he doesn't seem comfortable enough to get up the flank and support the winger.

This leaves us a little lopsided offensively, and could be one of the reasons that Matt Jarvis continues to divide opinion.

O'Brien lack of attacking intent can be seen by passing decisions. O'Brien most commonly played the simple ball into Mark Noble. The image below shows O'Brien's attempted passes. As you can see, the regular option is often the square ball into the midfield.

Compare this to Guy Demel on the other flank. One of the highlights last season was Demel's positive relationship with Ricardo Vaz Te down the right flank. I was a little concerned that this might be lost this season with Vaz Te seemingly of less importance to the first team this term.

But last week he continually linked up with Joe Cole down the right, and this week his attacking intent was there for all to see. Demel was in constant tandem with Stewart Downing. In fact, in the first half, our top two pass combinations were Demel to Downing (8) and Downing to Demel (8).

Again, here is an image of the Ivorian's attempted passes against Newcastle. Although Demel also goes inside on occasion, he is far more likely to play the ball up the line, linking in with his winger. He is also more likely to be seen on the overlap and whipping the ball into the box.

The final point I'd like to bring up, is how nice it was to see Ravel Morrison make his long awaited Premier League debut. Plenty of of hold high hopes for the young midfielder, and after his spectacular preseason form, it's fantastic to see him being rewarded with first team minutes.

Although Morrison only spent 15 minutes on the pitch, he really impressed. He created a chance for Joe Cole, and his deflected shot led to Modibo Maiga's offside strike. But what really impressed about Ravel's cameo appearance, was that he wasn't afraid to get stuck straight into the defensive side of the game too.

He made three clearances, and one interception in his short appearance, meaning he averaged a defensive action less than every four minutes. Maybe that's what they should be talking about on Match of the Day instead of his fashion choices?

The image below shows Morrison's action zones. Okay, so it was a brief appearance, and maybe I am getting a bit ahead of myself, but it's exciting to see that he popped up all over the pitch getting involved in the game. Should Mohamed Diamé's contract situation fail to be resolved over the course of the next 18 months or so, maybe we have a replacement waiting in the wings? I guess we'll find out more as the season goes on!

So, a solid away display. It's very pleasing to have a side that won't crumble under pressure these days. As a defender myself, I've always enjoyed seeing a solid back four, and Demel, Collins, Reid & O'Brien are certainly that.

I'd like to see us attack a bit more away from home, but if we carry on this form, we'll probably win the league!

4-4-2 Formation 4-2-3-1
(59.44) Tim Krul - Jussi Jääskeläinen (58.99)
(63.02) Mathieu Debuchy - Guy Demel (60.81)
(64.93) Fabricio Coloccini - James Collins (62.79)
(64.58) Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa - Winston Reid (62.50)
(65.42) Davide Santon - Joey O'Brien (60.30)
(59.50) Hatem Ben Arfa - Mark Noble (67.58)
(59.25) Moussa Sissoko - Mohamed Diamé (61.58)
(67.02) Vurnon Anita - Stewart Downing (60.32)
(61.40) Sylvain Marveaux - Kevin Nolan (59.67)
(57.63) Shola Ameobi - Matt Jarvis (61.14)
(57.65) Papiss Cissé - Modibo Maïga (59.89)

(-) Yoann Gouffran - Joe Cole (61.50)
(62.21) Sammy Ameobi - Ravel Morrison (-)

Best Performance
(67.02) Vurnon Anita - Mark Noble (67.58)

Worst Performance
(57.63) Shola Ameobi - Jussi Jääskeläinen (58.99)

General Play
55% Possession 45%

415 Passes Attempted 320
Vurnon Anita 66 Most Attempted 60 Mark Noble

78% Passing Accuracy 70%
68% In Opp. Half 53%
Fabricio Coloccini 92% Best Accuracy 83% Joe Cole

52 Long Balls 44
Vurnon Anita 7 Most Long Balls (excl. GK) 10 James Collins

Most Frequent Pass Combination
Anita to Ben Arfa 12 - 13 Demel to Downing

 27 Aerial Duels Won 21 
 56% Success 44% 
Mathieu Debucy 7 Most Won 10 Modibo Maïga

Vurnon Anita 75 Most Touches 70 Mark Noble

 Offensive Play 
16 Attempts on Goal 6
0 On Target 1
14 Off Target 3
2 Blocked 2
9 From Outside the Box 1
Hatem Ben Arfa 5 Most Shots 1 Ravel Morrison

15 Key Passes 4
Sylvain Marveaux 7 Most Key Passes 1 Ravel Morrison

30 Crosses 23
Mathieu Debuchy 7 Most Attempted 10 Matt Jarvis

6 Successful Crosses 4
20% Success 17%
Sylvain Marveaux 4 Most Successful 2 Guy Demel

 Defensive Play 
17 Tackles Attempted 24
14 Successful Tackles 20
82% Success 83%
Shola Ameobi 3 Most Tackle 5 Guy Demel

31 Clearances 41
Davide Santon 9 Most Clearances 11 Winston Reid

9 Interceptions 5
Mathieu Debuchy 5 Most Interceptions 2 James Collins

2 Shot Blocks 2
Vurnon Anita 2 Most Shot Blocks 2 James Collins

0 6yrd Blocks 1
 0 Most 6yrd Blocks 1 Winston Reid

 12 Fouls 15 
6 Most Fouls 5

0 Yellow Cards 1
Newcastle United:     
West Ham United:  Joey O'Brien   

0 Red Cards 0
Newcastle United:     
West Ham United:     

 Head to Heads 
Tim Krul vs Jussi Jääskeläinen
0 Goals Conceded 0
1 Saves 0
2 Crosses Claimed 2

32 Total Passes 14
17 Accurate Passes 5
53% Success 36%

25 Long Balls 14
78% % 100%

2 Throw Outs 6
3 Kick from Hand 1

0 Errors Leading to Shot 0
0 Errors Leading to Goal 0

Shola Ameobi 7 Most Passed To 10 Modibo Maïga

Fabricio Coloccini vs James Collins
5 Aerial Duels 10
3 Duels Won 3
60% Success 30%
2 Tackles Attempted 3
2 Tackles Completed 3
100% Success 100%
4 Clearances 11
1 Interceptions 2
0 Blocks 2
- 6yrd Blocks -
0 Errors Leading to Shot 0
0 Errors Leading to Goal 0
38 Passes Attempted 31
35 Successful 14
92% Success 45%
Vurnon Anita 6 Most Passed To 7 Mark Noble

Vurnon Anita vs Mark Noble
66 Passes Attempted 60
57 Successful 49
86% Success 82%
3 Key Passes 0
0 Assists 0
0 Attempts on Goal 0
0 On Target 0
0 Goals 0
2 Tackles Attempted 4
2 Tackles Completed 4
100% Success 100%
1 Clearances 2
1 Interceptions 0
2 Blocks 0
- 6yrd Blocks -
0 Errors Leading to Shot 0
0 Errors Leading to Goal 0
Hatem Ben Arfa 12 Most Passed To 10 Mohamed Diamé

Papiss Cissé vs Modibo Maïga
0 Attempts on Goal 1
0 On Target 0
0 Goals 0
1 Key Passes 0
0 Assists 0
18 Passes Attempted 23
14 Successful 15
78% Success 65%
4 Aerial Duels 18
2 Duels Won 10
50% Success 56%
Shola Ameobi 4 Most Passed To 4 Kevin Nolan

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