Flying excessive however lacking huge possibilities: Do Newcastle want to fret in Champions League chase?

Sixth minute: Joe Willock performs a one-two with Bruno Guimaraes and gallops away down the left, previous a flailing Joel Ward. A low, pushed cross seems the almost certainly choice; as a substitute, Willock hangs a ball up on the again put up. Miguel Almiron, Newcastle’s high scorer this season, arrives at velocity — and slices a troublesome volley large of aim.

Newcastle United are flying excessive however lacking possibilities.

Saturday night’s 0-0 draw with Crystal Palace was their third assembly with the south London aspect this season — and all three have ended goalless. The mixed anticipated targets (xG) numbers from these matches are 5.5-1.5 in Newcastle’s favour.

Their figures in opposition to Palace are a microcosm of Newcastle’s broader scoring difficulties, with just one aim of their previous 4 Premier League video games. So, is it time to fret?

In accordance with Opta, Newcastle have missed the third-most huge possibilities within the league (36), behind solely Liverpool (44) and Manchester Metropolis (37). Eddie Howe’s aspect have additionally hit the woodwork 12 occasions, stage with Liverpool for many within the division.

In opposition to Fulham final weekend, when Alexander Isak scored within the 89th minute to ship a 1-0 win, Newcastle acquired away with it. On Saturday, they did not.

twentieth minute: Fabian Schar drives out of protection, immediately wanting as much as discover he has entered the Palace penalty space. He slides in Joelinton, who cuts inside onto his proper foot, trying to place the ball to Vicente Guaita’s left. He can solely dribble a shot alongside the ground into the Spanish goalkeeper’s arms.

This could, after all, be tempered with optimism.

In relative phrases, Newcastle are scoring extra typically than at any time in current reminiscence. After 20 video games of the 2022-23 league season, they’ve 33 targets and sit fourth; on the similar level within the earlier one, their whole was 20 and so they had been second-bottom. They’re additionally unbeaten in 15 league video games — with Howe the primary English supervisor to attain that within the division this century.

However Newcastle’s enchancment because the takeover in October 2021 has been sooner than anybody would have imagined. Champions League qualification for subsequent season is now a really actual risk, with a six-point hole to fifth-place Tottenham (Spurs face Fulham on Monday so might reduce that lead in half, however they are going to then have performed a sport greater than Newcastle) .

When that is the type of firm Newcastle are maintaining, expectations will naturally shift. So goalscoring frustrations—turning attracts like this into wins—are their new actuality.

thirty fifth minute: A nook by some means makes its method by means of to the again put up. Joelinton spins, cocks his proper foot and cracks a snapshot in the direction of aim. It deflects off Tyrick Mitchell’s arm, from too shut and shifting too quick to be a penalty, and is pushed away by Guaita.

Newcastle have solely misplaced eleven within the league this season — cruelly, to a 98th-minute winner away to Liverpool in August — however have drawn 9 occasions, the joint-most together with Brentford.

Away to league leaders Arsenal three weeks in the past, Newcastle defended brilliantly, however Joelinton missed one of the best probability of the match — an unmarked back-post header simply earlier than half-time. The match ended goalless.

Three days earlier, by means of the driving rain at dwelling to Leeds United, Sean Longstaff sliced ​​over from 15 yards when one-on-one with Illan Meslier. One other 0-0 draw.

The identical participant missed comparable possibilities in opposition to Leicester and Fulham, within the Carabao Cup and league respectively, although Newcastle ultimately got here by means of to win each video games.

That was not the case within the FA Cup loss to third-division Sheffield Wednesday, the place Isak and Jacob Murphy missed golden possibilities to offer Newcastle the lead and doubtlessly keep away from a 3rd straight third-round exit (and sixth in 10 years).

In accordance with, solely three of Newcastle’s senior attacking choices — Almiron, Guimaraes and Allan Saint-Maximin — are outperforming their xG this season. Callum Wilson, who has not scored since October, is the largest underperformer with six targets from an xG of 8.38, carefully adopted by midfielders Joelinton, Willock and Longstaff.

Newcastle xG totals

gamers targets scored xG distinction

Miguel Almirón




callum wilson




alexander isak




Bruno Guimaraes








Joe Willock




Allan Saint Maximin




Jacob Murphy




Sean Longstaff




forty sixth minute: Longstaff is performed by means of by a intelligent reverse go from Guimaraes. He seems up, offered with the choice of pulling it again or flashing a shot throughout aim. He opts for the latter and sees teammate Willock overwhelmed by crimson and blue shirts.

Howe has a call to make.

The Carabao Cup semi-final first leg away to Southampton tomorrow is Newcastle’s largest sport of the season thus far — a gathering with the aspect at the moment backside of the Premier League that may be a probability to achieve the membership’s first main ultimate since 1999, to get inside 90 minutes of a primary main home trophy for 68 years.

Wilson has been Howe’s first alternative up entrance all season, however with the £60million shadow of fit-again summer time signing Isak looming on the bench (the Swede has scored three targets in his 5 league appearances for the membership), his place should now be in danger.

Isak had been introduced again gently from a September thigh harm, not enjoying greater than 45 minutes of soccer in any of his previous 4 appearances throughout all competitions. Howe might even see this semi-final as an opportunity to take the stabilizers off.

“(Wilson) has had restricted coaching time,” he stated after the Palace sport, requested whether or not he was apprehensive concerning the England striker’s kind. “He is clearly come again from the World Cup. He had an sickness. And that at all times impacts your sharpness, no matter place.”

eightieth minute: Kieran Trippier will get to the byline and hangs a ball as much as Isak 9 yards out. The striker will get a transparent header on aim. But it surely’s straight at Guaita.

Going into this weekend’s matches, Newcastle had scored 34.6 per cent of their huge possibilities this season, the seventh-worst within the league. Palace had been high in that metric, scoring with half of theirs. Regardless of dominating the sport, the worry was at all times that Palace would take their one huge probability.

PL huge probability conversion desk

And within the 73rd minute, that chance appeared to have arrived.

Jean-Philippe Mateta, freshly on from the bench, had the ball bobble by means of to him from Odsonne Edouard’s driving run.

He caught his shot cleanly, crisply, however Nick Pope, having been barely referred to as upon all sport, and though he was unsighted by the sizeable presences of Schar and Sven Botman, by some means parried it away along with his proper hand. With 12, Pope has the second-most clear sheets this season of all goalkeepers in Europe’s high 5 leagues, one behind Barcelona’s Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

“We have to again ourselves to take some possibilities,” Pope later advised Sky Sports activities. “We could be proud of three-quarters of the pitch however it’s the opposition field the place we have to make our possibilities rely and we did not at present.”

82nd minute: Newcastle have 15 corners at Selhurst Park and common 7.2 per sport — essentially the most within the Premier League this season. On this one, Schar sprints to the close to put up to attempt to get a header however his try at a flick is just too heavy. Because it loops into the Whitehorse Street Stand, the Swiss defender casts his eyes skywards, whereas gesticulating in frustration.

Newcastle could attain the top of the season, miss out on a top-four end — and the Champions League place it could carry — by a degree, and look again at video games like this. Probabilities clearly matter. However underperforming their xG doesn’t essentially put paid to their European possibilities.

The final three Premier League groups to achieve the Champions League having not certified the earlier yr all underperformed their xG.

xG report of latest UCL groups

xG over/underperformance

Newcastle 22-23*


Tottenham 21-22


Manchester United 19-20


Chelsea 18-19


Manchester United 17-18


Chelsea 16-17


Liverpool 16-17


Final season, Tottenham pipped Arsenal to fourth regardless of scoring six targets lower than they had been anticipated to — their underperformance was nearly precisely the identical quantity as Newcastle’s thus far this season.

Solely Chelsea’s title-winning aspect of 2016-17, led by the sharp ending of 20-goal Diego Costa, buck the development considerably.

89th minute: Saint-Maximin, who might need anticipated to start out however for Guimaraes’ remarkably swift restoration from the ankle harm that compelled him off in opposition to Fulham, has an opportunity to be a hero. A cross finds its approach to the again put up, the place he elects to take a contact somewhat than try a troublesome shot first time. It is too heavy. Purpose kick. The match ends 0-0.

Howe did sound apprehensive after Chris Wooden’s surprising transfer to Nottingham Forest final week, saying on Friday that his aspect can be “dangerously quick” in the event that they failed to interchange him. the membership are Pursuing a flexible attacking participant earlier than subsequent Tuesday night time’s switch deadline, with their January window efforts beforehand having targeted on a No 6 and younger right-back.

“You at all times need choices,” Howe says. “We’re eager to carry a participant in, for certain. However there is no assure that may occur.”

Whereas he waits, Newcastle are quick on choices however replete with spirit; the antithesis of a bloated Tottenham assault, of a drained Liverpool midfield.

They’re scoring extra and conceding much less. There can be different video games the place possibilities go Newcastle by—that’s the problem of their new elevated place. However at this level on their journey, now will not be the time to fret.

(High photograph: Craig Mercer/MB Media/Getty Pictures)


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