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Helping Hands 2015/2016 18/05/2016

Posted by Matt Rowson in Thoughts about things.

So here we are.  In a ritual that may not serve any other purpose than mentally drawing a line under the season for me, I’ve again gone through match reports and video clips and compiled a table depicting where exactly our goals came from in the campaign jus gone.  As ever,  unlike scoring of goals and despite any suggestions to the contrary there is no undisputed definition of what an assist IS. I’ve applied the same definition as in previous years, and it’s broad and generous…  the last pass, obviously, but also the shot that was parried for a follow-up, being taken down for a penalty, both the flick-on to a cross AND the cross itself, and so on.

It’s a detail too frequently overlooked that the fixture list congestion thing only really affects the clubs in European competition in what is, in my head, still a “new” bloated and self-serving format.  Being on BT Sport has rendered the Champions League even less relevant… it gets mentioned on the radio occasionally, but gets filed with rugby and cricket and other irrelevance in terms of the attention I can offer it.  Anyway… cup run or no, we played only 44 games this season as compared to 49 last and against significantly stronger opposition with an altogether more frugal – however successful – approach.  As such… fewer goals, and a less exciting table.

A table that, nonetheless, tells a few stories particularly well.  The most striking detail is how the names dominating the assists table in the same way that they dominated the goals scored column reflects our attacking approach – a solid midfield, very little pace or width, everything going through the front two – almost entirely. Only Ben Watson’s two goals, Seb Prodl’s two goals and Almen Abdi’s free kick against Villa – four of the five set pieces – involved neither an assist nor a finishing touch from Ighalo or Deeney.

The same story is told by the paucity of contributions from other sources. José Manuel Jurado’s lack of contribution in this regard has often, not unreasonably, been used as a stick to beat him with, but the penalty he earned against Sunderland – soft or otherwise, he had at least attacked the box to draw the foul – was his third.  That’s three more than the traditionally reliable Almen Abdi, like Jurado fielded in an awkward and unflattering wide position, but worth remembering that he only got three last season, too.  Mario Suárez is another who failed to register, whilst Etienne Capoue’s unreliably excellent contributions only earned him a single tick at St James’ Park.

Otherwise, the most startling detail probably results from a somewhat anomalous game in the League Cup at Deepdale that saw five names make their only starts of the season.  Amongst these were Matej Vydra, Gabriele Angella and Fernando Forestieri, who jump out of the list as if left over from a bygone age.  But also Connor Smith, whose 55 minutes represent the only on-pitch contribution from an Academy graduate in 2015-16.

Will return soon with the End of Term Report.  Enjoy the summer…

Assists Apps Gls Assists vs
Deeney 11 41+2 15 Eve (A), Swa (H), New (A), AsV (A), Nor (H), Liv (H), Tot (H), New (H), Ars (A – FAC), Ars (A – FAC), Nor (A)
Ighalo 7 38+4 17 Sto (A), Sto (A), MaU (H), AsV (A), Nor (H), New (H), AsV (H)
Jurado 3 29+1 0 Che (A), CrP (FAC), Sun (H)
Berghuis 2 1+10 0 WHU (A), AsV (H)
Guedioura 2 6+17 1 WBA (A), Sun (H)
Anya 2 18+15 0 WHU (H), Sto (H)
Watson 2 37+4 2 AsV (A), Lee (H – FAC)
Paredes 1 9+11 0 Lei (A)
Holebas 1 13 0 Eve (H)
Behrami 1 15+7 0 Liv (H)
Aké 1 24+4 1 WHU (H)
Nyom 1 33+3 0 Sun (A)
Capoue 1 36 0 New (A)
Diamanti 0 0+3 0
Ibarbo 0 0+4 0
Angella 0 1 0
Forestieri 0 1 0
Smith 0 1 0
Vydra 0 1 0
Arlauskis 0 1+1 0
Oularé 0 1+2 0
Layún 0 3+1 1
Pantilimon 0 4 0
Amrabat 0 6+9 0
Suárez 0 9+8 0
Prödl 0 22+2 2
Britos 0 27 0
Abdi 0 29+9 2
Gomes 0 39 0
Cathcart 0 39+1 1

Check out the 2014-152013-142012-132011-12, 2010-112009-102008-09 and 2007-08 equivalents by clicking on the links.




1. Simon - 18/05/2016

You’re right that this neatly highlights the style of play.

It also shows up quite how poor our set pieces have been this year, both in terms of delivery and finishing when we did manage to get the ball past the first man (Britos, in particular appeared to get onto quite a lot without ever really looking as though they were going to end up in the net).

2. HornetFez - 19/05/2016

Is Holebas not worthy of an assist for his chalked off goal against Everton?

Matt Rowson - 19/05/2016

You’re quite right. In my head it was Holebas’ goal. Duly amended.

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