With the EFL releasing their team of the season over the weekend, it got me thinking – looking at some of the players that have been included, how have some of Newcastle United’s top-performing stars failed to make the cut.
The first player is a very obvious one which was even picked up on by the official Newcastle United Twitter account, this is obviously Ciaran Clark, our rock at the back for pretty much all of this season.
Clark has made 32 appearances this season and makes over nine clearances a game on average. For a team that has struggled defensively so much in recent years, this is an excellent statistic for Clark. What makes Clark’s season even more amazing is that his signing was frowned upon by the majority of supporters in the summer (myself included). However, he has proven all his critics wrong and has gone on to be a strong contender for our player of the season.
Who should he replace you are asking? In my opinion it should be Clark for Jansson. This is purely because Clark has made more appearances so it is easier to judge him consistently, he has 14 clean sheets to his name this season while also chipping in with thtree goals, whereas Jansson has only the 12 clean sheets to his name with the same amount of goals as Clark.
In the one meeting between the sides, Newcastle won 2-0, with Clark keeping a clean sheet and Jansson conceding two goals. This was with Clark being up against Chris Wood who is now the top goal scorer in the league. Clark is also a lot smarter in his tackles with many perfectly timed tackles and blocks this season. This reflects in only three bookings all season. On the other hand Jansson has 12 bookings to his name which means he has missed a minimum of 3 games through suspension which cost his team in terms of points being achieved.
The second player that could’ve potentially been included in the team of the season is Matt Ritchie. Ritchie has undoubtedly been one of our best players this season and, although he had a dip in form just before Shelvey was suspended, I believe that ever since then he has stepped up when we needed him in many crucial games.
He gives us something else in a winger. He isn’t a wide man that will sprint past defenders and get to the byline. He will find a neat pass, get a good cross into the box and he has scored his fair share of goals this season. However, in the formation that the EFL have chosen to go with, it is difficult to fit him into the team. The only player he could replace in the midfield would be Aaron Mooy.
Ritchie has scored nine goals in the league this season, created 74 chances for his team mates and has got seven assists. These statistics alone show that Ritchie deserves to be in the team ahead of Mooy. Mooy has played in every game for Huddersfield in the league this season apart from one, yet he has still only managed three goals, 75 chances created and five assists. When you look at the stats that matter like these ones, it really makes you wonder who picks these teams.
The final player I felt had a chance of maybe getting into the team of the season is extremely controversial. He is the one player in our squad that causes the most debate and argument over whether he should play or not. Obviously I am talking about Paul Dummett.
Before people start complaining and saying I have no idea what I am talking about, hear me out.
Paul Dummett is an okay defender. I know, that is something most people don’t want to read and won’t agree with. However, if you look at some stats it is difficult to argue with what I have just said. Paul Dummett has made numerous last ditch slide tackles against wingers who have been seen as ‘great players’ in this league. For example, Knockaert and Costa both did nothing against Paul Dummett and these two players are seen as two of the best wingers in the league.
I know Dummett has had his errors this season, however these have only became major talking points in the past few weeks. Baring in mind Dummett is having to play with an injury and is receiving pain relief injections before every game just so he can play,I do believe that if Dummett had been picked in the team of the season nobody could have complained about the defensive qualities he has showcased throughout the campaign.
Along with his defensive qualities he has created 24 chances this season, which is the same amount as Diame, more than Atsu, more than Colback and also more than Anita. So, is Dummett really that bad of a player when you consider what he is in the team to do? The answer, for me, is an unequivocal no.