Are Newcastle Utd and Sunderland AFC among the least threatening sides ever seen in the Premier League?

On the one hand, three shots on target in their first 270 minutes of football this season. On the other, two consecutive relegation’s, and a third straight season in League One . . .

A look at some of the bare statistics surrounding Newcastle United and Sunderland make the traditional description of the North East as the “hotbed” of football look a sick joke.

But if you delve deeper into their recent data, just how bad have things got for the region’s big two clubs?

Well, in terms of the recent history of the Premier League, we can give you the answer: worse than almost anywhere.

We have analysed the attacking stats of every club to have featured in the top flight for two or more of the last five seasons.

And by looking at four key statistics, we can measure just how far Newcastle have fallen as a front-foot team since the Alan Pardew era, let alone Kevin Keegan’s “Entertainers”.

Equally, the quality of football that Sunderland fans were forced to endure in their last two seasons in the top tier is laid bare by the same data.

This piece will look at four key statistics (average goals scored per game, average shots on target per game, average big chances created per game and average number of passes per game). These statistics have been added together and then divided by each team’s total number of seasons in the Premier League since the 2015/16 campaign to form a definitive total number.

  Average goals scored per gameAverage shots on target per gameAverage big chances created per gameAverage passes per gameTotal score
1stMan City2.46.42.3654.4166.4
6thManchester United1.65.11.5521.8132.5
16thWest Ham1.44.11.2399.9101.7
19thAston Villa0.93.50.9378.896
20thCrystal Palace1.13.71.137795.7
21stNewcastle United1.13.81.1366.593.1
24thWest Brom1.03.00.9327.283

As shown in the above table, out of the 24 teams who feature in the table, only Burnley (23rd) & West Brom (24th) keep Newcastle United (21st) and Sunderland (22nd) off the foot.

Interestingly it is not in the average goals scored per game category/big chances created or shots on target where Newcastle fall majorly short of the top ranked teams. The Toon Army score an average of 1.1 goals per game, create 3.8 big chances per game and record 1.1 shots on target per game. This isn’t too dissimilar from teams such as Swansea (8th), Bournemouth (10th) and Leicester (11th) who feature much higher up in the table.

It is more so in the average number of passes made per game which sees Newcastle so far down the table when it comes to entertainment. This is no surprise with Magpies fans now used to a “shut-up-shop approach”, not just against ‘The Big Six’ but the majority of the teams they play.

On average with only 366.5 passes per game, this is substantially lower than the likes of Wolves who after only two full seasons in the Premier League record an average of 439.2 passes per game. 

Moreover, it makes for grim reading the company United find themselves in with teams scoring less than 100 overall including the likes of Watford (17th), Stoke (18th), Aston Villa (19th), Sunderland (22nd) or West Brom (24th) either being relegated within the last five years or still in the Championship (or League One in the case of Sunderland).

This proves Newcastle United have sadly become one of the most boring sides to watch in the Premier League. How long until these numbers start to be reflected in their league position? Some would say this is beginning to show already, though Allan Saint Maximin has temporarily dispelled those fears after an influential performance in the Magpies victory before the international break.