Eddie Howe has made St James’ Park a fortress this season data shows

Source: Playmaker_EN, Twitter.

Newcastle have the meanest Premier League defence at home when it comes to goals conceded per game according to research by Playmaker Stats.

The data shows that at St James Park, the Magpies have conceded 0.55 goals per game which is better than teams such as Liverpool, Manchester United and Manchester City at their home grounds.

Eddie Howe has transformed the fortunes of Newcastle this season, with the team sitting third in the Premier League table at Christmas – as hopes of a European dream next season only begin to intensify.

The arrival of a new back five since Howe’s arrival has done all the difference, as Nick Pope, Kieran Trippier, Dan Burn and Sven Botman start most games together including Tuesday’s 1-0 Carabao Cup win against Bournemouth.

Only Fabian Schar, who was signed in 2018 and fell out of favour somewhat under previous head coach Steve Bruce, was at the club before Howe’s appointment in November last year.

But it seems to have done the trick, with the cohesive backline proving critical to Newcastle boasting the joint-best record in terms of goals conceded in the league: only leaders Arsenal have allowed 11 goals like the Magpies – and nobody has a better record so far.

Eyes turn to the transfer window and with the defense not seeming like a priority area, questions may be asked as to what Howe, Ashworth and the management structure now in place at the club want to do next month.

There are whispers the club want to bring in a backup to right-back Kieran Trippier, with his age at 32 not proving the best long-term solution.

It is hoped his leadership qualities can inspire the team for the short-to-medium-term in preparation for a transition in the spot looking ahead – with West Ham’s Harrison Ashby rumoured to fill the spot in years to come.

Either way it promises to be a bright future on Tyneside as the club hope to juggle league commitments with the prospect of winning their first major trophy since 1969, all while coaching a remarkable defensive record.