Pulis pips Pardew to Premier League long ball title: The full table

Posted on June 6th, 2013 | 55 Comments |

Alan Pardew head in hands.
Doh! I’ve lost again!
Below you will find my final report for the 2012-13 season on Alan Pardew’s long balls.

It has been a long journey which started in the first few games of the season. Although Pardew has always been something of an old school “route one” manager, I noticed from watching the games early in the season against teams such as Aston Villa, Everton, Norwich and Reading that things started to get even worse this season, and my suspicions were confirmed when I found in my first report (made 11 games into the season) that with 17.7% of their total passes being over 25 yards, Newcastle were indeed the biggest long ball side in the Premier League, ahead of Reading, who were then managed by Pardew protege, Brian “long balls” McDermott.

As I made further reports, Newcastle United maintained their lead, until now. In true Pardew style however, the performance declined in the final stages and Pardew eventually lost out to the kings of “Route One” football, Tony Pulis’s Stoke City (yes, I know he’s gone now), who sneaked up on the back stretch, eventually claiming the title for this season with an overall long ball percentage of 16.2%. In the final countdown, Pardew’s Newcastle could manage third with 15.6%, with the aforementioned Reading sneaking back into second place with a long ball percentage of 15.7%.

Though this is my final report for the season, I will still be watching Pardew like a hawk to see if this slight decline in Newcastle United’s reliance on long ball football continues.

Long balls vs long ball percentages.

Since I started probing Pardew’s long balls, it has come to my attention that quite a few others have jumped on the bandwagon, including the Sun. In that story, they proclaimed that Newcastle are still the biggest long ball side with 2283 long passes over 25 yards over the course of the season. Though this figure is indeed correct according to OPTA stats, I found out very early in my observations that merely counting the amount of long balls played by each team throughout the season is erroneous and doesn’t really tell us who is using long balls as a tactic and to what degree. Through this method, Newcastle United are still the highest here, having played a total of 2283 passes over 25 yards over the course of last season. However, which teams are using route one as a tactic is to measure them as a percentage of total passes played.

Let me explain. At the risk of stating the bloomin’ obvious, tippy tappy “passing” sides like Arsenal pass the ball more, making many more passes throughout a game whether they are short passes or longer ones, which skews the results. If you only measure it this way, to pick an example, this would make Swansea City a bigger long ball side than Stoke! If you know anything about Swansea’s and Stoke’s respective styles of play, you will know that this is absolute nonsense. Hence, to measure how much (or how little) teams use long balls as a tactic, including Newcastle United, I had to guage it on the percentage of long balls played rather than they lazy and deceptive method of merely recording the amount.

So with all of that explainaton out of the way, and without further ado, may I present the final long ball table for the 2012-13 Premier League season!

Premiership long ball table 2012-13.
1 Stoke City 38 12286 1989 1020 51.3% 52.3 16.2%
2 Reading 38 11795 1856 875 47.1% 48.8 15.7%
3 Newcastle United 38 14598 2283 1250 54.8% 60.1 15.6%
4 West Ham United 38 12571 1901 962 50.6% 50.0 15.1%
5 Norwich City 38 13395 1995 849 42.6% 52.5 14.9%
6 Sunderland 38 13108 1952 982 50.3% 51.4 14.9%
7 Aston Villa 38 14236 1892 979 51.7% 49.8 13.3%
8 Queens Park Rangers 38 13635 1800 897 49.8% 47.4 13.2%
9 West Bromwich Albion 38 14357 1888 1002 53.1% 49.7 13.2%
10 Everton 38 15814 2042 1138 55.7% 53.7 12.9%
11 Fulham 38 17936 2259 1304 57.7% 59.4 12.6%
12 Tottenham Hotspur 38 16647 2028 1218 60.1% 53.4 12.2%
13 Wigan Athletic 38 17927 2046 1307 63.9% 53.8 11.4%
14 Chelsea 38 18469 2007 1181 58.8% 52.8 10.9%
15 Southampton 38 16812 1826 885 48.5% 48.1 10.9%
16 Liverpool 38 19835 2043 1366 66.9% 53.8 10.3%
17 Swansea City 38 19943 2024 1297 64.1% 53.3 10.1%
18 Manchester United 38 19687 1969 1325 67.3% 51.8 10.0%
19 Arsenal 38 21112 1754 1135 64.7% 46.2 08.3%
20 Manchester City 38 20060 1611 1072 66.5% 42.4 08.0%
TP – Total Passes.
TLB – Total Long Balls.
ALB – Accurate Long Balls.
ALB% – Accurate Long Ball Percentage.
LBG – Average Long Balls per Game.
LB% – Long Ball Percentage.
Red – Highest.
Blue – Lowest.

The NUFC Blog long ball scale ©™

07% – 12% – Arsene Wenger. A tippy-tappy passing side who more or less completely eschew the long ball game.
12% – 15% – David Moyes. A mixed side who are somewhere in the middle.
15% – 25% – Tony Pulis and Fat Sam on a mortar firing range. A full on long ball side who positively embrace “route one” football.


NUFCBlog Author: workyticket workyticket has written 1093 articles on this blog.

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55 Responses

  1. Solidly presented as always, but I believe you’re not telling us anything we don’t know at this point!

    What I’m trying to make sense of is that poll with Colo as player of the season. Down to mackems or deluded Geordies? Seriously. It was his second-worst season with us.

  2. tunc I aint a mackem but as a very long term supporter of the Toon I suppose I could be classified as deluded. :)

    I voted for Collo on the basis that it was during his absence that we fell apart defensively and only managed to get some semblance of defence on his return. Just enough to keep us up as it happened.

  3. Grumpy Old-Toon says:
    June 6, 2013 at 8:33 pm

    “I voted for Collo on the basis that it was during his absence that we fell apart defensively and only managed to get some semblance of defence on his return. Just enough to keep us up as it happened.”

    Aye Grumpy, that was one of the things seized on by Pardew in one of his many excuse crusades though. He made sure that we all knew about it.

  4. Worky, that really only highlights his own failings. Any team that has to depend on a single player to save the day only accentuates the lack of good coaching and management. He ought to know when to keep his mouth shut rather than keep kicking himself in it.

  5. The Bilderburg Group of the world’s richest and most powerful are meeting in Watford. I can imagine them meeting at somewhere like Gstaad or Monte Carlo but friggin’ WATFORD? WTF?

  6. They should hold all their meetings in a hollowed out volcano, stroking white Persian pussies in large futuristic armchairs. Kissinger’s there, and Murdoch will be too.

  7. tunyc says:
    June 6, 2013 at 8:04 pm

    “Solidly presented as always, but I believe you’re not telling us anything we don’t know at this point!”

    Well admittedly, I have rammed Pardew’s long balls down people’s throats but when I started, I simply couldn’t believe that no-one else could see what was in front of their eyes, and some were actually believing Pardew’s bollocks about bringing entertaining football to Noocarssel. Anyway, it’s certainly done it’s job when even the Stun are writing about it, and they’re even gannin’ down a bit now so maybe it’s even given Pardew himself a bit of a nudge in the right direction.

  8. Well done Bolton fans on stopping their club being associated with QuickQuid. Nice of their chairman Phil Gartside too for listening ‘We don’t want our commercial relationships to come between us and our community.’

  9. Things could come to a head for Wonga and other loan sharks in April next year.

    In the meantime, It’s always a good idea to click on Wonga ppc (pay per click) ads as well as those for other loan sharks as it costs them money when you do. :-)

  10. Good owld Pards, He wasn’t even good enough to win the Long Ball Championship, And came third!
    Tony Pulis has won it, And still got the sack!, There’s something wrong there lol.

    I want to know who voted for Shola Amoebi, For player of the Season?, I dont want to start sniping at “The Fenham Eusabio”, But he didn’t play that much!

    So the Illuminati is in Watford of all places!, Is there a big Freemason Temple, In the vicinity?
    If anyone sees a lot of middle aged men wearing red robes, And burning a huge wooden owl, Don’t Panic!
    I wonder what the upshot of the meeting will be?
    More Genetically Modified, Frankenstein foods, Foisted onto Humanity!, More F.E.M.A camps, And the continued “War On Terra”, Yes the Planet!
    Lets carry on destabilizing the Arab states until we have a good base of operation to attack Iran.
    Right see you in two years time!, And i’m off to watch the Television, With a load of tin foil wrapped aroond me heed lol.

  11. Some time ago, I expressed suspicions that Mike Ashley was employing online “sock puppets” or “astroturfers” using multiple identities on Newcastle United sites to shape opinion about Ashley amongst fans. Alas, I never came up with enough concrete proof to bolster my suspicions.

    However, Wonga HAVE been doing some very naughty things online and that isn’t a matter of opinion, it’s a matter of fact as they’ve been found out.

    Wonga employees have been caught regularly editing out bits which might seen as less than positive in their Wikipedia entry, with editors like myself often having to undo dodgy edits and so on…

    They were also forced to apologise when a Wonga employee was caught posting online attacks on Walthamstow MP, Stella Creasy, referring to her as “mental”, “nuts” and a “self-serving ego-maniac” due to Creasy raising concerns about Wonga and the Payday loans industry in general.

    Also, the cases of people who have never used Wonga having their accounts being cleaned out by them due to identity fraud caused by Wonga’s slack security procedures is now reaching epidemic proportions and has beocme a major crisis.

    This is only going to get worse and it is hardly going to help the reputation of Newcastle United over the next few years.

  12. Worky, Ashley and his cronies don’t think nothing of dragging the name of Newcastle United, Through the mud.
    They are a bunch of classless morons, Who are the only type of guttersnipes, Who would get involved with a bunch of sharks, Like them.

    That fat tosser can employ as many spin merchants as he likes, He’ll never change my opinion of him, The fat leech!
    So if he does read these kind of blogs to gauge opinion of him, HERE’S A NICE BIG F**K OFF, FAT BOY, FROM ME!

  13. As usual, other teams starting to sign players already but we have not. This is going to be a long three months.

  14. Phisix, We all know what will happen with these toerags!
    How long will it be before they start backtracking, And saying the majority of their shopping was done in January?
    And how Ben Arfa being fit is like a new signing!

  15. Grumpy @4-fair enough. I appreciate that your take.

    That, though, is balanced for me by the fact that he tried to force his way out-to a club without any ability to pay a fee for him. Couple that with his so-so performance, suspension and injuries and I can’t see him as player of the season. Ba, Cisse (not prolific but timely) and Krul were the only candidates for me.

    On a somewhat different subject, I was actually most impressed this season by Bigirimana and Marveaux.

  16. Looks like Cabaye wants out and seems open to move anywhere, how long is he on contract for? I’d take £20m!

  17. Well guys, I’ve enjoyed the banter, unbiased views and general wisdom, but the telegraph is a terrible newspaper and I’m tired of reading the shit it publishes, so I’m off to bury my head and just follow my club. Ciao and kerp up the good work!

  18. It’s all over newsnow and there are quotes of him saying he would be keen on UTD. IMO he was average this year and his corners hit the first man almost half of the time.

  19. maze: hmph. Thought he’d be a fit for United-he reminds me of a young Paul Scholes if Scholes could tackle. Can’t go too far in rationalizing the loss ahead of time myself, though. He’s still the most complete and valuable player in this squad. He really did have a hellish year of work before the beginning of this season and I commented here as early as the first 5 games or so that he looked fatigued. Then there’s all the long balls he launched, which I seriously doubt was his own idea. IF he does go to Utd, don’t be surprised if he’s absolutely dominant there, scores 10+ goals a season and racks up a gang of medals…

  20. Pete Nufc says:
    June 7, 2013 at 5:47 pm

    “Well guys, I’ve enjoyed the banter, unbiased views and general wisdom, but the telegraph is a terrible newspaper and I’m tired of reading the shit it publishes, so I’m off to bury my head and just follow my club. Ciao and kerp up the good work!”

    Eh, Pete? You’re not going to read anything just because you don’t like the Torygraph? If you just mean the NE football section, that’s Luke Edwards. Say no more.

  21. tunyc says:
    June 7, 2013 at 9:11 pm

    “He really did have a hellish year of work before the beginning of this season and I commented here as early as the first 5 games or so that he looked fatigued.”

    tunyc, you sound as bad as Pardew! There are lots of players who played more games than Cabaye, and in international competitions. I’m not saying you’re definitely wrong though. The problem is Pardewball and how draining it is running up and down the pitch chasing the friggin’ ball. It tiring enough just watching it!

    The best teams whose players are always playing in Europe, and in Internationals play better football and in better football you let the ball do the work. When it’s like that it’s common to see these ‘blue ribbon’ players like Ronaldo and Messi knock off 50-60 games in a season then toddle off to play in the European championships or the Copa America. It’s probably easier for them to play those 60 games of football than it would be for them to play half as many games of Pardewball.

  22. wt: ouch, don’t like being compared to that charlatan in any way!

    I’m going by Cabaye’s own description-he said he was already mentally and physically drained when this season began. I know guys are capable of playing as much as him and more but it’s also within the realm of possibility to get fatigued. Otherwise, how do you explain the dip in form? Random chance? Possible. I’m sure we can agree he didn’t just forget how to play football for several months. Pardew’s coaching certainly played its part as did the form of the team-the pointless running is bad enough but it’s also gotta be hard to get up for taking part in the shower of crap we were subjected to last term. The positive atmosphere at more successful teams probably helps their players to maintain performance despite fatigue/minor injuries. Just a guess.

  23. Ain’t been on in a while @worky is there any truth is cisse going anzhi? WE NEED SOME STRIKERS BADLY!

    Anyway im off to argentina for couple weeks on monday so can relax and forget that complete garbage season!

  24. Anyone else getting worried about City and Chelsea buying or soon to be buying all of these star players. Meanwhile teams
    like us will just get pushed further down the league.

  25. Another example of the bollocks we get from the newspapers. Not about newcastle United this time but Swansea City.

    They have been glibly reporting that Michael Laudrup has demanded £200 million for transfers and is on the brink of walking out of Swansea because he isn’t getting it, despite Laudrup himself saying that he has no intention of leaving.

    It comes from an interview in his native Denmark where he said he was looking for around 200 million Danish krone to spruce up a thin squad.

    That’s just over £20 million, just a bit more than Newcastle United spent in Januuary.

  26. danny b says:
    June 7, 2013 at 10:48 pm

    “Ain’t been on in a while @worky is there any truth is cisse going anzhi?”

    Well I haven’t seen anything convincing about it and I believe that Newcastle United have denied it. Then again, Derek Llambias does lie alot.

    “Anyway im off to argentina for couple weeks on monday so can relax and forget that complete garbage season!”

    Hope you have a nice time, Danny. Tell us if you see Colo signing any contracts over there.

  27. TAl @12 so who did you vote for and why the disparaging comment. Do you think that any of our players distinguished themselves this season?

    If M’bwia had had a full season I might well have gone for him, but purely on on-field play I thought Collo was as good as anyone else although I would agree it wasn’t his best season he’s had for us and his attitude may have been a little less committed to the cause off-field.

    I don’t know what his personal problems are and don’t particularly want too but I always got the impression that he gave his best on-field and that’s what I would base my opinion upon along with the other 72 “idiots” or whatever you think we are!!

  28. So Papiss Cisse might refuse to wear the W***A.com festooned shirt, Citing his religious views.
    If that is the case, Then i hope the vast majority, If not all Geordies refuse to buy any replica kits, For the religion of Newcastle United, After all you all worship at the temple of St James’ Park.
    I hope they sell very few shirts with that sh**e on the front, And if they do sell in big numbers, It will only serve as another indication, That this club is losing it’s identity, And the fans are as plastic, as Carol Voorderman!

  29. Frankly, I think we are already in a tailspin before the new season has begun. Pardew remaining in-situ, Cisse threatening a one-man boycott which may unsettle Tiote and Ben Arfa for the same reason, Cabaye letting it be known that he’d move if he could, Colo very unsettled, no clear talk of bringing proven quality to the club. Where are the positives? It’s not boding well.

  30. Worky, It’s in that Bastion of truth, “The Daily Mirror”.
    I’m really just using that as an example, Because i would like to know, Whether or not, Fans are going to but that kit?
    Personally i think there should be a mass boycott, Of the Wonga company, And anything else to do with them.
    I have to say, I’ll be disappointed if sales of those s****y
    shirts are high!

  31. workyticket says: “So where has Cisse actually said that he’s boycoutting the club? Or that he will refuse to wear the shirt?”

    Well, one source Worky is the Metro which I hesitate to call a rag because I believe you are an occasional contributor: http://metro.co.uk/2013/06/08/papiss-cisse-edges-towards-anzhi-transfer-after-refusing-to-wear-newcastle-shirt-3833175/?

    Maybe we shouldn’t believe all that is printed in the press but I don’t think they make it all up.

  32. Joe, thankyou!

    There was something bugging me about the new shirts. For some strange reason, your last comment made me realise what it was.

  33. Paul in Hollywood says:
    June 8, 2013 at 9:12 pm

    Well, one source Worky is the Metro which I hesitate to call a rag because I believe you are an occasional contributor:

    Paul, you believe that gonk? Did you see his picture? He looks like he’s just had a lobotomy. Well I don’t believe it, even though he puts at the bottom:

    “But Newcastle have now confirmed to the Press Association that they will meet with Cisse to discuss the issue and try and find a compromise.”

    That isn’t good enough.

  34. Worky, there is an article in the Daily Mail, Saying they will sell Cisse, If he doesn’t wear the shirt.
    Apparently Ashley will not even entertain the idea of Cisse wearing an unbranded top, Like Freddie Kanoute did for Serville.
    Ashley thinks his deal with W***A.COM will be cheapened, He’s got to be joking!, The whole deal has been cheap from day one!

  35. Wouldn’t surprise me if this situation was blown out of proportion, As a prelude to selling Cisse, In a move not to anger fans too much.
    Cisse will be cast the villain, In the same way Carroll was, With Anzhi sniffing around, With a mega rich owner.
    This little sordid episode could serve as a backdrop, To one of Ashley’s spins in his helicopter.
    Then they will pocket the money, And try an sweep it under the carpet!

  36. Joe @40: the Daily mail said it so it must be true? I am not saying it might not happen, I am just doubting the credentials of a paper that spends most of its time on Kardashian Kleavage.

  37. So you’re back then, GS. My hypothesis was that you went to New York, killed Chuck (as he hasn’t been on either), then got banged up.

  38. Nah Worky: I have to ignore him because we will never get along :) I got bored with reading all the rubbish on newsnow. Are we linked with every player under 15 million and selling everybody we have owned for more than a year?

    I didn’t really have anything to comment on because I don’t believe anything they say anymore (the papers, management and owners). I even stopped reading when I saw Taylor linked with Arsenal – where do they come up with this stuff?

    I think we will get tops 2 players and they may even just be to fill in for those we lose like Simpson and possibly Perch. If Cabaye goes I doubt they will replace him. Rather they will look to Sissoko or Anita to step up.

    Every man and his dog can see we need a striker, but that doesn’t mean we will get one.

    I am so downbeat at the moment I am thinking about changing my user name to AndyMac :)

  39. GS, According to the Chronicle there is a problem over him wearing the shirt, But they are saying the club will not be looking to get rid of him.

  40. GS, To be honest, Downbeat is always the way to go with the Ashley Regime!
    You have to always start at the worst case scenario, And then anything else, Is a bonus!
    It shouldn’t be like this, But expect nothing from this Regime, And you will not be disappointed!

  41. Mathieu Debuchy had another poor game against Brazil the other night and gave away yet another needless penalty. I really don’t get it.

  42. You really don’t like him do you. I heard he was alright apart from the penalty. Then again he had Neymar to defend again so it would have been hard.

  43. Phisix says:
    June 10, 2013 at 11:46 am

    “You really don’t like him do you. I heard he was alright apart from the penalty. Then again he had Neymar to defend again so it would have been hard.”

    I don’t know him, Phisix. Whilst I am a Cruyffian who is all for attacking defenders who play a very high line, they should be defenders who are able to defend too, which includes being able to tackle, preferably without giving away penalties and/or being sent off.

    Yes he was busy with Neymar when he moved over to the left, and was hacked so much he had holes in his socks by the game was over. But whilst that was going on, his opposite number on Brazil’s left back, Marcelo, was having him on toast and it was Marcelo who eventually won the penalty. I would definitely have him as an attacking full back! As well as winning the penalty, he also won a free kick which got Brazil another of their three goals. He’s a great left back.

  44. It’s too early to make a decision on Debuchy, In all fairness.
    Let’s see what he’s like next season, After a Preseason under his belt.

  45. On Debuchy, he likes the two footed lunges. You don’t get away with that in the Premier League unless your name is Steven Gerrard.

  46. Joe: I don’t get it with Wonga. Why was it OK for Cisse, Ben Arfa and Tiote to wear Virgin Money? Is there a % of interest that is against Sharia law? I am being serious, I don’t know the answer. Barclays sponsors the league, why don’t they object to them?

    It might just give Wonga more publicity and the fat man will just give them a few more billboards at SJP or repeat the fiasco of renaming SJP.

  47. GS, There is a kind of double standard, I suppose.
    Banks hide behind the air of respectability, While charging exorbitant interest rates.
    I think with banks though, There is a kind of every man status to them, Where anyone can walk in, And get a loan, Or get knocked back for one.
    There no particular demographic to a banks target customer, Where as companies like W***A.COM, Target the poor or desperate members of a given society, Because these people know banks will never give a loan to someone on the dole, Or getting benefits.
    Neither a squeaky clean, But W***A.COM, Know exactly what they are doing.
    I think Cisse comes from a poor background, And can identify with where some of the fans are coming from, And doesn’t want to see them get exploited.

    That’s my take on it, For what it’s worth.

  48. Everyone goes on about Wonga’s 4000%+ APR interest rates. However, the real secret is the “rollover.”

    As I’ve mentioned before, anyone who sees a Wonga ppc ad in their browser, DO click on it, without being daft enough to take out a loan of course! It will cost them money and the amount payday loan sharks pay per click is amongst the very highest. :-)

  49. just one thing after another, hate too say this but I think another holiday in the championship is soon to come 1st time iv really been worried before the season has even started