Newcastle United in the 2010s. Many ups and downs, along with one literal season down.

The decade kicked off with Chris Hughton as manager, marked at the halfway turn by John Carver’s tumultuous run, and ends with the embattled Steve Bruce. These years have endured many changes, and as such Newcastle have seen many styles and approaches on the pitch.

This makes things quite tricky for hypothetical “best XI” discussions. Should the predominant 4231 be the template to fill? What about the players that shone under Rafa’s 541 formations?

NUFC Digital decided to vote on the best campaigns for each tactical position in the modern era: a goalkeeper, four defenders, three midfielders, and three attackers. All the individual campaigns in all the varying systems could be compared.

Note: all stats listed are ‘per 90 minutes’

Here are the results:

Starting XI

Goalkeeper: Tim Krul ‘11-‘12

  • NUFC ‘11-’12 Position: 5th (65 points)
  • Appearances: 38
  • Minutes: 3420

Tim Krul’s heroic status at Newcastle was secured long before he became a regular starter. A dream performance away to Palermo in the UEFA Cup in 2006 as a man of the match display by the then 18-year-old Dutchman -in the absence of experienced custodians Given and Harper- was etched into NUFC history as one of the best ever player debuts.

Krul’s path to becoming a regular was slow from thereon, only making more than 1 league appearance for the first time in the 10/11 season. The following campaign was Tim Krul at his peak, as his impressive shot stopping saved Newcastle time and time again. 

In his featured campaign, Tim kept 15 clean sheets in 38 games.  Although areas of his game could have been better such as his kicking, he was a huge reason for the Magpies’ successful season, saving a remarkable 66% of shots faced on target. 

His best ever game came in 13/14, after a record 14 saves helped Newcastle to a 1-0 victory away to Tottenham. The highs were very high for Krul, and although a few lows did creep into his game, he can be fondly remembered as our best keeper this decade, and ensured the Palermo away game wasn’t just a ‘remember when?’ story but rather the beginning of a very respectable career. ~ J.A.

Krul’s ‘11-’12 Key Stats:

  • 66% ‘on target’ saves
  • 2.9 saves 
  • 1.6 penalty box saves 
  • 59 minutes per goal allowed
  • 15 shutouts 
  • 38% long ball accuracy

Right Back: Mathieu Debuchy ‘13-‘14 

  • NUFC ‘13-’14 Position: 10th (49 points)
  • Appearances: 29
  • Minutes: 2494

In yet another season of turbulence, featuring Joe Kinnear’s bizarre moonlighting as Director of Football and Yohan Cabaye’s eventual sale to Paris Saint-Germain, Mathieu Debuchy put forth a remarkable two-way campaign.

Mathieu’s arrival bolstered a position that had been occupied by the defensively sound (yet limited in attack) Danny Simpson. The right midfielder now had a willing overlapper, someone able to help with buildup, deliver crosses, and even connect shots on target. In defence, Debuchy had an aggressive approach in his play, as he was nicknamed “Terminator” for being so fearless in his challenges.

He led Newcastle in successful tackles and interceptions, and he led all PL full backs in aerials won (per 90) and total through balls. Extra points for Mathieu’s lone goal for Newcastle being against the mackems. For logging nearly 6 defensive actions per game, his average of 1.5 fouls is extraordinarily tidy as well. ~ Matthew Carpenter

Debuchy’s ‘13-’14 Key Stats:

  • 1 goal
  • 3 assists
  • 2.1 chances created
  • 73% pass accuracy
  • 4.2 aerial wins
  • 69% aerial success
  • 79% tackle success
  • 5.9 tackles + interceptions 
  • 1.5 fouls

Centre Back #1: Fabricio Coloccini ‘11-‘12 

  • NUFC ‘11-’12 Position: 5th (65 points)
  • Appearances: 35
  • Minutes: 3044  

Fabricio Coloccini took the armband for the ‘11-’12 season, and formed one of the stoutest defences along side Steven Taylor. Newcastle’s incredible campaign this year owes much to the form of Colo.

Operating as more of marauding aggressor (similar to Fabian Schär), Fabricio was incredibly tidy in his challenges, as he racked up only 0.8 fouls per game against 2 tackles and 2.1 interceptions.

He had the highest pass accuracy rate in the side, and was known to bomb forward in attack and help buildup sequences. While he only attempted 10 dribbles this season, his 8 successful attempts says it all about the proficiency of Colo.

His passing, defending, and overall anticipation placed Fabricio Coloccini at the heart of several important moments in Newcastle’s finest season of the 2010s. Colo was a technical, gutsy defender, and he performed at an astonishing level in the ‘11-’12 campaign. ~ Matthew Carpenter

Colo’s ‘11-’12 Key Stats:

  • 84% pass accuracy
  • 64% long pass accuracy
  • 74% tackle success
  • 4.1 tackles + interceptions
  • 0.8 fouls

Centre Back #2: Jamaal Lascelles ‘17-‘18

 

  • NUFC ‘17-’18 Position: 10th (44 points)
  • Appearances: 32
  • Minutes: 2928

After the high of the 5th placed finish, many lows followed. Newcastle’s management from boardroom level to the man in the dugout created an atmosphere of toxicity. Perhaps the nadir of that was after a 3-1 defeat to Southampton in the 15/16 relegation campaign. 

Then 22, and not a first team regular, Lascelles came out after the game and was critical of his more senior team-mates, stating the following; “We need bigger characters on the pitch, players who care and who are going to get after each other.“We have lacked it this season and no matter how good you are, if you don’t have that fight and hunger and desire, it doesn’t matter.” 

Lascelles lead by example. He was appointed Newcastle captain the following summer by Rafa Benitez, and was a rock in the defence as Newcastle secured promotion. He carried that form into the Premier League, as Newcastle United fans began to see a defensive solidity within the team that had been absent for a good 6 years. 

Jamaal formed an excellent partnership with new signing Florian Lejeune that allowed both to flourish. The technique of the Frenchman combined with the organisational skills of Lascelles resulted in a watertight defense. 

The Newcastle skipper even took the time to sort out Diame in training to bring that same solidity to the middle of the park. A true captain and strong character, Lascelles was exactly the player Newcastle United needed after relegation, and so it proved given the hard working ethos of the current side compared to the one Jamaal first joined. ~ J.A.

Lascelles’ ‘17-’18 Key Stats:

  • 3 goals
  • 77% pass accuracy
  • 38% long pass accuracy
  • 3.9 aerials won
  • 67% aerial success
  • 83% tackle success
  • 1.9 tackles + interceptions 
  • 0.5 fouls

Left Back: Jose Enrique ‘10-‘11

  • NUFC ‘10-’11 Position: 12th (46 points)
  • Appearances: 36
  • Minutes: 3126

Left back had been a problem position for quite a while for Newcastle United, with previous incumbents Celestine Babayaro and Olivier Bernard (towards the end) underwhelming to say the least. 

The signing of El Toro (The Bull) from Villarreal gave fans hope that this situation was finally addressed. Jose Enrique took a little while to settle into English football, but once he got going, put in some very impressive performances. 

Forging a partnership with Jonas down the left, Enrique displayed great strength on the ball, shrugging off challengers and had quite the accurate long ball in his locker for Jonas to latch on to. Similar to Jonas, Enrique used the 09/10 Championship season to build form and confidence and his 2nd stint in the Premier League was a more fruitful one.

In 10/11, he displayed his skills at both ends of the pitch as he created 1.4 chances per game, registering 1 assist. He proved difficult to beat on the flank, with a 90% tackle success rate and 1.7 interceptions per game. It was no surprise with his form that Liverpool came calling that summer. 

At least one more happy memory was given to Newcastle United fans by the Spaniard, as he played in goal following Pepe Reina’s sending off in the 2-0 league victory at home vs the Reds in 2012. At least he kept a clean sheet! ~ J.A.

Enrique’s ‘10-’11 Key Stats:

  • 1 assist
  • 1.4 chances created
  • 77% pass accuracy
  • 1.9 dribbles
  • 90% tackle success
  • 3.5 tackles + interceptions 
  • 0.4 foul

Centre Mid and NUFC Digital’s Player of the Decade:  Yohan Cabaye ‘11-‘12

  • NUFC ‘11-’12 Position: 5th (65 points)
  • Appearances: 34
  • Minutes: 2839  

Newcastle’s regression as a club has meant that players of top tier quality are becoming a rarity to see in a black and white shirt nowadays. This write up has a noticeable trend of including players from the 11/12 campaign, a season with a mixture of ordinary players playing at their peak, and 2 or 3 top tier talents. Cabaye certainly belongs to the latter category, and tops it as being our Player of the Decade in this team. 

Yohan’s modest price tag for a Ligue 1 winning captain was a surprise to many, reflecting the peak of Graham Carr’s scouting for the club. His immediate task was to settle the discontent of fans brought about by the surprise sale of Kevin Nolan, and boy did he do that and more. He elevated the level of Newcastle United’s performances, with more midfield control and incisive passing than seen here in a long time. He was a grafter too, not afraid to get stuck in when the moment called for it.

In 11/12, it was a happy marriage of his vision and intelligent passing, as well as fantastic movement from the likes of Ben Arfa, Ba and Cisse that allowed for many fantastic Newcastle United goals and performances. 

Cabaye never regressed during his time here, despite the overall level of the team doing so. His 12/13 and 13/14 (half season) saw much of the same spectacular passing and goalscoring, and although his time here was soured after a refusal to play when a move to Arsenal was rumoured, it’d be difficult to say anyone played as well as him in a black and white shirt this decade, certainly not for as long a time period. ~ J.A.

Cabaye’s ‘11-’12 Key Stats:

  • 4 goals
  • 6 assists
  • 18% goal involvement
  • 80% pass success
  • 1.1 key passes
  • 73% tackle success
  • 6.5  tackles + interceptions

Centre Defensive Mid: Cheick Tiote ‘10-‘11

 

  • NUFC ‘10-’11 Position: 12th (46 points)
  • Appearances: 26
  • Minutes: 2311

 

Whilst I feel Yohan Cabaye deservedly won the player of the decade, it is easy to forget that he rejoined the Premier league with Crystal Palace only a mere 18 months after he left us for PSG, and never did look to be quite the same player when he returned. 

Maybe this was a result of being past his best at this stage? Or maybe (as I suspect) he wasn’t allowed to function in the same way without a midfield partner like Tiote? 

Cheick provided so much pace, energy and toughness to a midfield that desperately needed him, and it was his ability to win the ball back and distribute effectively that allowed Coloccini and Cabaye to be the creative focal point of the side that finished in 5th place. 

Due to the position and role he played, he may not get the same shine as other players on this team of the decade will. However, I’d argue that he may have been the player that was most important in getting it to perform at it’s best.

So it felt poetic when, in arguably our best game of this decade, he scored my favourite goal of the decade in the 4-4 comeback draw with Arsenal, and placed him in club history in a moment no Newcastle fan will ever forget.~ Andrew Clifford

Tiote’s ‘10-’11 Key Stats:

  • 1 goal
  • 1 assist
  • 87.1 % passing success
  • 1.3 dribbles 
  • 67% tackle success
  • 5.9 tackles + interceptions

Centre Attacking Mid: Kevin Nolan ‘10-‘11

  • NUFC ‘10-’11 Position: 12th (46 points)
  • Appearances: 30
  • Minutes: 2658  

On Halloween 2010, Newcastle took the sword to Steve Bruce’s mackems, winning 5-1. Kevin Nolan, skipper for the side, was exceptional on the day as he fired in a hat trick.

Much like this derby, Kevin was the steady hand in a turbulent NUFC season. Hughton was sacked weeks after the derby, Peter Beardsley kept things afloat, and then Alan Pardew eventually took over on 9th December, 2010. 

Kevin was less of an attacking mid and more of a second striker, playing first off Andy Carroll (until he was sold to Liverpool in January) and then off Shola Ameobi. His chance creation rates were lower for a typical CAM, but he ended the season as Newcastle’s top scorer.

Being a hard-driving and vocal captain, Nolan’s role in fixing the mentality of the relegated Newcastle United squad can’t be understated. After a 6-1 defeat to Leyton Orient in pre-season, Nolan was among the senior players who held a team meeting and demanded that anyone who wasn’t up for the fight of leading Newcastle back to the Premier League leave the club. It worked wonders, as captain Nolan and his colleagues stormed the championship and achieved instant promotion. ~ Matthew Carpenter

Nolan’s ‘10-’11 Key Stats:

  • 12 goals
  • 1 assist
  • 23% goal involvement
  • 83% passing success
  • 65% tackle success
  • 3.6 tackles + interceptions

Right Midfielder:  Hatem Ben Arfa ‘11-‘12 

  • NUFC ‘11-’12 Position: 5th (65 points)
  • Appearances: 16
  • Minutes: 1560 

Mazy dribbles, dumbfounded defenders, and dropped jaws. On his day, Ben Arfa produced all of the aforementioned.

Though only appearing 16 times in the ‘11-’12 campaign, it was a transcendent sequence of play. His goals & assists totalled 18% of goal involvement,  and his 4.9 successful dribbles (per 90 minutes) was the best in the league.

Often overlooked is how many chances he created for others, as he Newcastle’s leader in key passes (per 90 minutes). But, for good reason, Hatem will be remembered for the singular magic only he could produce. ~ Matthew Carpenter

 

HBA’s ‘11-’12 Key Stats

  • 5 goals
  • 5 assists
  • 18% goal involvement
  • 82% passing success
  • 1.6 key passes
  • 61% dribble success
  • 4.9 dribbles
  • 68% tackle success
  • 2.1 tackles + interceptions

Left Midfielder: Jonas Gutierrez ‘11-‘12

  • NUFC ‘11-’12 Position: 5th (65 points)
  • Appearances: 37
  • Minutes: 3308  

Signed from Real Mallorca in the summer of 2008, the first thing made known about Jonas was his famous spiderman mask celebration, so it was only fitting a man with a reputation for entertaining was brought to the club by Kevin Keegan.

A stellar debut performance at Old Trafford followed, one MOTD’s Alan Hansen lauded as the most impressive debutant performance on the opening day of the season. Jonas quickly forged a strong partnership with fellow Spanish speaker Jose Enrique on the left hand side for Newcastle, and where he lacked in technical quality, he more than made up for it with his work rate and became an instant fan favourite.

Jonas stuck with the club after relegation, and the season in the 2nd tier did him some good, discovering a scoring touch that eluded him in his debut campaign, including a howitzer of a strike at home to Barnsley. Things got even better for Jonas once Premier League football returned to St James’ Park, with Wolves falling victim to several quality strikes from the Argentine. 

That season he was on productive at both ends of the pitch, chipping in with 3 goals & 3 assists as well as boasting a 71% tackle success rate in helping out Santon on the left. 

Although we’ve elected for the 11/12 campaign as Jonas’ best, it would be remiss not to close off his section with a mention towards his heroic comeback in his final season, scoring the goal that made sure of our safety after successfully battling cancer, in what most fans would probably choose as ‘moment of the decade’. Jonas is an adopted Geordie, and although he wasn’t always in  top form during his time here, no one could question his commitment to the cause any time he stepped on the pitch. ~ J.A.

 

Jonas’ ‘11-’12 Key Stats:

  • 2 goals
  • 3 assists
  • 80% passing success
  • 2.6 dribbles
  • 71% tackle success
  • 4.3 tackles + interceptions

Striker: Papiss Cisse ‘11-‘12

  • NUFC ‘11-’12 Position: 5th (65 points)
  • Appearances: 13
  • Minutes: 1113 

The Goal. The beautiful, inexplicable Goal against Chelsea, the likes of which has never been seen.

In a way, that could describe Cisse’s entire initial run after signing for United on 21 January 2012. While he played only 14 out of the 38 league fixtures, his goal return is perhaps one of the most astounding runs in club history.

For perspective, Alan Shearer fired in 25 goals in 31 matches in the ‘96-’97 season, scoring every 81 minutes. In the ‘93-’94 season, Andy Cole scored 34 goals in 40 matches, netting a goal every 85 minutes.

Cisse scored a goal every 66 minutes he was on the pitch in the ‘11-’12 campaign. If he had played the full 38 matches and maintained this rate, he would’ve totalled 35 goals. (Mo Salah holds the record for goals in a 38-match season with 32.)

As if his form wasn’t unreal enough, Papiss also put in the best defensive stats of any striker in the decade. His 84% tackling success was at a centre back’s proficiency, and his combined interceptions and successful tackles far exceeded even the ‘18-’19 season of Salomon Rondon. ~Matthew Carpenter

Cisse’s ‘11-’12 Key Stats:

  • 13 goals
  • 1 assist
  • 25% goal involvement
  • 70% passing success
  • 0.9 key passes
  • 84% tackle success
  • 2.1 tackles + interceptions
Perhaps you disagree with some of our choices for the XI? Well, we’ve assembled together a bench comprised of some strong contenders, although not one Pardew would look to use any time soon, given the lack of left backs on there. This bench was put together simply to highlight players who just missed out, rather than be balanced position wise for the sake of hypothetical substitutions. 

Bench

Striker: Demba Ba ’11-’12

  • NUFC ‘11-’12 Position: 5th (65 points)
  • Appearances: 32
  • Minutes: 2732 

Would it be over the top to say Demba has been the best striker to play for Newcastle United since Alan Shearer?  It was only a season and a half that the Senegalese got to display his skills in front of the St James’ faithful but it saw plenty of goals, alongside selfless work as he accommodated for the signing of Papiss Cisse by reprising a left wing role in the 2nd half of the 11/12 season. 

Demba was involved in 32% of our goals that season, and was a match winner, with hat tricks against Blackburn and Stoke the highlights. The latter must’ve felt sweet against Tony Pulis’ side, given that the Stoke gaffer called Ba’s knee a ticking time bomb and rejected signing him previously. Demba’s league goal record for Newcastle United? 29 goals from 54 appearances. Total injuries? 0.  ~ J.A.

Ba’s ‘11-’12 Key Stats:

  • 16 goals
  • 2 assists
  • 32% goal involvement
  • 4.6 aerial duels
  • 74% passing success
  • 1.4 dribbles

Goalkeeper: Martin Dubravka ’18-’19 

  • NUFC ‘18-’19 Position: 13th (45 points)
  • Appearances: 38
  • Minutes: 3420

In Martin’s first full season for Newcastle, he proved that his shot-stopping was among the best in the league. He was 1st among all goalkeepers in high claims (43) and 2nd in 6-yard box saves (11).

While Martin was only 6th in clean sheets (11), other metrics suggest he had quite a bit more to do than most goalkeepers. Newcastle were one of 3 teams (West Ham and Tottenham being the others) that up fewer goals than their xGA predicated. Newcastle were expected to give up 5 more goals than they actually did.

There might be no better demonstration of this than the 26th February 2019 fixture with Burnley. What was a fairly even affair – in terms of shots, shots on target, possession, defensive actions – ended with Newcastle taking full points. 

However, Martin had key saves in the 10th minute against Chris Wood and especially in the 85th from Vydra. These were both in the 6-yard box and reflected the incredible reflexes of Dubravka, which afforded Newcastle more points than they probably deserved. ~ Matthew Carpenter

Dubs ‘18-’19 Key Stats:

  • 66% ‘on target’ saves
  • 2.5 saves
  • 1.7 penalty box saves
  • 71 minutes per goal allowed
  • 11 shutouts
  • 37% long ball accuracy

Centre Back: Florian Lejeune ’17-’18 

  • NUFC ‘17-’18 Position: 10th (44 points)
  • Appearances: 24
  • Minutes: 2104

Newcastle United called upon the services of the likes of Grant Hanley in the Championship. And with all due respect to Grant, promotion meant an upgrade for Lascelles’ centre back partner was sorely needed. An £8.7m transfer from Eibar, Lejeune was an unknown quantity to most fans, but that was an intriguing price paid for such a player. Lejeune’s debut was the stuff of nightmares, sustaining ankle ligament damage after an excessive force tackle from Harry Kane sidelined him for several weeks. 

From February until the end of the 17/18 season, Lejeune established a fantastic partnership with Lascelles. Lascelles did all the dirty work and Lejeune the silky stuff, displaying excellent ball playing abilities and a strong aerial presence for attacking set pieces, getting on the end of Shelvey’s freekick in the build up to Ritchie’s memorable winner against Man Utd. Lejeune’s passing numbers made for a welcome weapon from the back, with 43% long pass accuracy and 77% pass accuracy a decent return, considering he often went for the more risky option rather than the safe pass to his centre back partner. ~ J.A.

Lejeune’s ‘17-’18 Key Stats:

  • 2 assists
  • 77% pass accuracy
  • 3.6 aerials won
  • 63% aerial success
  • 67% tackle success
  • 3.4 tackles + interceptions
  • 0.7 fouls

Right Midfielder: Ayoze Pérez ’18-’19 

  • NUFC ‘18-’19 Position: 13th (45 points)
  • Appearances: 34
  • Minutes: 2928    

In full disclosure, Ayoze Pérez was my favourite player to watch from the 2010s, so I’ll do my best to keep things impartial.

Slotted as the right attacker of Rafa’s 5-4-1 formation, Ayoze’s impact was felt at both ends of the pitch. His interceptions and successful tackles combined were 3.1 per 90 minutes, and his goals and assists comprised of 33% of the team’s goals on the season. 

Nifty on the ball, relentless in pressing, scoring when we were most desperate, Ayo was undoubtedly one of the best to wear the black & white in the 2010s, ~ Matthew Carpenter.

Ayo’s ‘18-’19 Key Stats:

  • 12 goals
  • 2 assists
  • 33% goal involvement
  • 76% passing success
  • 1.4 key passes
  • 2.5 dribbles
  • 3.1 tackles + interceptions

Centre Attacking Mid: Georginio Wijnaldum ’15-’16

  • NUFC ’15-’15 Position: 18th (37 points)
  • Appearances: 36
  • Minutes: 3169    

Georginio Wijnaldum came into a side that was fast-tracked for relegation, a side that was managed by Steve McClaren for far too long for Rafa to save them. 

His 85% passing was the highest in the side, behind only Cheick Tiote. His role was similar to Kevin Nolan’s from earlier in the decade, in that his positioning shaded off of Mitrovic in a second striker role. While he provided the second-highest assists in the team (5), his key passes per 90 were on the lower end, like Nolan’s.

Gini went on to comprise of 36% of Newcastle’s league goals in the season as well as being their top scorer (11), after scoring on his debut against Southampton. ~ Matthew Carpenter

Gini’s ‘15-’16 Key Stats:

  • 11 goals
  • 5 assists
  • 36% goal involvement
  • 85% passing success
  • 1.3 key passes
  • 62% dribble success
  • 2.4 dribbles
  • 68% tackle success

Centre Mid: Yohan Cabaye ’13-’14  

  • NUFC ‘13-’14 Position: 10th (49 points)
  • Appearances: 19
  • Minutes: 1509 

So nice, he made the team twice.

Yohan has made his second appearance in our squad, and for good reason: he may have been in the form of his life for Newcastle before he was sold to PSG. Loic Remy aside, Cabaye’s half-season of contributions went a long way to helping Newcastle have a respectable table position.

In 19 appearances, Yohan scored 7 goals and collected 2 assists. This comprised 21% goal involvement for Newcastle’s season. His tackling success rate was never better (70%), and he had 5.7 successful tackles & interceptions (per 90). ~Matthew Carpenter

Cabaye’s ‘13-’14 Key Stats:

  • 7 goals
  • 2 assists
  • 21% goal involvement
  • 79% pass success
  • 1.1 key passes
  • 70% tackle success
  • 5.7 tackles + interceptions

Centre Defensive Mid: Mo Diamé ’17-’18 

  • NUFC ‘17-’18 Position: 10th (44 points)
  • Appearances: 31
  • Minutes: 2043  

Diame was signed in the championship as a Sissoko replacement. Despite a couple of decent showings away to Wigan and Hull (league cup), it became apparent that Diame’s days as an effective attacker were numbered.
Following promotion, the signing of Mikel Merino, and with Hayden, Shelvey and Saivet as competition on top of Diame’s lack of form, he saw little pitchtime. It took a training ground fight between Lascelles and Mo -as the captain questioned the Senegalese’s attitude in training- to sort things out. 

Diame completed 90 minutes for the first time that season in the home game v Man City on 27 December. It was then a case of new year, new Mo, after Diame put in an incredible defensive shift in the away victory at Stoke on new years day. 

Packing it in as an attacker, Diame cemented a regular starting spot as a defensive midfielder alongside the more creative Shelvey, and looked every bit as good as the late Cheick Tiote had in his early NUFC spell. Diame finished 2018 as the top tackler in the entire league, he even bagged a couple of goals for his troubles. 

On the final day of the season, he put Kante to shame, absolutely dominating him in the middle of the park as Newcastle beat Chelsea 3-0,  and capped off a nice redemption arc considering where he had been at the start of the season. ~ J.A.

Diamé’s ‘17-’18 Key Stats:

  • 2 goals
  • 77.2% passing success
  • 1.1 dribbles 
  • 66% tackle success rate
  • 6.0 tackles + interceptions

The Highlights

After a read through of the players that made our team of the decade, why not a watch through of some special moments they provided that will live long in the NUFC memory? From Nolan’s hat trick to Cisse’s special goal against Chelsea, there have been plenty of moments to enjoy, despite the overall progression of the club switching from stalling to declining and back again.

Mohamed Diame equaliser against Brighton – 2017

Starting off with a personal favourite, this goal from Mo was as crucial as it was hilarious. Newcastle went on to win this game through Ayoze Perez, and ultimately pipped Brighton to the 16/17 Championship title.

Yohan Cabaye Free kick vs Man Utd – 2012

Yohan scored quite a few free kicks during his time for the Toon. Perhaps none were as exquisite or loudly cheered as the one that solidified their lead en route to defeating Man Utd 3-0 at St James’ Park. Notable highlights from this game include a Phil Jones own goal, Ba & Shola Ameobi bossing Ferdinand and Jones, as well as one of Cheikh Tiote’s finest games in a black and white shirt as he shutdown Wayne Rooney and co.

Wijnaldum debut header vs Southampton – 2015

Wijnaldum made headlines as the most expensive transfer since Michael Owen (2005) at the time of signing. Things kicked off nicely with this debut goal, it’s worth watching just to see evidence of a positive contribution from Gabriel Obertan in a Newcastle United shirt.

Ayoze Perez goal v Leicester City – 2018

There aren’t many similarities between the 1990s and the 2010s as far as Newcastle United are concerned. Some things don’t change though, and Newcastle United lobbing Schmeichel is one of them, as this lovely goal demonstrates

Demba Ba volley vs Man Utd – 2012

The other fantastic goal United scored in this game. Apologies for the quality of the clip. Apparently reliable clips of Newcastle striker goals are just as rare to come by as goals from the strikers themselves nowadays.

Cheikh Tiote volley’d equaliser vs Arsenal – 2011

BOOM. BOOM. CHEIKH CHEIKH. THE ROOM. What else is there to say about this goal? Still raises the hairs on the back of the neck at the billionth viewing.

Jonas Gutierrez goal vs West Ham – 2015

In keeping with the emotional Newcastle United goals theme, it doesn’t get anymore so than when Jonas netted the goal that ensured safety on the final day of a turbulent 14/15 season. The man who knows the true meaning of survival.

Kevin Nolan Hat trick vs the Mackems – 2010

The earliest entry, and one of the best. Chris Hughton’s Newcastle side put up some big scorelines, including beating Villa 6-0 in the first game back at St James’ following promotion- a catharsis felt by all Geordies after the ‘Sob on the Tyne’ nightmare day on May 24th 2009 at Villa Park. Better was to come on Halloween, and here’s the goal that sealed Kevin Nolan’s hat trick against the Mackems in a special derby day victory.

Hatem Ben Arfa solo dribble goal vs Bolton Wanderers – 2012

Ben Arfa scored 2 ridiculous goals that only a man of his ability can conjure. One ended up as a nominee for the Puskas award that year – so naturally we’re showing you the one that didn’t. Bolton players might as well be training cones here as Hatem leaves them for dead and slots away a lovely goal to put Newcastle ahead

Papiss Cisse wondergoal vs Chelsea – 2012

Newcastle United often doesn’t make any sense. The fact we finished 5th under Alan Pardew doesn’t make any sense. This ridiculous goal by Cisse at the peak of his ridiculous goal scoring run doesn’t make any sense. This was one of two high quality strikes from the Senegalese that day, Drogba could barely believe his eyes. A deserved goal of the season winner for a strike that seems almost impossible to replicate.