Yohan “Dreamboat” Cabaye, our French maestro in midfield – intelligent on the ball, fantastic technique, the absolute professional. Just how important was he to Newcastle United?
We’ll start off with his competitive record for us (all competitions); 93 apps, 18 goals, 15 assists – not underwhelming for a midfielder, but not exactly impressive. It’s when you begin to look at our ratios with/without Cabaye, and the work he did that did not make the headlines, that you can begin to paint the true picture.
In the remaining 15 games of the 2013/14 season following Yohan Cabaye’s departure, Newcastle United Football Club won only 4 games (D0, L11), scoring 11 and conceding a massive 31. In typical fashion, NUFC nose-dived from top half safety (and a potentially European challenging season) to a bottom-half relegation fight – saved only from our heroic exploits in the first half of the season.
Since his arrival on Tyneside in the summer of 2011, we have featured in 98 Premier League matches – Yohan has featured in 79 of these, missing 19 – that’s a total of 19.4% missed (largely through injury).
Now, some argue that stats can be manipulated to say what the writer desires – true, in some cases – but in this instance i think it paints a fairly categorical picture as to his importance:
- With Yohan in our side, we won 47% of our matches, but only 21% without. This roughly totals to a staggering average of 1 win in 2 with him, but only 1 win in 5 without
- With Yohan we had a loss rate of 33%, whereas this almost doubles to 63% without
- Average goals scored per game rises only marginally with Yohan playing; 1.4 with him, 1.3 without
- Average goals against however is almost double; 1.3 with him, 2.2 without
- With Yohan playing we average 1.6 points per game, halving to 0.8 P/PG without
So in Yohan’s 79 Premier League games for Newcastle United at an average 1.6 points per game, over the course of a season would give us roughly 61 points. In the 19 games without averaging 0.8 points per game, this would roughly finish with 30 points.
61 points – European challenger
30 points – Relegation contender
You could argue that the games total is too small to give a conclusive answer as to where we would be with/without, but it is plain to see that a player of his quality made a massive difference in our side, and we sorely missed that link between midfield and attack in the final stages of 2013/14.