Interesting new independent analysis on Sandro Tonali.
The official Premier League site looking at the Newcastle player’s stats and levels of performance after his debut.
Maybe more importantly, his influence on the team overall and what we can now expect moving forward…
This official PL analysis confirms what we all saw.
Their analysis is for the benefit of their fantasy football set-up but obviously the stats are relevant regardless.
Official Premier League site analysis on Sandro Tonali after his debut:
If Tonali’s outstanding debut for Newcastle United is a taste of what is to come, the Italian looks tailor-made to help Eddie Howe’s side progress to the next level.
The Italy international covered more ground than any other Magpies player, bursting with off-the-ball industry and intelligence throughout the 5-1 rout of Aston Villa.
The 23-year-old was in perpetual motion at St James’ Park, closing down opponents, tracking back with determination and making a series of telling forward runs.
In possession, Tonali also delivered snippets of top-class football, playing his part in the build-up to two of Newcastle’s goals, while scoring one himself.
The former AC Milan midfielder picked out Sven Botman with a pinpoint cross for Alexander Isak’s first goal, and then slipped a clever pass in behind for Harvey Barnes, who subsequently teed up Callum Wilson for the fourth.
Tonali’s desire to test his markers with forward runs also stood out.
He ran untracked into the box to convert from a superb Anthony Gordon cross for the opening goal.
He could also have had a second goal when he surged into space for a 1v1 with goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez.
Tonali’s presence undoubtedly enhanced Newcastle’s midfield.
Although Tonali made only one successful tackle, one interception and five ball recoveries against Villa, those numbers do not fairly reflect his defensive contribution.
He diligently screened service into Villa’s strikers and advanced midfielders, constantly moving to deter progressive passes being fed into them.
Tonali also pressurised Unai Emery’s players with a stream of sprints that forced them into making hurried decisions. His athletic numbers were impressive.
Tonali’s endeavour was clear for all to see, but he was part of a team performance which was also characterised by energy and aggression.
All over the pitch, but especially inside Villa’s half, Newcastle players were tireless in their attempts to force loose passes and turnovers.
Howe’s men made over 30 per cent more “pressures” than last season’s average, and also raised their sprint count by more than 13 per cent.
A better balance
Howe’s midfield trio of Tonali, Joelinton and Bruno Guimaraes will be difficult for any Premier League side to face, including their next opponents Manchester City.
All three players are well-rounded operators who can play as a holding midfielder, in a box-to-box role, or as an attack-minded individual.
Each offers just as much to the team with and without the ball, and this allows them to freely rotate during matches.
On the opening weekend, they regularly switched the deepest-lying midfielder, allowing the other two to push on higher up.
Tonali’s heat map against Villa tells a story of how mobile he was inside the middle third.
After this magnificent 5-1 success, head coach Howe refused to play down the ambitions of his Newcastle side this season.
“We can do anything,” he said. “The season is still young enough for all possibilities to exist for us. I want the fans to believe we can do anything.
“My attitude won’t change, but I’ve no problem with the supporters dreaming, talking and speculating about what we can achieve.”
A reality check could come on Saturday with Newcastle’s trip to champions Man City, but if they can replicate those same levels of industry and cohesiveness, it would be foolish to write off their chances.
Pep Guardiola’s side are usually superb at playing through the press, but Newcastle’s running power and desire has the potential to upset the rhythm of their opponents.
If Tonali, Joelinton and Guimaraes can deliver their A-game once more, Newcastle will give them a stern test.’