Player Review: 9) Matt Ritchie


Matt Ritchie became one of Rafa Benitez's first signings soon after the Spaniard signed a 3-year contract with the Magpies in the summer of 2016.

Ritchie has been a player who, for many years now, is no stranger to playing regularly. At his former club, Bournemouth, he helped the Cherries achieve promotion to the Premier League for the first time. In addition to that, he had a rather solid season at the highest level at Dean Court, a certain wonder strike against Sunderland certainly springs to mind - I was en route to my university when he scored that goal back in September 2015.

Despite a good first season in the Premier League, he decided move up north and give the Championship another try as he was enticed with the prospect of working for Rafa Benitez.

During his time at the club, Ritchie has only missed out on playing in no more than nine matches in all competitions. Showing that he is never the kind of player to fake an injury and also willing to adapt to play in alternative positions to his stronger role as a right winger. In recent times, he has put in excellent shifts in the left wing-back position.

One thing about the Scottish international is that he is a much-loved character on Tyneside and he has played his part in some iconic moments at St. James' Park. For instance, he converted the penalty against Burton Albion in which referee, Keith Stroud controversially opted to give Burton a free-kick due to Dwight Gayle's encroachment. Later that night, he scored the winning goal. More recently, he scored the winning goal against Arsenal in April 2018 to give Newcastle their fourth consecutive league win to see them on the verge of Premier League survival.

With a total of 21 goals in all competitions for the club so far, all but two of them have come at home. In addition, we have never lost when he has scored a home goal, winning on all but two occasions after scoring in a 2-2 draw against QPR in February 2017 and in the FA Cup against Blackburn last month.

Dates: 30th June 2016 to present day (965* days).

Transfer details: Bought for £12m from Bournemouth on 30/06/2016.

Total: 113 appearances, 21 goals.

Season by Season (when Ritchie has played)

2016/17

Championship: 1st (Played: 42, Won: 25, Drawn: 7, Lost: 10, Goals for: 75, Goals against: 38, Goal difference: +37, Pts: 82)

League Cup: Quarter-Final (v Hull City) - Played: 3, Won: 2, Drawn: 1, Lost: 0, Goals for: 9, Goals against: 1, Goal difference: +8.

FA Cup: 4th Round (v Oxford United) - Played: 3, Won: 1, Drawn: 1, Lost: 1, Goals for: 4, Goals against: 5, Goal difference: -1.

2017/18

Premier League: 10th (Played: 35, Won: 12, Drawn: 8, Lost: 15, Goals for: 38, Goals against: 41, Goal difference: -3, Pts: 44)

League Cup: 2nd Round (v Nottingham Forest) - Played: 1, Won: 0, Drawn: 0, Lost: 1, Goals for: 3, Goals against: 2, Goal difference: -1.

FA Cup: 4th Round (v Chelsea) - Played: 2, Won: 1, Drawn: 0, Lost: 1, Goals for: 3, Goals against: 4, Goal difference: -1.

2018/19

Premier League: (Played: 24, Won: 6, Drawn: 6, Lost: 12, Goals for: 20, Goals against: 31, Goal difference: -11, Pts: 24)

League Cup: 2nd Round (v Nottingham Forest) - did not feature.

FA Cup: 4th Round (v Watford) - Played: 3, Won: 1, Drawn: 1, Lost: 1, Goals for: 5, Goals against: 5, Goal difference: 0.

Record with Ritchie

League: Played: 101, Won: 43, Drawn: 21, Lost: 37, Goals for: 133, Goals against: 110, Goal difference: +23, Pts: 150. Win ratio: 43%

Home (league): Played: 51, Won: 24, Drawn: 8, Lost: 19, Goals for: 74, Goals against: 55, Goal difference: +19, Pts: 80. Win ratio: 47%.

Away (league): Played: 50, Won: 19, Drawn: 13, Lost: 18, Goals for: 59, Goals against: 55, Goal difference: +4, Pts: 70. Win ratio: 38%.

Domestic Cup: Played: 12, Won: 5, Drawn: 3, Lost: 4, Goals for: 23, Goals against: 18, Goal difference: +5. Win ratio: 42%.

Home (all competitions): Played: 58, Won: 28, Drawn: 9, Lost: 21, Goals for: 91, Goals against: 63, Goal difference: +28. Win ratio: 48%.

Away (all competitions): Played: 55, Won: 20, Drawn: 15, Lost: 20, Goals for: 65, Goals against: 65, Goal difference: 0. Win ratio: 36%.

Total: Played: 113, Won: 48, Drawn: 24, Lost: 41, Goals for: 156, Goals against: 128, Goal difference: +28. Win ratio: 42%.

Record without Ritchie

League: Played: 9, Won: 4, Drawn: 1, Lost: 4, Goals for: 13, Goals against: 11, Goal difference: +2, Pts: 13. Win ratio: 44%

Home (league): Played: 5, Won: 4, Drawn: 0, Lost: 1, Goals for: 10, Goals against: 3, Goal difference: +7, Pts: 12. Win ratio: 80%.

Away (league): Played: 4, Won: 0, Drawn: 1, Lost: 3, Goals for: 3, Goals against: 8, Goal difference: -5, Pts: 1. Win ratio: 0%.

Domestic Cup: Played: 2, Won: 1, Drawn: 0, Lost: 1, Goals for: 3, Goals against: 3, Goal difference: 0. Win ratio: 50%.

Home (all competitions): Played: 6, Won: 5, Drawn: 0, Lost: 1, Goals for: 12, Goals against: 3, Goal difference: +9. Win ratio: 83%.

Away (all competitions): Played: 5, Won: 0, Drawn: 1, Lost: 4, Goals for: 4, Goals against: 11, Goal difference: -7. Win ratio: 0%.

Total: Played: 11, Won: 5, Drawn: 1, Lost: 5, Goals for: 16, Goals against: 14, Goal difference: +2. Win ratio: 45%.

Goals

Championship: 12

Home: 10 (Reading, Ipswich, Nottingham Forest, Rotherham x2, QPR, Derby, Wigan, Burton, Preston).

Away: 2 (Nottingham Forest, Huddersfield).

Premier League: 4

Home: 4 (Man United, Southampton, Arsenal, Man City).

League Cup: 2

Home: 2 (Wolves, Preston).

FA Cup: 3

Home: 3 (Birmingham x2, Blackburn).

Total: 21

Home: 19 (90%)

Away: 2 (10%)

Most goals in a 5-game run: 6 - Birmingham x2, Rotherham x2, QPR, Derby (January-February 2017).

Landmark Matches

First win and first goal

Newcastle United 4 (Isaac Hayden 20, Matt Ritchie pen 50, Dwight Gayle 69, 89) Reading 1 - (17/08/2016)

We went into the game against Reading having lost our opening two matches of the new Championship season against Fulham and Huddersfield. Just days later, the Royals made their way up north on a summer evening and went back with a humiliating defeat. New signing, Isaac Hayden scored his first Newcastle goal in the first half only for Reading to equalise just before half time from the penalty spot.

Shortly after the break, at the same end, we were given a penalty ourselves which Ritchie coolly converted and the fans were treated to his signature celebration of kicking the corner flag for the first time. A Dwight Gayle free kick and close-range finish wrapped up Ritchie's first win in a Newcastle shirt.

Ritchie has never missed a penalty for Newcastle. Picture courtesy of Coming Home Newcastle.

Last win

Newcastle United 2 (Salomon Rondon 66, Matt Ritchie pen 80) Man City 1 - (29/01/2019)

A truly special night for being a Newcastle supporter! It was games like this that made me realise that there is something truly remarkable when it comes to supporting Newcastle United.

Man City failed to capitalise on their one-goal lead that they grabbed after 24 seconds. A super finish from Salomon Rondon provided the equaliser halfway through the second half. Some moments later, Sean Longstaff was rewarded for his hard work by forcing Fernandinho to bring him down for a penalty going into the game's closing stages. Despite the mind games from Man City's Ederson, Ritchie smashed home the penalty and Newcastle hung on for a wonderful win.

100th match

Newcastle United 2 (Salomon Rondon 7, 39) Bournemouth 1 - (10/11/2018)

I have a feeling that Ritchie may have felt rather nostalgic on a Saturday afternoon back in November as he reached the landmark of a century of appearances for Newcastle coming against his former club, Bournemouth. Despite reaching this impressive milestone, the day belonged to Salomon Rondon who scored twice including a cracker of a second goal as Newcastle achieved consecutive wins for the first time in the season.

Further landmark matches

Debut: Fulham 1 - 0 Newcastle United (05/08/2016)

50th match: Huddersfield 1 - 0 Newcastle United (20/08/2017)

50th league match: Southampton 2 - 2 Newcastle United (15/10/2017)

100th league match: Chelsea 2 - 1 Newcastle United (12/01/2019)

Last match: Wolves 1 - 1 Newcastle United (11/02/2019)

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