Revealed! Where Newcastle United rank in the Premier League's long-ball table

Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez.
Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez.

It's fair to say Newcastle United haven't played the most free-flowing football this season - but just how reliant are Rafa Benitez's side on long balls?

The Magpies climbed up to 14th in the Premier League following their victory over Bournemouth last time out, but have been criticised for their defensive approach this campaign.

Benitez's side have often played with a target man, whether it be Joselu or Salomon Rondon, this term - and new research, compiled by Bet-Bonus-Codes.co.uk, has shown how Newcastle's passing stats compare to other top-flight sides.

The research analysed this season’s Premier League Opta passing data for balls played in excess of 35 yards, and found that 21.2 per cent of Newcastle's passes this season exceeded the distance.

That was the fourth highest figure in the top division, with only Cardiff (23.1 per cent), Brighton (21.8 per cent) and Burnley (21.5 per cent) racking up more passes over 35 yards.

As many would expect, Pep Guardiola's Manchester City side have played the lowest proportion of passes over 35 yards this campaign (6.5 per cent), followed by Chelsea (6.6 per cent), Liverpool (9.2 per cent), Arsenal (9.7 per cent) and Tottenham (11 per cent).

However, the following findings may come as more of a surprise.

As shown by Newcastle's 2-1 victory over the Cherries, long passes up to a powerful striker like Rondon can be effective.

Yet, the data also showed the teams which play highest percentage of long passes are less successful when trying to execute them.

Of Newcastle's 3899 passes this season, the Magpies have attempted 828 passes over 35 yards, with 329 of them finding their mark.

That's a success rate of 39.7 per cent, the third lowest in the division.

Only Cardiff (35.6 per cent) and Brighton (38.3 per cent) have a worse pass completion rates when attempting passes over 35 yards, while Burnley (42.3 per cent) and Southampton (42.4 per cent) aren't far behind.

Chelsea have been the most successful team in this department, landing 352 of their 575 attempted passes over 35 yards (61.2 per cent).

They are followed by City (59.5 per cent), Liverpool (54 per cent), Arsenal (52.1 per cent) and Manchester United (51.8 per cent).