Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Q: Where Could United Be in the Premiership If Michael Owen Has Not Been Injured in the Summer? A: Third in the Table

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Q: Where Could United Be in the Premiership If Michael Owen Has Not Been Injured in the Summer? A: Third in the Table

Article excerpt

Byline: By Lee Ryder

Newcastle United's season so far without Michael Owen and Alan Shearer has been a major, major disappointment.

We knew a long time ago that Shearer wouldn't be around this term.

But with Owen heading to the World Cup with just 29 minutes of play under his belt in a black-and-white shirt before the summer, the hope was the ex-Real Madrid man would come back to Tyneside fresh and raring to go for his first full campaign with United.

The rest, as they say, is history, and after Owen shattered his knee in England's final World Cup group game, one of the big questions on the lips of Toon fans has been ( just where would Newcastle be this season had he been fit?

Well the answer is THIRD in the Premiership table according to the company behind best-selling computer simulation game Championship Manager. The game uses statistics provided by ProZone ( a software package used by Europe's top clubs.

England boss Steve McClaren swears by ProZone which is a programme that, thanks to specially-placed cameras around a football pitch and a very clever computer, analyses players' performances.

Player speed, distances covered, areas where they are most active, and tackles made can all be measured.

And by using Owen's stats from a previous season the boffins at the offices of Championship Manager 2007 have chalked United's latest position in the table as top-three material ( with the England man's goals, of course.

Championship Manager's Billy Partridge said: "The guys here simulated all of the games and it's clear by placing Owen in alongside everybody else using their stats that he would have made a difference.

"Newcastle sit pretty in third position, and Owen has bagged eight goals in only 12 games ( including a hat-trick in a 5-0 demolition of Sheffield United."

United's alternative season would also have seen them win at Aston Villa, Man United and improve their win at West Ham by two more goals. …

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