28/05/2024
Newcastle Jets have become one of the most impressive teams under the helm of Arthur Papas (Photo via Newcastle Jets/Twitter)

Newcastle Jets have become one of the most impressive teams under the helm of Arthur Papas (Photo via Newcastle Jets/Twitter)

Arthur Papas has dramatically changed around the club culture and winning belief at Newcastle Jets in a matter of months and The Inner Sanctum takes a look at how the club has faired under the helm of the 41-year-old manager.

Arthur Papas has dramatically changed around the club culture and winning belief at Newcastle Jets in a matter of months and The Inner Sanctum takes a look at how the club has faired under the helm of the 41-year-old manager.

It has been a rocky few years for Newcastle Jets fans with the club thrown into turmoil in the backend of the 2019/20 season after the first COVID-19 affected season in the A-League and with the departure of former-coach Carl Robinson and various players to Western Sydney Wanderers.

That time period also includes former Newcastle Jets owner Martin Lee being stripped of his license due to going bankrupt and nearly sending the club into liquidation, which forced the FFA’s hand to once again save the club from disappearing off the Australian Football landscape.

The Hunter-based club finished in 11th position and only picked up five wins across the campaign that saw the club occupy no foreign spots, becoming the only club in the 2020/21 season to do so.

After the season concluded it was an exodus of staff and players who had departed from the Jets opening the door on a new chapter for the Arthur Papas reign to begin.

Papas returned to Newcastle in June 2021 after a 10-year spell away from the club ( Photo via Newcastle Jets Website )

So in his short time at Newcastle Jets, what has the young Australian coach actually been able to achieve and implement?

He has already drawn eyes to the Newcastle squad, with the ability to score goals at what seems like relative ease as well as his style of Football that has drawn comparisons to current Celtic FC manager Ange Postecoglou.

Papas served as an assistant to Postecoglou at Yokohama F. Marinos during both the Australian’s tenures at the Japanese giants.

It has also been the ability of Papas to dramatically turn around the club culture of Newcastle, a club that was tied to the bottom of the A-League ladder and that was spiralling out of control for some time.

When speaking to the media, Papas commented on the current culture of the club.

“We just came in with a clear belief of where we want to go with our program,” he said.

“It’s still got a long way to go, this interruption really highlights it I think.

“The main focus is around the way we want to play and behave as a group.

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Counter Attacking Build-up Phase

The Jets have received support from fans across the A-League this season for their quick and wide counter-attacking football played under Arthur Papas so far this season in their five games and the team’s ability to move the ball quickly in tight areas.

Papas’s squad is currently the league leader for any side in the A-League that has completed the most passes per 90 minutes.

They are averaging 551.2 passes per 90 compared with second place Sydney who have an average of 465.1 passes per 90 minutes.

While being a quick and counter-attacking side, the Jets rarely play long and only 5.4 per cent of the passes played so far this season by Newcastle have been a long ball further reiterating the fact that under Papas the Jets have a clear tactical identity to maintain possession at all times.

Newcastle have been one of the inform sides to watch so far this season ( Photo via Newcastle Jets Twitter )

They also play the least progressive passes out of any team in the competition, showing a clear reluctance to over-commit in attacking numbers and be patient to knock around short balls into wide areas and force the opposition to come out and defend in numbers.

Frequently a CDM will drop between the lines to receive a pass from a fullback when playing out, and this allows the team to progress further up the field quicker with much shorter passes rather than long balls from full-backs into strikers.

Paired with the lighting counter-attacking ability that Newcastle possesses under Papas, the Jets allow the opposition to engage more frequently, choosing to settle in their shape before engaging defensively on the opponents.

The Firing Foreigners

The Newcastle Jets head coach mainly opted to recruit his foreign players of Beka Mikeltadze, Olivier Boumal and Savvas Siatravanis from his knowledge of the Greek League especially Xanthi FC, where he recruited Mikeltadze, Siatravanis and former Socceroo Matthew Jurman from.

Mario Arques was brought in as a replacement signing for the now-departed and current Hearts FC key player Cameron Devlin, while there is one Brazilian player who has already etched his name into Jets folklore.

23-year-old Daniel Penha was identified through a scouting system used by Papas and his volume of impressive stats is what caused Newcastle Jets to bring the youngster in on loan from Atlético Mineiro.

Beka Mikeltadze and Daniel Penha have been two key players for Newcastle Jets this season ( Photo via Newcastle Jets/Twitter)

His short stint so far at the Jets has been nothing short of extremely impressive. The creative attacker announced himself in style on debut, firing a free-kick into the top-right hand corner from distance against Western United and has backed up his debut performance in style with great performances week in week out.

The Georgian international Mikeltadze has started the season firing, with the 23-year old currently joint-top A-League Men goalscorer with four goals in five games including one assist and he is also one the most fouled players in the league currently.

Cameroonian winger Boumal has also started the season slightly impressive, with the powerful winger providing headaches for any A-League Men defence with his flair and power down the flanks and his efforts have been awarded with one goal and two assists in five games.

The Newcastle Football Style

One of the reasons Papas was hired at Newcastle was to reinstate a footballing identity in the Hunter.

The change has been much needed and Papas’ short tenure at the club has rung in large support so far for the manager.

The 41-year-old opened up on what it means to be a part of Newcastle Jets and why it is so important for Newcastle to have a footballing identity.

Papas has been involved at Newcastle before becoming head-coach, being assistant to Gary Van Egmond in 2010-11

“(It’s) the type of football we want to play, the type of football that resonates with the community more importantly,” he concluded.

“(And) how we want to represent our community and our city because it is an amazing place.

“I think we have amazing supporters, from my side they obviously haven’t had the best of years as well.

“They just really want to see the team have a go so we’ve tried to create a game that is extremely aggressive.

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