It’s safe to say that Newcastle midfielder Isaac Hayden is not the most popular player on Tyneside.

The ex-Arsenal man has been vocal about wanting to leave the club this season, and it hasn’t exactly endeared him to supporters.

However, unfortunately for the player and the club, injury problems and lack of squad depth have made an escape for Hayden unlikely.

(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)


Injuries to Mo Diame and Jonjo Shelvey in the past few months have seen the midfielder suddenly become a vital player once again.

But The Chronicle reported at the start of the month that despite a return to the first team, Hayden is still looking to leave Newcastle.

Naturally this has left some fans bemused with his recent performances.

The defensive midfielder has now featured in Newcastle’s last five matches and has been met with mixed opinions from Toon fans.

However, perhaps somewhat astonishingly, Hayden has now been featured in Sky’s Top 50 in-form player’s list.

Have outside factors clouded Newcastle fan’s opinions of Hayden, or has he been an unsung hero for the team?

Isaac Hayden – One of the Premier League’s best?

The Sky Sports Power Rankings are a weekly publication which rank the most in-form players in the Premier League.

They do this by observing a player’s performance over their last five Premier League matches and awarding points for 32 different stats.

More recent matches are given heavier weighting to best reflect the most in-form player.

The most recent table is shown here:

As you can see, Hayden has sneaked into the Top 50 at number 43, one place higher than Eden Hazard.

This is slightly bizarre, as Hazard has scored two goals and made one assist in his last five matches.

The Chelsea forward has also helped his side to three wins and a draw in that time.

Hayden meanwhile has mainly contributed defensively to Newcastle so has no stand-out attacking stats.

But he’s also only won one once with Newcastle in his last five matches.

So why exactly is he rated so highly?

Investigating Hayden’s form

The truth is that Hayden’s Sky ranking is probably based on his most recent performance.

He played an understated role in Newcastle’s 3-0 victory over Cardiff, providing plenty of cover for the back line.

The midfielder managed five interceptions and three clearances. He also proved important when defending crosses, winning six aerial duels.

In fact, he perhaps doesn’t get enough credit for his defensive work.

Much like Diame, fans can often end up focusing on a player’s attacking contributions rather than their team efforts.

In the ten league games he has played, Hayden has won four and drawn two of them. That’s a fantastic win ratio given Newcastle’s current predicament.

He’s also made 23 tackles in that time, which is only just a slightly worse average than Mo Diame’s 63 in 21 appearances.

Although it’s hard to support someone who wants away from the club, you can’t fault Hayden’s efforts.

Of course cynics will claim his good performances are just him looking to raise his stock, but is that a bad thing?

Hayden is clearly a professional, and he performs his role well more often than not.

(Photo by Mark Fletcher/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

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