Aleksandar Mitrovic passed up a number of chances on Saturday, though he did make Adrian in the away goal work a number of times.
For once Newcastle had a lot more shots on target than the opposition, with the stats (see below) showing 10 compared to only three from West Ham, with Mitrovic having a decent proportion of those NUFC strikes at goal.
However, a goal from the former Anderlecht striker would have just been the ‘icing on the cake’ for Mitrovic according to Jermaine Jenas.
The former Newcastle and England midfielder thought that Mitrovic played a massive part in Newcastle’s 2-1 win, despite not getting on the scoresheet himself.
Jenas says that you can’t ‘underestimate’ what the centre forward did for his team in seeing out the victory, particularly when Newcastle were under pressure in the second half as West Ham strived for an equaliser.
Mitrovic regularly coming back, winning the ball, then setting up attacks to relieve the pressure and on a number of occasions, could and should have led to a killer third goal.
As for the number 45’s own scoring efforts, he has been so starved of service until recent times, it is no wonder that he is taking time to relax and do what comes naturally, which brought him 44 goals in only two seasons in the admittedly weaker Belgian league.
With Jonjo Shelvey, the early signs are very positive that he could be the catalyst for opening up a more creative Newcastle United, which is what Steve McClaren sees his primary role as being.
Newcastle had 23 shots in total on Saturday and it was noticeable that Shelvey himself was always willing to have a go from distance, something that has been totally lacking from the NUFC team for far too long.
One of those long range efforts was blocked but eventually deflected into Mitrovic’s path and he brought a great save out of Adrian, once again showing that a willingness to have a go can lead to chances and goals, whether the initial hit goes in or not.
Newcastle has become far too predictable, with all attacking play coming down the right and no threat at all from the middle of the park.
Fingers crossed that Jonjo Shelvey can build on his excellent debut and there is every chance that Aleksandar Mitrovic will end up the main beneficiary of that.
Jermaine Jenas speaking on Match of The Day:
“Mitrovic was another player (who played well)…because in the second half West Ham did step it up, putting Newcastle under a lot of pressure.
“Mitrovic defused that by holding the ball up very well, coming back and trying to get his team up the pitch.
“You can’t underestimate when you are under pressure, (the difference) your centre forward doing this makes.
“It was just a shame he couldn’t put the icing on the cake.”
Here are the stats from BBC Sport:
Possession was 50% Newcastle and 50% West Ham
Total shots was 23 for Newcastle and West Ham 10
Shots on target was Newcastle 10 and West Ham 3
While corners was Newcastle 3 and West Ham 3
Team: Elliot, Janmaat, Coloccini, Mbemba, Dummett (Saivet 57), Colback, Shelvey, Sissoko, Wijnaldum, Perez (Gouffran 80), Mitrovic (Lascelles 90+5)
Unused Subs: Darlow, Aarons, Riviere, Toney
Ref: Neil Swarbrick
(To view the player ratings by fans and to add your own go HERE)