Without Gini Wijnaldum’s goals, you wonder just where Newcastle would be.
Well you can probably sum it up in two words…Aston Villa.
Newcastle’s top scorer by some distance with eight goals so far, all five matches when the Dutchman has scored, United have picked up points.
Wins over Norwich and Liverpool, plus draws against Chelsea, Southampton and Manchester United have helped supply exactly half of Newcastle’s measly total of 18 points.
Wijnaldum joined a team that had struggled for goals in recent seasons, last year’s total of only 40 was even beaten by QPR who finished rock bottom of the Premier League.
With Mitrovic struggling and Florian Thauvin allegedly already on his way back to France, such has been his total lack of form, Wijnaldum has a big responsibility in this team.
The only natural goalscorer at the club (with Adam Armstrong out on loan), the former PSV midfielder passed up glorious chances against both Arsenal and Manchester United before his exquisite volley pulled Newcastle back into Tuesday night’s contest.
Hopefully both Henri Saivet and Jonjo Shelvey can help to spread around the responsibility of creating and scoring goals but regardless of what they bring to the table, Wijnaldum says he understands if with him being top scorer, there is extra expectation on him to score the goals to help rescue Newcastle this season:
“Because I’m the (top) goalscorer for the club, maybe people look at it that way, I look at it that way also because I know I can score and help the team.
“I put that (weight of expectation) on my shoulders. I want to score more goals also, but I am more busy creating chances than scoring the goals – without creating chances, you can’t score goals.
“There were a few games this season where I didn’t have a lot of chances, one or two, because I was playing on the left side.
“But now I am focused again on creating chances, when they come I must focus and score goals.
“I know that the weight is on my shoulders, but I’m happy with that, because they (other players) have a lot of faith in me to score goals. I know I can do that – I am focused on doing that.”