Last season Dwight Gayle scored 23 goals despite only starting 26 Championship matches.

Despite this, I always got the feeling that Newcastle fans truly appreciated how good he was and indeed, how good he had been for the team.

When Gayle signed for Rafa Benitez in summer 2016, pundits were universally surprised that he’d been willing to drop back into the Championship, with the common belief that even at £10m the striker represented a bit of a bargain in the prevailing transfer market.

With his Championship rival Chris Wood going to Burnley this summer for £15m, Newcastle clearly got value for money when they bought Gayle, a striker with surely more Premier League quality/potential than the now former Leeds man.

A bit like last season, I think Newcastle fans are being slow to appreciate that Dwight Gayle is once again showing he is more than good enough for the top tier.

He clearly wasn’t 100% in those opening two matches against Spurs and Huddersfield, plus got almost zero service in those games.

However, since returning for the Bournemouth match it has been a different matter, although the supply chain has only got marginally better.

A wrongly disallowed goal against Bournemouth, a very good goal against second placed Man Utd, a blank v Watford, then another goal yesterday against third placed Chelsea.

What’s more though is that his fitness/sharpness is definitely back as well, putting proper pressure on defenders when Newcastle don’t have possession, something which Joselu, Perez and Mitro are incapable of doing.

Despite this, many supporters are overlooking what to me is obvious.

The lack of goals overall (14 in 15 PL games now), along with the desperate state of Joselu and the Mitrovic sideshow, has led Newcastle fan unhappiness with the team/attacking side in general, to mean Gayle hasn’t been given the proper credit.

Bottom line is that Dwight Gayle simply needs more help.

With Diame and Perez behind him, little wonder that after his 12th minute strike Gayle struggled.

Apart from set-pieces Matt Ritchie hasn’t really delivered in a creative sense this season, whilst the contribution from the other wing has been poor to average.

Mikel Merino and Jonjo Shelvey are two players who can potentially help deliver a better supply line but they also need more assistance, which 100% has to be added to this squad in January.

I think it is obvious that Rafa Benitez knows Dwight Gayle is his only striker fit for purpose and has to look after him accordingly, so no wonder he rested him against West Brom in midweek to try and help avoid him breaking down again by playing too often.

Since joining Crystal Palace in 2013 his record has been excellent when getting the chance.

Due to injuries and Palace using him sparingly, since summer 2013 Dwight Gayle has started only 59 league matches but scored an impressive 40 goals in the Championship and Premier League.

Even when you add in substitute appearances, in total he has played 5,443 minutes of league football in that time period, the 40 goals (23 in Championship and 17 in Premier League) coming at a rate of one every 136 minutes.

It is early days but for me, Dwight Gayle is showing that he is the player/striker who can make the difference for Newcastle this season.

With Mikel Merino and Jonjo Shelvey fully fit and Rafa finding a way for them to play in the same team, they can help Gayle to keep scoring in the meantime, before a player of similar quality or better can be added in January to play alongside/behind Gayle for the rest of the season.

If you really still think Mitrovic is the answer ahead of Dwight Gayle, then I don’t really know what to say. I think maybe Mitro should be used a little more as an impact sub but with his inability be able to run around, he has no place in the kind of team Rafa Benitez is looking to play this season to bring about survival.

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  • Leazes Ender

    He wasn’t hiding…he’s just a very small man…. very, very small.

    • Geordiegiants

      There is only one very small man.

  • Phil Yare

    exactly, yet loads of people quick to relegate him to the desperate levels of joselu and perez.
    any toon fan who actually analyses the game will know that the best chance of putting the ball in the net would be to play gayle and mitrovic together (and that’s not to say they are world beaters or a dream partnership)
    perez and joselu have no bite and the latter no quality of any sort

    • Leazes Ender

      Not whilst playing a bus formation set deep…. he’s a poacher…. you can’t poach goals from your own half.

      • Phil Yare

        indeed. but he has some legs where as joselu has the mobility of a cone

    • Mike Adam

      His two goals have been quite lucky, a slipping defender and a ball coming to his feet with keeper out of the play. But another great question for stubborn Rafa, why have Mitro and Gayle not been tried together??? Oh that is right, we are knocking in goals left and right! Like this ridiculous article and the title ” Necastle United ‘discover’ Premier League goalscorer hiding in their ranks”. The writing is on the wall, the ridiculous Rafa is not going to play Mitro, so please sell him. Also, he is not going to give Aarons a chance so loan him out or sell him. And now Shelvey is in the Rafa doghouse!

      • 1957

        It would be interesting if a bid for Mitrovic came in from one of our rivals at the bottom of the table…would Benitez take it and risk Mitrovic performing well in the PL with regular starts.

        • Mike Adam

          It certainly would!

        • Jezza

          If such a bid did come in it would not be Rafa’s decision whether or not to accept it.

          • GToon

            It might not be but one thing is certain and that is Mitro would want to go. And that part of the equation is down to Rafa unfortunately.

      • Phil Yare

        its a daft title for the article i agree. seems like the only time gayle and mitro where on the pitch at the same time is when we somehow turned a 1-3 defeat into a 4-3 win (admittedly it may have been 2-3 when they were both on the pitch) – like i have said i’m not saying its a dream partnership but it shows its worth trying again especially when we are so weak in attack
        and with regard to how lucky his goals were all i can say he was in the right place at the right time. afterall its not like joselu and perez have been unlucky….just poor all round

      • GToon

        His two goals have been quite lucky but I doubt Joselu would have scored either of them.

      • nufcslf

        In a results business, it does look really bad and very pointed at the players you mention not getting played or very little say. Totally sh*t on by Cashley, but there are players that deserve a chance that could very well do the job and help get some much needed points. You just can’t have fovourites when results are happening. We shalk see.

  • Leicester Mag

    To the best of my recollection we have played 1 game with Mitro and Gayle from the off and we won that 6-1 away. Will it work in the PL? We may never know because it has not been tried. Fair enough if plan A was any good but it’s not.

    • Mal

      If you’re thinking about QPR away last year, I was there and it was Mitro and Perez in a 6 0 win. Can’t recall us getting 6 away anywhere else.

      • Phil Yare

        i thought that too. mitro and gayle had 20 minutes 4-3 norwich. and we were losing before that

  • Paul Patterson

    ‘Natural finisher starts games and scores goals’ shock.

  • Damon Horner

    Best natural finisher at the club. If we’re going to win games it will be most likely because of his abilities and an improved shape and defence.

  • Albert Stubbins

    We need another fifteen goals from him this season otherwise statistics tell us that we’re f*****. Desperately need another striker in January as we all know!!

    • Kneebotherm8

      We needed another striker before the the season started as we all know but our wonderful owner let us,and Rafa,down badly.
      He’s undermined the manager big style and he’s succeeded in getting a good few fans on Rafa’s back with some actually wanting him replaced.
      F/off Ashley ASAP.

      • Mike Adam

        That is not why we are on his back!

  • hetonmag

    Said it before and I will say it again if we had any of the top strikers in the premier they would struggle to score goals in this team it’s all about the supply line I’m afraid.

  • If we can get another decent winger and proper fullbacks who deliver proper service Gayle will score you 15 goals per season in the EPL, he has that Poacher instinct and finishing. If we could only get more proper balls in the box for him, but at this time we don’t have the quality.

  • Leicester Mag

    Reading in Chronic that Mitro in line to return Andelect in Jan as Rafa can’t trust him. All I know is every time I see Hos / Perez and Dime bar on the team sheet I can trust them, eye to be shyt!

    • 1957

      Seems he doesn’t trust Shelvey now !

  • 1957

    I think most people thought Gayle could get goals, the doubts existed over his ability to play the lone striker role he filled in the Championship at a higher level and for me yesterday proved he couldn’t, the ball went forward he was outmuscled by three defenders and the ball came straight back. To me he would be much more successful playing just behind or alongside another striker, but so far this season he has had Hoss, Perez and SloMo for company. Having exhausted those possibilities, Benitez should take stock and use the only other option open to him and pair Mitrovic and Gayle at least until he can hopefully sign and alternative in January.

    But then again I expect Hoss to make a return next week and continue to entertain us to Rivieresque air shots and weak efforts

    • Mike Adam

      Exactly, but Rafa won’t, WHY?????????

    • MadMag83

      Well said.

  • anyobrien

    I like gayle needs a run in the team

    • Phil Yare

      definitely. hes had a fraction of time on the pitch compared to the 2 useless spaniards.
      i don’t know why people are criticising him. it’s not like hes going to out muscle 3 centrebacks or flick the ball on for himself. hes a poacher and needs adequate support

      • GToon

        Exactly. In the same way goal king Cole had Sellars and then Beardsley.

        • Phil Yare

          funny enough i was thinking of andy cole. a lot of games he didn’t contribute much but when we made things happen in the box and his reactions were electric.

      • anyobrien

        Play to his strengths and he will score