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Opinion

Major worry as no attacking help for Newcastle United arriving in this crucial period

3 months ago
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Once Miguel Almiron arrived, Newcastle United became a much more threatening attacking unit.

Having scored only 21 goals in the first 25 Premier League matches, NUFC suddenly racked up another 21 in the final 13 games.

Ironically, Almiron didn’t score or get an assist in any of them, BUT he did add a vital cog that meant the team worked, that Rafa Benitez felt his team could be more expansive, with Almiron and Perez supporting Rondon and also dropping back to help the defence as well.

Forgetting about how/why it happened for the moment, Newcastle somehow ended up having to go back to square one in terms of attackng formation.

Miguel Almiron coming back late due to international duty and walking into a chaotic situation.

Rondon and Perez gone, Joelinton, Allan Saint-Maximin and Andy Carroll coming in, as well as Dwight Gayle back from his loan move.

Could the new look squad work when it comes to creativity and goals?

The simple answer so far is that there is little evidence that it is going to work in any way up to that final months of last season level.

Joelinton looks a good signing and has done quite well, got the winner at Spurs.

However, it is a massive worry just how few chances have been created and very few players getting into the box looking like they are going to score.

You might say Steve Bruce/Newcastle have been unlucky to an extent but much of it is self-inflicted.

Mike Ashley and Steve Bruce knew Dwight Gayle was knackered for at least the opening schedule and yet apart from Joelinton, only Andy Carroll arrived to fill the striking vacancies, a forward who has a shocking injury/fitness record and who when he was signed they knew he wouldn’t be available for some time.

To then cap it all, ASM had a hamstring problem and only returned to full training on the Friday, then Steve Bruce played him only 48 ours later and he picked up a far worse injury due to playing too soon.

These are the Newcastle United fixtures coming up:

Saturday 14 September – Liverpool v Newcastle

Saturday 21 September – Newcastle v Brighton

Sunday 29 September – Leicester v Newcastle

Sunday 6 October – Newcastle v Man Utd

Saturday 19 October – Chelsea v Newcastle

Sunday 27 October – Newcastle v Wolves

Saturday 2 November – West Ham v Newcastle (Could move for Live TV)

After that West Ham match, Newcastle will have played 11 PL games.

How many goals and points can they manage to add in this period?

On Tuesday (see below) Steve Bruce put a brave face on it but basically admitted that we are surely looking at late October before any of Carroll, Gayle and ASM are available. With Gayle and Carroll I think it is a big if, as to when we will ever see them.

If anything happens to Joelinton in the meantime then what would be the plan B?

We can’t be relying on Fabian Schar every week…

Steve Bruce talking to The Chronicle on Tuesday:

“The major ones [injuries] we’re talking about – Dwight [Gayle], Andy Carroll and Saint-Maximin – they are a big three to get fit.

“I can’t see any of them being available for this weekend against Liverpool but two of them are progressing.

“Andy, we’ll have to still be patient. However, for the first time today, he joined in with the group to a degree. He only took part in half of the session, non contact, but it’s good to see him out kicking a ball again. I always knew that it would be towards the end of this month and halfway through the next month really.

“Dwight’s a big disappointment for me because I have now been here for seven, eight weeks but this injury has not got any better – which is a big concern to all of us.

“Of course, Saint-Maximin is now doing his rehabilitation work. He’s out on the grass. I think we have got to build his fitness levels before we treat his hamstring so there is a bit of a conundrum with him at the moment because he hasn’t really done any pre-season. Because of the knock backs he’s had and the injuries, we haven’t been able to get him up to speed to the level I think he requires.”

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