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This is excellent on why Joelinton isn’t working…or is he?

2 years ago

Fair to say the jury is still out on Joelinton.

The then 22 year old brought in this summer to carry the main burden of replacing the 25 Premier League goals from last season, that were lost when Mike Ashley sold Ayoze Perez and didn’t allow an offer to be made for Salomon Rondon.

The Brazilian had never scored more than eight goals in a season and that was in the weak Austrian league.

However, he had scored seven Bundesliga goals last season and got five assists, though playing wide in an attacking trio for Hoffenheim.

Despite that it was insisted that Joelinton is a centre-forward and main goalscorer, not a wide attacking player.

There has still been no explanation as to why Mike Ashley was so insistent on Newcastle having to spend £40m on this particular player, having only allowed Rafa Benitez to spend more than £10m on a single player for the first time since promotion in January, when Almiron arrived.

Whatever those Ashley reasons were, the fact is we have a £40m striker with only one goal in nine games.

So what is the reason(s) for this?

An excellent report from The Athletic might have the answer, or at least a large part of it.

They posed this question (and answered it) ahead of this weekend’s Premier League action.

‘Who is your team’s true playmaker? This new metric has the answer’

The Athletic reporting:

‘What constitutes a playmaker?

‘In official terms, it exclusively refers to players who are regular assisters. 

But that only refers to a specific part of playmaking. Look at it from another perspective — literally “making the play” — and it seems to refer to a different type of footballer entirely, someone who operates deeper and prompts the passing moves which eventually culminate with an assist and a goal. The term “deep-lying playmaker” covers this a little more but that specifically refers to a holding midfielder with a good passing range. What if a team’s true playmaker, the man who makes the play, is actually a full-back? Or a centre-forward?

To take account of passing contributions that aren’t credited with an assist or a “key pass”, a worthwhile exercise is counting the ‘shot-ending sequence involvements’, to use Opta’s definition, of each player. In other words, rather than just crediting the final passer, you can go back and credit every player involved in the passing move leading up to the goal.

Sometimes, this is particularly important because the most impressive contribution to a goal comes from neither the goalscorer nor the assister.’

When they looked at each Premier League club, they discovered which player in each team had been involved the most times in passing sequences that ended up with a shot.

Not surprisingly, they found that overwhelmingly it was midfield players in most cases, indeed that being true for 15 Premier League clubs.

An interesting oddity was a 16th, a defender. However, this was Alexander-Arnold for Liverpool, who spends so much time marauding forward rather than defending.

Now we get to the interesting part about Joelinton and indeed three other clubs/players.

The Athletic reporting on the other four club and their main ‘playmaker’:

‘These are Burnley’s Ashley Barnes, Bournemouth’s Callum Wilson, Newcastle’s Joelinton and Wolves’ Raul Jimenez.

‘It’s significant that these are the four Premier League sides who have averaged the least possession this season — there’s less opportunity for players in deeper positions to contribute to shots.’

The report found that before this weekend’s games, Ashley Barnes had been involved in 25 passing moves that ended in a shot, for either themselves or a teammate.

Callum Wilson was top for Bournemouth, having been involved in 26 passing sequences that ended in a shot, whilst Raul Jimenez at Wolves was the same at his club with 30.

However, Joelinton was top at Newcastle with the highest of any with involvement in 34 passing sequences ending in a shot for an NUFC player this season.

So whilst the Brazilian has missed a few decent chances, this report shows that his overall contribution to the team has been key to the relative positives that there have been.

The question now is can Steve Bruce chance his tactics and not be so negative, get more possession and get the team higher up the pitch so that Joelinton can help out in the build up and drop deep at times BUT get himself into the penalty area far more and the team create a decent number of chances for himself and other players.


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