Finally time for Newcastle United to change it around up front with trip to Villa
It is finally time for Newcastle United to make the change.
Not talking about a permanent switch, at least not necessarily, but at Villa Park I think NUFC need to make more than the enforced change(s) at the back.
We all know what the strengths and weaknesses of Newcastle United have been this season.
The weakness has been the lack of goals from the £80m trio up front.
The strength has been the goalkeeper and centre-backs putting in some great defensive performances AND the defenders scoring goals to make up the shortfall.
We all know that the front trio perform other roles as well BUT you can’t keep ignoring the elephant in the room.
The strikers need to start scoring goals or else this decent start to the season could/would be wasted.
The thing is as well, you can’t kid yourself that the defenders scoring the bulk of the goals is part of some clever plan. Instead it has been a mixture of luck and commitment from those NUFC players to get on the end of the relatively small number of chances to fall their way.
The Bournemouth game was a prime example with both Yedlin and Clark showing the ambition and commitment to get on the end of things, with luck helping to dictate via deflections that the chances came their way.
You do have to ask yourself why this doesn’t happen for the front three, why do Almiron, ASM and Joelinton pick up at least the odd cheap goal by making the right run and things falling their way. Is it simply a case of none of them being natural finishers unlike say Ciaran Clark with five goals in his last 12 Premier League appearances?
As we all know, Miguel Almiron has not scored a league goal since 11 November 2018.
Not as well known, Allan Saint-Maximin hasn’t scored in a league match since 26 January 2019.
As for Joelinton, just that one league goal since 2 March 2019.
For Newcastle United this season, it is a combined 32 appearances and 2,460 minutes on the pitch for a return of only one goal.
I think it is obvious that Almiron and Saint-Maximin are vital to how the team operates, running with the ball and getting Newcastle further up the pitch, we don’t have any viable alternatives to them.
However, I think it is a little different with Joelinton.
He has done ok in some ways but he simply hasn’t delivered goals and indeed never really looked like doing so.
I think it is time to mix it up and get Dwight Gayle on the pitch.
He scored 14 goals in his final 20 league starts last season and scored 24 in 34 starts (plus six sub appearances) for West Brom.
Yes I know it was the second tier but I think he is still a natural goalscorer and his one season for NUFC in the Premier League saw him needing to do so much donkey work, along with so little service, he was never going to score loads of goals. Yes six goals was disappointing but he was only a few down on what we could have hoped for or expected.
I think with Almiron and ASM to help, Gayle’s pace could cause real problems and deliver goals now in the Premier League.
It is a mystery to me why he has only been given five minutes in two very brief sub appearances by Steve Bruce.
Newcastle have got 10 matches in these next 40 days so they will need to chop and change anyway, especially up front.
Get Dwight Gayle on the pitch to give it everything for the first hour tonight and then give Joelinton the luxury of coming on for the final 30 minutes against a tiring defence. I think we could see a double bonus of Dwight Gayle contributing and Joelinton also taking advantage.
It makes even more sense when Jonjo Shelvey is in the team as that is his big talent dropping the ball over the top of the defence for somebody quick like Gayle to get on the end of, both in creating chances and simply getting Newcastle up the pitch.
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