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Opinion

Is Steve Bruce allowed to drop Joelinton?

6 days ago
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Rather bizarrely, the Joelinton issue has been overshadowed by a concentration on another player.

The media determined to put up Miguel Almiron as the biggest problem at Newcastle United.

Preferring to repeatedly ask the question as to why the Paraguayan isn’t scoring goals, rather than the Brazilian.

Almiron has made 22 Premier League starts to the 13 of Joelinton but it ignores the fact that whilst one is playing as an out and out centre-forward, the other is out of position as a very deep right sided midfield player/winger who has to spend the majority of his time as an extra defender.

I like both players but the Joelinton question/position is surely the most baffling one.

It would make zero sense to leave out Miguel Almiron, unless that is of course we had a completely different playing style. As it stands with Steve Bruce insisting on defending so deep, nobody could do a better job than Almiron is doing as his pace and workrate help Newcastle to keep the number of goals conceded down.

For Joelinton it is very much different, in my opinion.

Yes he has contributed in other ways but to have a centre-forward who never really gets into goalscoring positions, never mind scoring goals, is a massive problem.

I felt really sorry for him on Monday night. Newcastle lying so deep in that first half and Joelinton hardly touching the ball, the striker spending the 45 minutes doing a lone job of trying to hassle the Villa defence as they passed it about, whilst his NUFC teammates were on orders not to press too high and simply leaving the Brazilian with a thankless and pointless task.

It was telling that when Newcastle had a very rare bit of possession in the attacking half, Joelinton did really well and kept the ball, running towards the opposition goal with a number of defenders around him, the camera panning back and not one single other Newcastle player had bothered crossing the halfway line to support him in any way.

I remember a similar incident earlier in the season at Norwich, Joelinton in a similar position and the rest of the team under orders or at least in such a negative mindset, that they made no effort to help.

There are so many questions about the buying of Joelinton but now the most obvious one, is how on earth is he still picked every single game?

This is not to write him off.

It is simply a case of no other club would bring in a 22 year old inexperienced (only 25 starts in a major (Bundesliga) league previously) centre-forward, throw him straight in and keep him starting every single game, when it clearly isn’t working.

For Mike Ashley to suddenly agree…no, insist(!), on paying £40m for a striker who had achieved so little, didn’t make any kind of sense for football reasons.

To then keep playing him every single game makes no football sense either. It is almost as though somebody with no football sense is insisting he stays in the team regardless, maybe the same person who insisted that this was a striker Newcastle had to pay £40m for?

That old thing about insanity described as doing the same thing over and over again but expecting a different outcome, certainly seems to apply here.

Steve Bruce must surely know that at times you need to take a step back in order to go forward again, so putting Joelinton on the bench and then bringing him on for 25 minutes, you might actually get more out of him.

To have other options such as Gayle and to a lesser extent Carroll sitting there watching on, makes absolutely no sense.

So is Steve Bruce allowed to drop Joelinton?

Friday morning…

Keith Downie of Sky Sports:

“Steve Bruce says he’ll persevere with the mid-firing front 3 of Almiron, Joelinton and Saint-Maximin for tomorrow’s match with Man City.

“Insisting he’s happy with what they’re bringing to the team despite their lack of goals.”

So Joelinton set to make his 14th start of the season in Newcastle United’s 14th Premier League game of the campaign…

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