Newcastle United need to follow the goals to avoid disaster
It is shameful the way that Steve Bruce has claimed Newcastle United had far more serious problems to deal with than other clubs, due to long-term injuries to attacking players.
The reality is that Callum Wilson only missed being named in 11 of the 38 Premier League matchday 18 man squads, Miguel Almiron was missing from only 2 of the 38, Joelinton only 1 of 38, whilst Allan Saint-Maximin was in 25 of the 38 PL matchday squads, whilst was involved in all of the final 15 PL matchday squads after he arrived in February but Steve Bruce only started him in 11 of the 15.
What is not in dispute is that when it came to goals, Newcastle United were indebted to so few key players.
Newcastle United scored 46 goals in the 38 Premier League games of 2020/21 and this is the goals share out:
12 Callum Wilson
8 Joe Willock
4 Joelinton, Miguel Almiron
3 Allan Saint-Maximin
2 Jamaal Lascelles, Jacob Murphy, Jeff Hendrick
1 Jonjo Shelvey, Andy Carroll, Ciaran Clark, Paul Dummett, Dwight Gayle, Emile Krafth, Fabian Schar
(2 Own goals)
It doesn’t take a genius to work out the key Newcastle United weakness.
Once you take out the two own goals, of the 20 Premier League goals scored by NUFC, Wilson and Willock got 20 of them, over 45% of the PL goals that Newcastle players scored.
Basically, take those two out of the equation and Newcastle United have absolutely no reliable goalscorers, at least none that can realistically be expected to score many inside Steve Bruce’s usual very negative set up.
Newcastle United / Steve Bruce got so so lucky because the 20 goals from Wilson and Willock came from only a combined 66 shots from the pair of them. That is an extraordinary scoring ratio of success from over 30% of the duo’s shots.
When you look at the final Premier League table, it is clear just how crucial goals are:
The bottom four in the table are also the bottom four when it comes to scoring goals.
Burnley have built a very good defence over the seasons and they went through spells where it was back on top form and that pretty much saved them from a proper relegation fight.
Of the three who did go down though, between them they only managed 82 goals in 114 matches.
Fulham top scored with Decordova-Reid on only five PL gaols, McGoldrick got eight for Sheff Utd but the next highest only three, whilst Pereira got a very credible 11 and Robinson five, next highest only three.
For West Brom though, conceding a shocking 76 goals meant that they conceded 13, 21 and 23 more goals respectively than the other clubs in the bottom four.
The margins are so small and if for example you look at Joe Willock’s eight goals in eight different games, those eight games produced 17 of Newcastle’s 45 points, largely due to the Arsenal loan player’s goals.
Imagine if Fulham had signed Joe Willock instead on loan? Even worse, imagine if Scott Parker had also signed Callum Wilson last summer?
With Joe Willock now away and almost certainly not to return whilst Ashley is still owner, that means Newcastle United are currently approaching next season relying solely on Callum Wilson, a striker who has had more than his fair share of injuries down the years and turns 30 next season.
Under a different manager / system I think ASM and Almiron could potentially score more but if Steve Bruce is still in charge, I see little improvement. Joelinton…well, I’ll let you make your own mind up.
From the opportunities they did get, only two between Gayle and Carroll, so if they stay, no real expectations.
As for the rest of Newcastle’s midfield (not Willock), the likes of Shelvey, Hendrick, Hayden and the Longstaff brothers got three goals between them.
If you could be guaranteed both Wilson and Willock being at Newcastle United next season AND staying fully fit throughout, then it would be a massive comfort blanket. That isn’t real world though and there will be no Willock, so total reliance on Wilson is a typical Mike Ashley style risk.
Truth is, if Willock isn’t coming back, Newcastle United need to bring in two other goalscorers this summer if next season is going to have any kind of a comfortable look about it.
Goalscorers cost money, whether strikers or midfielders.
A massive effort needs to be made to try and sign Joe Willock but I have a feeling that instead we are going to be fed a series of loans, free transfers and the odd budget buy, then told by Steve Bruce how strong the squad is and plenty of goals.
This is back very much in the territory of relying on three clubs next season as bad as the bottom three this time.
Newcastle United need more goals, goals, goals.
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