A fan-written piece by Simon Riddlesden – a Newcastle United supporter who had the chance to watch Aleksandar Mitrovic in Fulham’s 3-0 win over Sheffield United at Craven Cottage last night:
As a lifelong Newcastle fan and long-time season ticket holder, work has meant I live down south, but I go to as many home games as I can and follow Newcastle away down here too.
As a football fan, I was able to go the Fulham Sheffield United game through work last night and I was interested to watch Mitrovic live and, once again, he ensured that he will again be the subject of debate amongst Newcastle fans. An in form Fulham ran out comfortable 3-0 winners with the Toon hitman bagging himself a brace to continue his fine form.
He looks fitter and happier
One thing that was clear from watching him was that he is clearly happier, is enjoying his football and looks leaner and fitter. He was closing down defenders and could have got a hat trick when he missed a late chance. It was refreshing to see him focus on goals rather fighting defenders but it is important to note Fulham based the team around him. Ojo and Sessegnon were either side of him to provide pace and direct service to him and former Newcastle target Cairney was constantly looking for him. With us still owning the player, him being happy and scoring goals can only be a positive – he can return or we get a higher sale value.
— joenkan (@joenkanuno) March 6, 2018
The Fulham fans have taken to him like NUFC fans, constantly signing his name even before his first goal. He did a lap of the field after his second goal and has already become something of a cult hero in West London. His passion is what Newcastle fans love and why many are asking why he was loaned out in the first place.
It’s still the Championship…
They key thing from last night for me was also a reminder of how poor the Championship was last season, despite us winning the league. There is a gulf in quality between this and the Premier League and although Mitrovic is grabbing goals at the moment, it is in a team flying high who play to his strengths and in a poor league.
Dwight Gayle got 23 goals despite injuries last year but only has 5 to his name this term. There are countless examples of strikers who thrive in the second tier but can’t replicate this form at a higher level, so I still take these goals coring exploits with some caution.
Mitrovic’s form has been impressive, but Middlesbrough’s Patrick Bamford has 5 goals in 3 games – a player whose never made a big impact in the Premier League.
There was a very interesting article recently in the Chronicle with Rafa who gave an in depth interview on the Mitrovic situation. Rafa essentially said that he doesn’t suit our style of play this season, where we don’t have a lot of the ball and need to defend and hit on the break. I think it’s a fair call to question whether Mitrovic should play ahead of Joselu, but I even though they aren’t great players we have looked better team with Perez and Gayle playing as we have some pace going forward. Slimani also has a better pedigree so I don’t think this loan move is a bad thing for Newcastle.
We also don’t know what has went on behind the scenes but Rafa is a Champions League winner and has manged Real Madrid, Inter Milan, Liverpool and Chelsea so if he doesn’t think he would have scored goals for us with this current team/formation, that’s good enough for me.
Mitrovic divides option, what is your stance? Would you have kept him?