Joelinton; the most underrated player at Newcastle and one of the best.
He has played this season as a lone striker who is constantly 15 yards minimum away from any other player in black and white, any player would struggle, let alone someone who’s never played as an old fashioned number nine before.
At Hoffenheim, Joelinton played as a left attacking midfielder in a 3-4-2-1 formation under Julian Naglesmann, with him contributing to 12 goals and 9 assists. His goals came when he ran from deep and got in behind the opposition defence.
Joelinton scored 12 of his 16 big chances in Germany. Clinical. He’s only had two big chances at Newcastle so far and he’s scored one, this is due to newcastle’s lack of xG (lowest in the league).
at newcastle Joelinton has scored three goals (if we include pre-season), two of these came from over the top balls which he comfortably put away. His movement is clear to see – but we just don’t have the creative threat or system in place to find him.
His pre-season goal at Hibernian came from a brilliant low cross, something we don’t do often enough. We have made 301 crosses this season, the third lowest in the league. What’s the point in using wing backs if they’re not going to cross?
Joelinton’s one Premier League goal at Spurs came from another ball over the top which his movement created, a rare chance for the Brazilian.
Another intriguing stat; despite playing as a lone striker, Joelinton has been the most creative player at the club. He’s created 29 chances this season, 9 more than any other player. These have all come playing with less than 30 touches per game. this chance comes from his natural position.
Robbed of an assist, the chance he put on a plate for Gayle at Burnley was created from a wide area where he had space to work with – and he could’ve had another at Man Utd and against Everton last weekend if Gayle and Almiron could’ve finished.
Joelinton, who averaged 2.7 dribbles per game last season, only manages 1.4 this season, with us regularly unable to get him on the ball in the right areas. This is what he can do given the chance to drive at teams.
To get the best out of Joelinton, Bruce needs to play him behind the striker, whoever it may be. If we get him on the ball, we become a much better team and the £40m fee will make him look like a bargain should we begin to utilise him correctly.
Ex-boss Julian Naglesmann recently said “he’s an animal, a machine. When he’s on the ball it’s hard to stop him.”. Let’s hope Bruce can begin playing to his strengths and unleash the beast.