How to solve the problem of Newcastle United's lack of goals? THREE possible solutions to Steve Bruce's Premier League conundrum
The Magpies have scored just five in nine league games, and failed even to register a shot on target at Chelsea on Saturday.
But with that 1-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge dropping United back into the relegation zone, Bruce simply has to get his team firing.
Here, we look at some possible solutions to Newcastle’s goal drought.
Play two up front
With more winnable fixtures coming up, now might be the time to experiment with two strikers.
Bruce could try partnering Joelinton with Andy Carroll or Dwight Gayle in the next four games - against Wolves, West Ham, Bournemouth and Aston Villa.
Joelinton has looked isolated in the lone striker role, scoring just once in nine league games – but having lacked service.
However, with Carroll still looking well short of full fitness, is Gayle a more viable partner for Newcastle’s £40m man?
Movement – and not just an extra body - up front could provide a solution for Bruce.
Sign a striker in January
He may have cost a club record fee, but there is no getting away from the fact that Joelinton has never hit double figures in a season.
So what price Bruce being given money for another striker in the New Year?
The Magpies were linked with Mainz hit-man Jean-Philippe Mateta in the summer, and could again look to the Frenchman, despite him being yet to play this season because of a knee injury.
Also rumoured to be on United’s radar is Lille’s Nigerian striker Victor Osimhen, who has scored seven goals in just 10 Ligue 1 appearances this term
Drop a defender
Newcastle could switch to a back four to pose more of an attacking threat.
Barring the Leicester City hammering, United have been fairly solid defensively.
But in the home games against Watford and Brighton, the Magpies’ decision to go with five at the back saw them struggle to create chances.
Might Bruce change from the 5-4-1 to a 4-4-2, a 4-4-1-1, or a 4-3-3, in order to get more players in attacking areas?