Joelinton to be dropped? Dwight Gayle to start? - Our Newcastle United writers discuss
Questions continue to be asked surrounding the form of Joelinton and Newcastle United’s strikers after another lacklustre showing in the 1-1 draw with Wolves.
Here our writers Miles Starforth and Jordan Cronin give their thoughts on the Magpies goalscoring woes and whether the Brazillian should be dropped…
Should Joelinton start against West Ham?
MS: “This is the biggest question facing Bruce ahead of the game at the London Stadium. The striker, still adjusting to the demands of English football, has laboured up front in recent weeks. His position is pivotal to the system being used by Bruce. Joelinton should play, but only because there isn’t anyone else able to play with their back to goal.”
JC: “Start him. Stick with him. His £40million transfer fee was always going to bring criticism if he didn’t hit the ground running immediately but I think the blame for the lack goals runs far deeper than just Joelinton. The lack of service in and around him is poor and let’s not forget he is adjusting to a new country and league.”
Is there a case for playing Dwight Gayle upfront ahead of Joelinton?
MS: “We know Gayle can play up front on his own. He’s done it for Newcastle as well as West Bromwich Albion and other clubs. Also, he’s a good finisher. That said, United’s system needs someone who can hold the ball up and play with his back to goal, and Joelinton’s better suited to that role. Alternatively, they could be played together.”
JC: “Of course there is a case for it because Newcastle are desperate to start scoring goals. However, I think Gayle needs time as a substitute before he can be thrown in. For now, I think Gayle is a great option off the bench - I just wish Steve Bruce had brought him on earlier against Wolves as he could have impacted the game.”
Do you see Andy Carroll starting games before the turn of the year?
MS: “He was getting close to a first start before suffering his groin injury against Chelsea. The problem has set him back, but hopefully not by much. I think there’s a good chance that Carroll – who is training lightly between games to managed the load on his ankle– will be in a position to start a game in the coming weeks. That said, he needs a bit of luck.”
JC: “It sounds like his groin injury isn’t too serious, so he should be back for Bournemouth at home. That said, it’s picking up the little niggles that worries me. If he can stay fit like he between Brighton and Manchester United then yes. I don’t think playing Carroll and Gayle is a bad shout - if Bruce can avoid playing four at the back…”
Could Yoshinori Muto offer United something different upfront?
MS: “Unquestionably, yes. Muto is very different to Joelinton, Gayle and Carroll. He’s very, very quick, but it hasn’t really happened for him so far at Newcastle. I think, for the moment, Muto is best used as an impact player off the bench, though he is another option for the wide areas should Bruce want to make a change there.”
JC: “I feel for Muto as every time he has been given his chance, circumstances have changed. Last season, he picked up an injury then he gets withdrawn at Leicester early doors due to going down to 10 men. He deserves a chance, I’m just not sure when they can come. Perhaps Bruce should bring him off the bench more.”
Where are the goals going to come from this season?
MS: “They don’t look like coming from too many places right now. United have only scored six goals from 10 Premier League games, and the club will be relegated if that record doesn’t improve. Unlike last season, when Salomon Rondon and Ayoze Perez hit form, the club doesn’t have a player who looks like getting into double figures this season.”
JC: “I honestly don’t know. I still standby that Miguel Almiron is United’s best player and his will break his duck very soon but he isn’t/ no-one is going to replace the goals lost by Salomon Rondon and Ayoze Perez. I can’t even suggest a change in formation because the one Bruce is adopting now suits the players best, I feel. All you can say at the minute is it will take a big improvement from every player - not just Joelinton.”