Striker Looking The Part For Newcastle

There were a number of fans who were unhappy when Aleksandar Mitrovic allowed Dwight Gayle to have the number 9 shirt for the season and Dwight certainly wanted to wear the iconic Newcastle shirt.

But his background in the game – at least so far in his career – wouldn’t put him as a top striker who usually wears the number 9 shirt at Newcastle.

dwight Gayle second goal 89 mins reading

Dwight Gayle taps in his second goal last night

But nobody told Dwight that and he wears the shirt well and is off to a very decent start to the season with a brace last night in the 4-1 first win of the season against Reading.

Dwight scored a magnificent goal from a free kick after 69 minutes after having an earlier goal chalked off because it looked like he handled the ball.

And then in the 89th minutes he tapped in his second goal to make it three goals in his first three games for Newcastle and a good 4-1 win for the Magpies.

Dwight shows every sign of being a goal-hungry striker who just loves to score goals and he could soon become a big favorite on Tyneside.

Aleksandar Mitrovic comes back into the squad after Saturday’s game at Bristol City, having served his four match ban.

And it could be that Dwight Gayle and Mitro up front together could form a deadly duo with Dwight feeding off the balls Mitro can knock down to him.

In any case it was an excellent result last night and a definite improvement over last Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at home to Huddersfield and in front of over 48,000 fans – incredible.

Now what the lads have to do is to continue to listen to Rafa Benitez, because other areas of the team also have to improve.

One of them is the defense since we gave away another dodgy goal last night just before half time and all four goals conceded this season could have been avoided with better defending.

Three have come in stoppage time in the first half.

But the form of Dwight Gayle is good and this lad could well prosper on Tyneside in his very first season at the club.

We certainly hope so.

What do you think?

Comments welcome.

32 comments so far

  • Blackley and Brownlie

    Aug 18, 2016 at 12:57 PM

    Comment #1

    Yes Ed. I reckon Gayle will get many more goals than Mitro. I’ll stick my neck out and say twice as many.

  • hibbitt

    Aug 18, 2016 at 1:03 PM

    Comment #2

    Blackley and Brownlie

    i think your right but there’s a good chance Gayle will get the goals from the space Mitro has created
    we need the big man on the pitch

  • Offkey

    Aug 18, 2016 at 1:05 PM

    Comment #3

    I get the impression (as I have not seen any games) that he is improving and Bobby stated he seems like a pl player in the championship last game, is anyone who has seen him impressed? Wouldn’t mind hearing

  • Blackley and Brownlie

    Aug 18, 2016 at 1:09 PM

    Comment #4

    Thanks for your book recommendation. Having read the book and Blofal’s link, are you able to help me get my head round what seems like a simple question? If 4231 is favoured for its flexibility, it suggests it can morph quite easily into numerous possibilities. But if any formation can be morphed into, it can surely be reversed? If numerous formations can revert to 4231, those formation must be just as flexible as 4231?

    Blofal’s right in that it’s about tactics. But the better players you have, the more varying tactics you can employ. Games are so fluid and unpredictable, I don’t believe you should be too set on strict formations. Indeed, it could be counter productive.

  • Blackley and Brownlie

    Aug 18, 2016 at 1:15 PM

    Comment #5

    Personally I don’t think Mitro’s the man but I love to see a strike partnership. If his presence can help Gayle, all to the good. It’s about the sum total between them at the end of the day. I don’t think it has to be a big man. For example, Wells and Kerchunga caused us problems the other day because they were mobile and supportive of one another. Mitro’s anything but mobile. He’s more of a landing ground.

  • bettyswallocks

    Aug 18, 2016 at 1:15 PM

    Comment #6

    Blackas………. I don’t see why you can’t grasp the explanation of the 4231 formation morphing into a 442 when both wings are employed in the attack. 4231 means the midfield can be more combative when required but could then expand into a 433. Obviously if we want to be really attacking then we could sacrifice someone from the back four and go 334. To really go for it under special circumstances we could push up as a unit and play 325 and then to shut up shop and really park the bus we could revert quickly into a 631.

  • joburg geordie

    Aug 18, 2016 at 1:28 PM

    Comment #7

    Hey my fellow Geordies!

    This is my first post on this blog, been reading the blog for years now!! Big big fan thanks Ed!! Keep up the awesome work!

    Rafa is the best thing that has happened to this club since Sir Bobby!

    He has turned this club around and I trust in him to make us great again.

    I live in Johannesburg in South Africa and my dream is to come to St James and watch my first game one day (busy saving).

    The Geordies are the best supporters in the world! Even back here in South Africa there are still Newcastle fans proud to wear the kit even though we have been relegated (everyone else thinks we are crazy but its in our blood) 🙂

    I am looking forward to contributing a lot more in the future.

    My opinion for our strongest starting 11 when every on is fit:

    Janmaat Lascelles Mbemba Dummet
    Sissoko —-Diame—-Richie
    ———-Gayle Mitrovic

    Howay the lads!!

  • Small World

    Aug 18, 2016 at 1:29 PM

    Comment #8

    Blackley and Brownlie, I’m with you on the whole formation malarkey. If anyone on here can explain what formation we played after Lascelles replaced Perez and Colback replaced Goufran – I’d be very surprised. Especially if they were at the game and witnessed it. In the 5 minutes or more it took Rafa to ensure Colback got on to the pitch I didn’t see any pointing at notes / clipboard ala Pardew & co. He just seemed to have his hand around him, chatting. The Ginger nutted one (like many pros) seems to be a simple soul and I would hazard a guess doesn’t need a chart with numbers or arrows written on it. Just a few wise words.

  • Mister Tuff

    Aug 18, 2016 at 1:29 PM

    Comment #9

    I think there is sometimes too much made of formations.
    Trying to play to a formation is one thing – doing it is another.
    We are told Rafa favours 4231 – this would seem to be so.
    Now we have divvies saying he plays another formation such as a 4-4-1-1.
    Then we have the official match preview from the club which says the team will be set up to play 4231.
    There is some real anti-football knowledge spouted on here at times.

  • lordy_geordie

    Aug 18, 2016 at 1:29 PM

    Comment #10

    That Sebastien Haller reminds me of a certain Stan Collymore in his prime. Not to be sniffed at if he is

  • Mister Tuff

    Aug 18, 2016 at 1:32 PM

    Comment #11

    You would presume Anthony Marshall the clubs managing editor -who does the match preview – is told by Rafa what the team and formation is -and then it is made public before the game.

  • funlovingexpress

    Aug 18, 2016 at 1:41 PM

    Comment #12

    I think I see what Blackley is getting at. He is arguing that if 4231 can morph into anything at any stage then 442 should be able to do the same.

    In a way he is correct but it depends on the players you have as 442.

    If you had two Mitro’s up front for instance, then morphing would not be possible as they dont offer the workrate or anything else in midfield.

    You can actually use 4231 with 3 strikers. The type of strikers you need would have to be willing to drop deep and have pace as well as good workrate.

    Shearer and Beardsley for instance would both be great in that system because both could tackle, both liked to drop deep and both could defend if needed.

    Perez once he gets used to the league will also be great at it.

    TBH it doesnt matter what system some fans think we will play. Some think last night was 4141. It wasnt.

    It was 4231. Diame foraged forward but is still a DM.

    The formation will change time and time during the game. That is what makes Benitez such a master. He gets his teams to do this with ease.

    How the players line up at the beginning is pointless really. The toon will adapt to many different formations during each game. They will get better and better at it until attacking or defending becomes second nature to them.

    Unlike Pardew, Benitez gives just as much weight to how potent the system is as an attacking force as he does a defensive one.

    It will take a while to get the cogs running smoothly and at the minute we are a couple of players off having a balanced side anyhow, but hopefully we can scrape together some more 4-1 wins until we find our feet.

  • funlovingexpress

    Aug 18, 2016 at 1:45 PM

    Comment #13

    Ive said it time and time again, Gayle is a true no.9. He will get boatloads.

    He is averaging a goal every game now.

  • Mister Tuff

    Aug 18, 2016 at 1:50 PM

    Comment #14

    See there was a post about book recommendations. Not a bad idea at all.
    Book recommendations for Ian Toon and “his mates”.

  • Hail Wor Ashley

    Aug 18, 2016 at 1:51 PM

    Comment #15

    Dennis Wise scouting technique for anubody that wants a balanced bunch of clips of Haller.

    Looks extremely powerful in both holding it up and aerially, seems to have good awareness too and capable of going past a player with his rangy legs and strength.

    Would be a good alternative target man to give Mitrovic competition. Could see Gayle loving playing alongside him.

  • Blackley and Brownlie

    Aug 18, 2016 at 1:58 PM

    Comment #16

    I think you’re missing my point. I’m starting from the simple position that you have 11 players on the field. The better they are, the more positions they can play and the less they need to be instructed from the line; they see where the problems are and fill in.

    The coach might have had a great game plan but within five minutes it can be clear that it’s gone out of the window and there are serious problems to address. Provided you’ve got a certain number of defenders, midfielders and attackers, the players can occupy any “zones” flexibly. The “formations” are often continually morphing depending on how the game is developing.

    Someone earlier was talking about Hayden being a good DM but in the same breath was praising him for getting forward regularly into dangerous areas. That’s a player using his initiative and not sticking hard and fast to the coach’s formation. Some people will credit Rafa for this, in terms of pre-match coaching or instinctive contemporaneous instruction. It might simply be the player seeing what is required and taking responsibility.

  • funlovingexpress

    Aug 18, 2016 at 1:59 PM

    Comment #17

    Hail wor Ashley I disagree he is or can be used as a target man.

    Which is a good thing IMO.

    He likes to attack the ball not hold it. Of course he does hold it sometimes but every player does that.

    He is technically very gifted, has pace, attacks the ball, scores goals for fun, can pass a ball, good first touch and the odd time he does go for a header they are bullet headers that shearer would be proud of.

    We have absolutely no chance of getting him.

    Blackley, Benitez actually explains his tactical formations at previous clubs on his website. I think you would enjoy it. they are good reads.

  • Ian Toon

    Aug 18, 2016 at 1:59 PM

    Comment #18

    Blackley – As Blofal said earlier it’s not about formations but tactics.
    It doesn’t have to be a rigid formation and depending on the state of the game a manager / Coach can switch from 4-2-3-1 to a formation that tactically he feels will give him greater control of the game. Tactics in theory enables the exploitation of strengths and weaknesses. But the game is not about formations / systems but players. Depending on the quality and type of player you’ve got – top draw players devise their own systems. I remember reading that Busby didn’t bother if George Best was not present for a pre match meeting. You could argue that the team with the better players will win the game irrespective of tactics.

    However arguably using the right formation/ way in which players are used can make a difference. Often simply playing to your strengths and expose the oppositions perceived weaknesses. KK’s toon team were relatively weak defensively so he played to the strengths by utilising attacking formations. That’s always a managers judgement call before and during games it’s highly flexible.

    I am told Benitez played 4-4-1-1 last night but closed the game down by deploying defensively minded subs. Jose’s first Winning season at Chelsea he used to close the game down in the second half at 2-0 up

  • Blackley and Brownlie

    Aug 18, 2016 at 2:01 PM

    Comment #19

    Diame wasn’t playing last night. When he played the other day, he was behind and to the left of Gayle and offered Gayle very little. I couldn’t understand why Rafa persisted with it.

  • Blackley and Brownlie

    Aug 18, 2016 at 2:08 PM

    Comment #20

    I’ve never heard of that before; the manager not only announcing his team but also his formation. I can’t understand why a manager would do that. If it’s at all meaningful, it’s a gift to the opposition. I’ve only seen it on TV games and taken it as the pundits looking at the personnel and using their knowledge of players and coach to figure out the most likely formation.

  • martoon

    Aug 18, 2016 at 2:09 PM

    Comment #21

    Small World @7 – When Lascelles came on we went to a classic 5 across the back with Dummett and Anita as wingbacks although they didn’t do much attacking – classic Rafa defensive mode. Colback came on as a straight replacement for Gouffran, who was tiring, possibly more defensive minded, on the left.

  • Mister Tuff

    Aug 18, 2016 at 2:25 PM

    Comment #22

    Blackley – yeh the Match Preview is publicised the same time as the team every matchday on the official site -link to yesterdays:-,,10278,00.html

    I think as you suggest it is probably not all that meaningful/decisively relevant.

  • Mister Tuff

    Aug 18, 2016 at 2:27 PM

    Comment #23

    see that link does not work – go to Match then Matchday Centre -then preview.

  • Thump

    Aug 18, 2016 at 2:42 PM

    Comment #24

    @IanToon: he played 4-2-3-1, 4-4-1-1, 4-4-2, 5-3-2, and various others I can’t quite remember. There was no set formation.

  • Malta Mag

    Aug 18, 2016 at 2:45 PM

    Comment #25

    It makes me laugh all those who are quick to slag some player off after only 2 games then ends up having to eat humble pie. Which blogger stated that “Gayle looks like Bellamy, but once he starts playing the comparison ends there?” I can’t remember Bellamy ever scoring a free kick as good as that?

  • Blackley and Brownlie

    Aug 18, 2016 at 2:46 PM

    Comment #26

    The time to make meaningful predictions is when the window’s closed so we know the squad and we’ve seen how the opening games.

  • Blackley and Brownlie

    Aug 18, 2016 at 2:48 PM

    Comment #27

    Gayle couldn’t tie Bellamy’s boot laces. There’s no comparison.

  • ToonRich

    Aug 18, 2016 at 2:49 PM

    Comment #28

    There’s a few media rumours that small clubs like Port Vale & Wolves may be after Balotelli…we should make and offer to loan, I think Rafa could get the best out of him and keep him in check! Thoughts??

  • Lee Charnley Bunga Party

    Aug 18, 2016 at 2:53 PM

    Comment #29

    Some will view it as a negative but I did like how Rafa brought on subs to see a game out near the end so many times over the years we have been strangled by managers not making subs at the correct times

    Rafa will go for broke in games as well and throw lots of strikers on if necessary but its good to see an attempt to stop the opposition getting a late goal which is something we have always been caught out with in years gone by

  • Bowjaw

    Aug 18, 2016 at 3:00 PM

    Comment #30

    I think every player out there last night showed decent improvement apart from Clark for obvious reasons and Dummet. I try not to give him too much stick but he is just too slow.
    Gayle edged Richie for MOM both look like very good players but Gayle didn’t put a foot wrong last night.

  • martoon

    Aug 18, 2016 at 3:09 PM

    Comment #31

    Bowjaw @30 I actually thought Dummett was a lot better than Saturday and by no stretch of the imagination is he slow! It was annoying that he kept heading the ball out for a corner when under no pressure but I suspect that was Sels fault for not giving him a shout.

  • scout

    Aug 18, 2016 at 5:54 PM

    Comment #32

    Bellamy was quality but if you think he’s a better finisher than Gayle you need a brain transplant. Bellamy was one on one with the keeper 3 or 4 times a game.
    If Bellamy could finish he would have been at Barcelona.


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