Matt Ritchie has been one of Newcastle’s better players during the first two weeks of this season. That is mainly due to his tireless work ethic and versatility as a player.
One area that Ritchie has none done well enough this season is in his delivery in the final third and from set-pieces. He admitted as much after the Arsenal match and will hope to improve in that area going forward.
Ritchie is also relatively new to his left wing-back position. For most of his career, he was deployed on the right side of midfield as an inverted winger. However, last season he moved to the left wing-back role primarily out of necessity.
Steve Bruce has kept him in that role, and thus far, Ritchie has kept Jetro Willems, a natural left-back, out of the side. Matt Ritchie and whoever plays on the right side of the 3-5-2 formation are vital cogs in this system.
They are relied upon to give the formation some width and provide service to the front two of Joelinton and Almiron. Joelinton has, thus far, been starved of support and service this season.
Joelinton– has everything a top striker needs
While it is still early days for the new system Bruce has implemented, it is also a period of adjustment for Joelinton. Joelinton is learning to lead the line this season whereas last season he played deeper at Hoffenheim often with someone deployed ahead of him.
The Shields Gazette have some comments that Matt Ritchie has made about Joelinton and his progress over the past few weeks. Matt also talks about his responsibility of getting service to the Brazilian.
“He’s been fantastic in training. He’s a really nice lad. In the last couple of weeks, you’ve seen him grow in confidence in the dressing room and building relationships.
“Obviously, that always helps, and hopefully, we’ve helped him settle.
“He looks like he’s got everything a top striker needs, and hopefully he can fulfill his potential here.
“It’s brilliant for me. He wants to attack the first post. He’s good in the air. He’s got good movement.
“I spoke to him, and I think he knows if it does come to me, at the earliest opportunity I’ll put it in the box, and hopefully he’ll get on the end of them.
“It’s down to me to put balls in good areas, and I know he’ll be there.”
Matt will play a big part in helping Joelinton get the type of service he needs this season. He seems to understand this and it is very willing to form a good understanding with our new number 9.
Both players are still getting comfortable in their new roles. Joelinton is also adapting to a new country and league. It will take time for him ,but with help from players like Ritchie, we hope he can live up to his immense potential this season and beyond.