Joelinton continued the tepid start to his Newcastle career against Burnley despite being played in a different role. The 23-year-old was moved to the left-wing in place of the injured Allan Saint-Maximin but found it very hard to get into the game.
It was a chance for the Brazilian to play facing goal while Andy Carroll did the dirty work leading the line. However, it just didn’t come together for him.
Steve Bruce had hoped the move to the left would give Joelinton a confidence boost. This is what he said during his press conference last Friday:
“It’s something we’re toying with. He’s played half his career there for his previous club so he’s no stranger to it.
“It may be a different formation, it’s something we have up our sleeve. It might give him a big lift as well.”
Bruce followed through and started Joelinton on the left after hinting no less than three times that he would over the past few months.
The Chronicle have published some of Bruce’s comments this week after Joelinton’s stint on the left the past weekend. This is some of what he had to say:
“I think he’s comfortable on the left because he’s played there half of his career for Hoffenheim. He’s used to the role and I thought he did OK without being a goal threat.”
Joelinton didn’t provide much of a threat on Saturday. Though he did create a chance for Dwight Gayle that the poacher should have put away.
We just didn’t get the sense that Joelinton was very comfortable on the left. He drifted inside a lot, but that was always going to be likely. However, Steve Bruce thought he did it a bit too often.
This was Bruce’s response when asked if Joelinton will get more time on the left going forward:
“It’s too early to say. I know he can play there because he’s played there for Hoffenheim and there were times when he’s done well for the big chance for Dwight.
“He drifted in and out a little bit too much if I’m going to be brutally honest, but he gave me food for thought.”
With Miguel Almiron still uncertain for a return against Crystal Palace, Bruce may not have too much of a choice but to go with Joelinton on the left again.
We don’t have many options at the moment with Almiron, Matt Ritchie, and Allan Saint-Maximin out. Unless he wants to tinker with the formation again, he may have little choice but to give the Brazilian another shot on the wing.
Bruce has switched to a 4-4-2 recently when chasing a goal so that is an option. Though we tried something similar at Leicester City and that turned out to be catastrophic.
He can also ditch the wingers and go back to a 3-5-2 that was used early this season. He could then play Joelinton behind Andy Carroll and have Jetro Willems and Javier Manquillo play higher up the pitch.
The best scenario is for Miguel Almiron and Jonjo Shelvey to be ready to face the Eagles on Saturday. However, if they aren’t, it’s going to be anyone’s guess as to what Bruce decides to do.