There’s no doubt that Joelinton has found the start to life as a Magpie one of frustration. Until recently, he’d really been Bruce’s only choice as the lone striker in the 3-4-3 formation.
However, this past month has seen Andy Carroll get to the point where he can play that role from the start. Carroll has proven to be quite effective with four assists in his last five appearances.
But Bruce has continued with Joelinton in the squad. While a lot of that could do with Allan Saint-Maximin being unavailable, he’s trying to find ways of getting the best of the Brazilian.
Bruce initially put the 23-year-old on the left at Burnley, but that didn’t really work. He’s also tried having Carroll and Joelinton as the front two. That worked out a bit better in our win against Crystal Palace. However, Joelinton still did not have much of an impact.
Over the past two games, we’ve seen a bit more from our number nine. At Manchester United, he worked well alongside the pacy Dwight Gayle at least in the first 30 or so minutes.
Then yesterday, we thought Joelinton had one of his best games in a Newcastle shirt when he moved to the right. He had also drifted out there on occasion in our loss at Burnley and put in a great cross to Dwight Gayle late in that game.
The forward’s performance has given Steve Bruce another option to think about. This is what the head coach had to say about Joelinton, according to the team’s Twitter account.
“I think Joelinton played very well. I thought on Boxing Day he went missing but this was arguably his best game since Spurs.
“He’s given me something to think about playing in a wider area.”
This, in the very least, gives Bruce an option. It also allows Miguel Almiron to move back to the left, where he played so well last season.
Bruce will likely still have to tinker with formations and positions while we await the return of Allan Saint-Maximin.
Joelinton also may not be available on New Year’s Day against Leicester City as he picked up a calf injury, so that could lead to more patchwork with the team selection.
Who Was Newcastle's Best Player In 2-1 Defeat To Everton?
- Andy Carroll (38%, 525 )
- Joelinton (15%, 207 )
- Martin Dubravka (13%, 180 )
- Miguel Almiron (11%, 158 )
- Jetro Willems (7%, 94 )
- Fabian Schar (6%, 80 )
- Isaac Hayden (2%, 33 )
- Jonjo Shelvey (2%, 25 )
- Federico Fernandez (1%, 20 )
- DeAndre Yedlin (1%, 16 )
- Florian Lejeune (1%, 12 )
- Dwight Gayle (1%, 12 )
- Christian Atsu (1%, 8 )
- Sean Longstaff (1%, 8 )
Total Voters: 1,378