Joelinton and Valentino Lazaro have seen a lot of each other over the past few seasons. Both plied their trade in the Bundesliga last season before making their big moves last summer.
Joelinton played for Hoffenheim while Valentino was at Hertha Berlin. However, they also played against each other in Austria as well. Valentino came through the Red Bull Salzburg before joining Hertha Berlin, initially on loan, in 2017.
Joelinton was on loan from Hoffenheim to Rapid Vienna for two seasons from 2016 to 2018. They faced each other twice in 2017, both 1-0 victories by Salzburg.
Both players became teammates when Lazaro came on loan from Inter Milan in January. Since Valentino joined, goals have been in short supply. Valentino wasn’t available for both of our FA Cup matches against Oxford, the second of which was a 3-2 victory.
In the league, the Austrian has played in three matches, all of which ended without a Newcastle goal. So Tuesday’s 3-2 win at West Brom was the first time Valentino was on the pitch for a Newcastle goal. Of course, he got his first for the club in the second half.
While Joelinton didn’t get a goal at the Hawthorns, he had one of his best games in a Newcastle shirt. Having another player in attack to support him brought the best out of the Brazilian.
The Daily Star have some comments from Valentino Lazaro about Joelinton’s struggles this season. He also touches on his history with Joe:
“You always have the saying the striker is judged by his goals, but you can see by the way we play he is working so much.
“And he is helping us in a lot of ways. So we really need Joelinton upfront. Joe worked so hard along with the whole team.
“I have known Joe for years now. When you play the long balls, he is just always there, he goes deep, he is very quick.
“He is very tall. He can secure the ball. He is working, and impressing defensively as well. With the runs he makes it creates a lot of space.
“He was running to other positions so I had the space to go there and score my goal against West Brom. He is definitely bringing a lot to the team.”
Joelinton’s work on Tuesday opened up a lot of space for Lazaro, Allan Saint-Maximin, and Miguel Almiron. He looked so confident at times and wasn’t the frustrated figure he has so often been playing as a lone striker.
Hopefully, the match at West Brom can serve as a platform for Joelinton to improve from. We had practically given up hope of him contributing much upfront for the rest of the season.
He played on the left wing against Burnley and was serviceable while Dwight Gayle was a threat upfront. However, Joelinton’s performance at West Brom in the 4-2-3-1 will give Bruce some more ‘food for thought.’
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