Joelinton had one of his best outings in a Newcastle shirt in our FA Cup win at West Brom. He looked much more comfortable partnering with Miguel Almiron, and both proved a handful for the Baggies defense.
The Brazilian didn’t add to his goal tally but did get his 4th assist of the season with his deft backheel to Almiron on the Paraguayan’s second goal. His confident early run to the byline and into the box was something we’ve seen very little from him this season.
We expected Bruce to be buoyed by Joelinton’s performance and give him another start at striker in the new system. However, for just the second time all season, Joelinton did not start in the Premier League.
Bruce opted for Dwight Gayle, who had played very well against Burnley the week before. Dwight, though, just did not have it in front of goal and squandered three excellent chances in the first half.
While a lot had to do with Southampton dropping deep, Miguel Almiron also didn’t have much success in the box at St Mary’s on Saturday, partnering with the diminutive Gayle. So there’s a good chance Bruce will go with the front two from the FA Cup match for this weekend against Sheffield United.
Steve Bruce spoke to the Chronicle recently and spoke about resting Joelinton against Southampton. This is what he said:
“There’s been a lot on Joelinton, but we haven’t had the ability to change.
“We haven’t been able to give him a break because of the problems we’ve had. He’s never squirmed away from it, and he’s always trained well.
“It has been a big learning curve for him. But that is always the challenge when you bring in an overseas player.
“When you have a player who is not used to the Premier League or used to be being in Newcastle. It takes time – and he’s only young.
“I am sure he will be OK.”
Joelinton has not been a success in his first season at Newcastle. However, he has not been helped by the system Bruce used for much of the season.
The 5-4-1 left Joelinton far too isolated. While he hasn’t shown a natural ability to get in the right spots like Dwight Gayle does, he was much improved playing with Miguel against West Brom.
We expect that Bruce may go with a Joelinton and Almiron partnership once again this Saturday. If he does, hopefully, Joelinton can replicate his FA Cup performance against the Blades.