Why Newcastle’s Joelinton Has Scored So Few Goals


Brazilian striker Joelinton has found it hard
going to Newcastle United – a £40 million striker, brought in to replace Salmon Rondon,
who has so far only registered one goal and two assists in the league. Rondon was an aerially
dominant, physically robust striker ideally equipped to play for a direct, counter-attacking
side; Joelinton is not the same type of player, but he could be a real asset for Newcastle
United if Steve Bruce adapts his approach to get the best from his expensive forward. At Hoffenheim under their then coach Julian
Nagelsmann, Joelinton was predominantly used as part of a two-man strike partnership alongside
Andrej Kramaric or Ishak Belfodil. He did also play as an attacking midfielder in a
midfield diamond formation and as a wide player in a 4-3-3, but these were less usual and
a result of Nagelsmann’s predilection for changing tactical set-ups to counter specific
threats or exploit specific opportunities. So, even when Joelinton was played wide or
in the hole, it was for a very specific reason and the team and player had worked on this. At Hoffenheim, Joelinton’s ability to receive
passes to feet, hold off defenders and create space, or dribble, meant that he was a creative
threat as much, or more, than a goalscoring one. Playing alongside another striker and
with willing runners from midfield and out wide in effective wingbacks Nico Schulz and
Pavel Kaderabek, Joelinton would drop off the front line and then either turn and carry,
or play passes back, ahead, or out wide, before peeling off to in turn create space for the
next player by running at the defence. His ability to run directly with the ball
was an asset centrally or out wide, meaning he could play one twos coming out of a dribble,
or take on an isolated defender, especially where other attackers had created space for
him to do so. It’s also worth pointing out that, like
another Hoffenheim product, Roberto Firmino, Joelinton was an extremely effective and intelligent
presser of the ball. Hoffenheim under Nagelsmann pressed high up the pitch, often winning turnovers
and transitioning rapidly into attack – this again afforded space for the Brazilian to
run in to – and his intelligence and willingness to work hard along with his fellow attackers
saw Hoffenheim develop an extremely effective pressing game. Newcastle under Steve Bruce are, by contrast,
defensively set-up to drop off and maintain a compact shape in their most used formation,
the 5-4-1. According to Wyscout, Newcastle’s Passes per Defensive Action, a measure of
how much the opposition are allowed to pass the ball before some form of pressing or tackle
is engaged, is 18.4, the most allowed in the league and almost five higher than the next
team, Sheffield United. Newcastle don’t just not press, they actively sit off. The 5-4-1 is used in a mid and low block,
vertically compact and very solid. If stretched wide, a winger drops off to double up with
the full back, and sometimes a midfielder also drops into the back line to ensure that
the low block stays complete. It makes Newcastle fairly hard to break down; although they have
conceded 41 goals in their 29 games so far this season, that’s the 13th best in the
league. Where Newcastle struggle is in scoring, which
is part of the reason why Joelinton is under the spotlight. After 29 games, no side has
scored fewer goals this season than the Magpies, who have 25, joint with bottom side Norwich
City. But this defensive system is one of the reasons why they struggle for goals, as
it leaves Joelinton alone up front and, crucially, with no one around him to make the sort of
runs that either allow him the space to create something for the runner, or divert defenders
and create space for him. Instead, Newcastle go direct and aerially to Joelinton, expecting
him to hold up the ball. But with the defensive system meaning that support is deep, it’s
hard to get runners to him even when he does secure possession. No side has had lower average possession in
matches this season than Bruce’s Newcastle. And no side has managed to get the ball successfully
into the final third as few times. This means that not only is Joelinton isolated, he is
deprived of the sort of build-up play and support running that makes him dangerous.
A player who thrives by dropping off to make space for another striker, or looks to take
the ball to feet before playing it off and making a run himself, has no one to make space
for and limited opportunities to bring dangerous runners like Miguel Almiron or Allan Saint-Maximin
into the game. Even when these players do get to run with the ball, it’s usually from
a deeper position and not the result of linking with the striker. Ultimately, if Newcastle are to get the best
from a talented player, they need to change their whole outlook: defend less deep so Joelinton
has support, press more to play to one of his strengths, and probably change formation
so he is either playing off two strikers – problematic because Andy Carroll has his perennial fitness
issues and Yoshinori Muto has also barely played – or alongside either a striker like
a Dwight Gayle or a tricky runner who could play as one like Saint-Maximin. In loan signing
Valentin Lazaro, and with Matt Ritchie coming back from injury, Newcastle have the kind
of wide midfielders or wing backs who could affect a shift to a more attacking 3-4-1-2,
perhaps with Almiron in the hole. But these changes are unlikely as Bruce has
found a defensive system that is keeping Newcastle’s head above water. The casualty of this is
Joelinton, used in a system and role that does not suit him and ensures he will continue
to be seen as an expensive under-achiever, however unfairly. Nagelsmann’s Hoffenheim
showed how to get the best from Joelinton – Bruce’s Newcastle do not.

100 thoughts on “Why Newcastle’s Joelinton Has Scored So Few Goals

  1. Steve bruce is copying rafa defensive model without any tactical options. Even though bruce recently started playing 4-5- 1 formations defensively 4-4-2 offensively.

    Steve bruce is not tactical manager and he often plays 2 to 3 players who are passengers,like hayden,ritchie and shelvey/dummet.

    Another issue is bruce doesn't play schar and lejurne who has better passing range than Fernandez/clark. Which creates immense pressure when nufc have the ball, because hayden can't take the ball forward like tiote/cabaye used to do. The best chance they have is bentaleb or longstaffs brothers, but he dont play them enough . Nufc deserves better owner and manager. They are giant team with potential with bad owner and championship manager.

  2. In the last 3 games Bruce has switched to a 4-2-3-1. Attacking wise we have looked a lot better and Joelinton has played in his preferred wide left position.

  3. While I agree that Bruce should amend his approach to get the best out of Joelinton and have his team score more goals, isn't it also to be expected that players try to adapt their own game, and strive to play well in more than one style of play? Isn't that what great players do? If anything, one could argue that it's more incumbent upon a player to adjust to a team's style than the other way around. And at his age (23), he should still have plenty of learning-capacity and malleability within him.

    Maybe I'll get flamed for this comment, but I think it's important for both sides of the equation to make some efforts in this regard. Also, Joelinton may very well be trying to adapt, but just isn't able to do so well enough.

  4. He’s just a really shit firmino and that’s saying something considering firmino only scored 8 league goals and played every game for e the best team in the league

  5. This must have been made a while ago since we have changed formation and stuff but he's right bruce is inept and carried on with 5 at the back for way too long. we haven't been beaten since the formation change and we looked better going forward creating more chances. this break with the virus might be a break Joe needs.

  6. Fair enough Newcastles defensive system doesn't help the guy but that's no excuse for missing sitters when they come his way! His confidence is gone and he looks scared to do anything when the ball comes near him! The human in me says I feel sorry for him but football says get rid he's shite

  7. Completely agree with your analysis on Joelinton, though the problem is fixable even in the 5-4-1 formation they want to play. The change it requires is to play with supportive wingbacks and inverted wingers/forwards – these last are the players Joelinton can make space for by hard pressing, while the wingbacks can take their spots to cross. Consequently the team should play with a higher defensive line and a higher forward line and a Sweeper Keeper. This makes the team weaker on the wings when losing the ball, but they should expect their Wingbacks to close down more and their wingers to press the opponent wingbacks hard. Furthermore they can cover-up for this by playing a good ball-winning midfielder in the middle, for which they have enough good solutions (Shelvey, Bentaleb, Hayden, any of the Longstaffs).

  8. maybe it's true but as a fan i still think he's a shit striker lmao.
    most of the time he doesn't even look like he cares or wanna work hard

  9. Could of had Rondon for £20m but instead paid double that for a striker who cant score. Sold Mitrovic and signed Joselu. Great business model.

  10. Hey. Make a video on our 'deadly from 30cm and only from 30cm' striker, Paddy Bamford. You could have a bit of fun with that, eh?

  11. Great video, but to be fair we have actually played a different system in the past couple of games and it’s helped us going forward for sure

  12. Bruce is a terrible manager with no tactical awareness or nous. He is a puppet manager who got thrown a lifeline from the championship. We need a manager with some actual tactical knowledge of we want to see Joelinton and others like the Longstaff brothers flourish

  13. The narrator actually pronounces his name correctly, unlike commentators, pundits, 99% of Newcastle fans and neutrals. Just an observation.

  14. Tried in multiple positions and can’t do it, doesn’t work hard at all either. Dwight Gayle created/had more chances in one game (vs Southampton) then joelinton has in the last 3 games, the lads garbage.

  15. The underlying message in this video is that Hoffenheim are a much better team than Newcastle. But also it is harder to attack and then sustain pressure in the prem

  16. Joelinton was never prolific, I don’t know why anyone is surprised.

    His career total is 36 goals in 147 appearances, hardly the sort of record that warrants 40 million.

    Newcastle messed up, cut your losses and let him go while he still has some value.

  17. Enjoyed your video as an NUFC fan. I think most Newcastle fans have identified that Joe prefers a two man attack (he has been much more effective when played closer to Almiron). I suppose the issue is that our other strikers have rarely been fit; Carroll (obviously) is injury prone and tailed off after a fairly effective start and Gayle too is injury prone and missed most of the season. We have now started moving back to 4231 which has improved the side in the attacking sense considerably, but Joelinton now finds himself benched as Gayle and Carroll return to fitness.

  18. Fair & accurate judgement on Joelinton, he's not a goal scoring player, his biggest strength is his tactical contribution, like Giroud & Frimino

  19. What a load of dross, his first touch is shambolic, his goal to chance conversion is shit, his positioning is wank. Too much sympathy for a man that does too little

  20. This would’ve been a great video about two months ago. But Bruce has changed the system and it’s working well in 4231

  21. Almiron and alan st maximin also the type of playmaker and dribbler which means we lack goalscorer player for the first time in years.

  22. He was never a natural goalscorer at hoffenheim but firminio at hoffenheim was a winger and was turned into a centre forward so i think newcastle though they could do the same

  23. Joelintons stats from last seasons are almost identical to Firminos from last season. From chances created per 90, to shots per 90, to his progression numbers, to his dribbles per 90, to his xG numbers and even his defensive numbers. Yes Joelinton is quite tall but he’s not a target man. Imagine spending 40 mil on a player with similar attributes to Firmino and not utilising them 🤦‍♂️

  24. bruce should switch to a 3-4-3 with saint maxim and almiron playing side to joelington. shelvey and hayden in the middle as shelvey ability to dictate play comes in handy. almiron would have the freedom to float while saint maxim is more of a pure winger/inside forward.

  25. Basically Steve Bruce hasn’t got a fucking clue how to get the best out of his players because he’s a shit manager and also a “YES” man who basically is toeing the Mike Ashley line by just keeping us in the premier league, whilst playing the most boring football the club have ever played in our footballing history!!!!!

  26. It's honestly extremely depressing to watch the team at the moment. There's obvious talent in the bunch but it's being completely wasted and the shit they take is unwarranted in a lot of ways. I can see ASM, Joelinton and Almiron having a great deal more success at other clubs which play a more positive brand of football.

  27. He’s so good at holding the ball up tho. The service he gets is awful and a lot of time he battles off the CBs and makes it stick. Class player just not a goal scorer

  28. I agree with everything you said. However, Joelinton still doesn't do the best when he actually has an option to play to, or in an 1v1 situation

  29. This doesn't hit all the nails on the head for me. There's definitely a workrate problem when it comes to Joelinton, which i think might arise from him not wanting to play in the 541 system, but nevertheless he often times doesn't make the movements required to get over to the side where the ball is. I remember one game where Matt Ritchie went off at him after Ritchie had the ball at left back and upon looking up to clear, Joelinton remained on the right side of the attack. SImilarly against Arsenal, Joelinton had done all the hard work to hold the ball up and get ASM beyond him, only to not bother getting into the box as ASM beat Bellerin. The result was ASM whipping in a delightful cross only to have no strikers in there. Joelinton seems to lack that extra hunger or desire to get on these types of final balls.

  30. because he was never a regular goalscorer thats why I don't know who sanctioned 40mil for this guy, good players can adapt, he's not motivated and can't score he's crap!..then he should drop deep and get involved…give me haller for jollington all day long much more suited to Newcastle style of play but some dipshit bought him instead.

  31. Come on Tifo, i thought you were better than this. Let's stop sucking up to torrid players, I mean as bad as i thought Steve Bruce would do at the start of the season, he's actually been great. I mean he's got the same points haul as Benitez already, and just because he has an English name doesn't mean he's any worse in all actuality. And this Joelinton guy is too weak and too slow to play in the premier league. He's 6'0 and Almiron is like 5'3 and he can still battle his way through the pitch. Its the same with Haller, he's just poor, not in poor form.

  32. Exactly what I have been saying for the last 6 months, lay off the lad he is not and was never a prolific goal scorer and has been left up top isolated- what does Bruce expect? Get someone up top with him!!

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