Steve Bruce must ruthlessly axe Joelinton from his starting line-up when Newcastle United visit relegation-rivals West Bromwich Albion on Sunday.
The Toon could arrive at the Hawthorns inside the bottom three of the Premier League standings, should Fulham pull off a shock result at home to Tottenham Hotspur on Thursday night.
Scott Parker’s Cottagers are riding a slim wave of form having gone unbeaten in their last five games, winning twice, while Newcastle are winless in three to see the gap between safety and the drop zone fall to just three points.
Should Joelinton feature vs WBA?
Yes, keep him at striker
Yes, but back on the wing
No, he must be axed
United had a strong opportunity to stretch their margin over 18th-placed Fulham during last Saturday’s clash with Wolverhampton Wanderers, but were forced to settle for a point after Joelinton wasted a golden chance to net just his second top-flight goal of the season.
Jacob Murphy picked out the Brazilian – who was signed in 2019 for a club-record £40m – wide open inside the Wolves penalty area, only for Romain Saiss to bundle over the former TSG Hoffenheim forward’s shot after Joelinton had the beating of goalkeeper Rui Patricio.
The effort was Joelinton’s third of the day, no Newcastle player took more, per WhoScored, and saw that the 24-year-old came in for criticism from Bruce during his post-game media duties.
“I think he should score,” the Toon boss noted, via quotes by Chronicle Live. “It was a great run by Murphy, and it was a big, big chance with, what was it, seven minutes to go? I’ve just seen it back again and it’s a big, huge opportunity that we missed.”
It was not the first time that Joelinton has failed to deliver for Newcastle when it counts, either, with Lee Ryder suggesting that Saturday’s miss was what supporters should expect of their now £18m-rated striker.
“100%, he’s got to score from that position,” Ryder said on The Everything is Black and White Podcast (2/3, 09:21). “A lot of people saying ‘it was a great block on the line’ but no, sorry, £40m and a number nine of Newcastle…
“We needed to win this one and that was a golden opportunity. You have to take that chance if you’re going to stay in the Premier League. Unfortunately, it’s just been the story of his career so far and he hasn’t delivered yet again.”
Bruce must now ruthlessly axe Joelinton and set the tone that errors like his will not be tolerated amid a relegation fight, as his overall performance was more productive than most of his Premier League displays this season.
The former Brazil U17 international has only averaged 1.3 shots per game in the top-flight this term, of which 0.6 find the target, per WhoScored. All three required a save or late intervention at home to Wolves last weekend.
He has since struck five attempts in 145 minutes but has shown little evidence that his 11-game drought will come to an end.
So, Joelinton cannot be relied on against West Brom this Sunday when Bruce will be without his favoured front-three of Miguel Almiron, Allan Saint-Maximin and Callum Wilson through injuries.
AND in other news, an “absolutely awesome” titan has been tipped to quit Newcastle this summer…