Joelinton
NORWICH, ENGLAND - AUGUST 17: Joelinton of Newcastle United during the Premier League match between Norwich City and Newcastle United at Carrow Road on August 17, 2019 in Norwich, United Kingdom. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

After the 3-1 loss against newly-promoted Norwich City, Newcastle United fans are already rightly up in arms. As #Bruceout resurfaced online, the outcry against the manager and his players will only begin to mount. Newcastle looked tactically inept against Arsenal, and were simply outplayed by the Canaries. With just one goal in their opening two games, it would be easy to start targeting Joelinton. However, there are a few reasons why the new signing should be somewhat exempt from criticism for the time being.

Newcastle United Fans Must Keep Faith With Joelinton

Rondón Suffered a Similar Slow Start

The loss of Rafa Benítez in the summer meant a return to Mike Ashley’s favoured transfer policy; signing younger players yet to reach their full potential, whom the club could make a profit on. As such, the club opted not to pursue Salomón Rondón, much to the ire of manifold Newcastle fans. Though it would be easy to suggest that Salomón Rondón could have been a solution to Newcastle’s problematic start, it is not quite fair.

Yes, Rondón was Newcastle’s second top-scorer (11 goals), and he was crucial to their 13th place finish. However, it is also worth pointing out that he did not score a league goal until November. At one point, there were calls from fans claiming he wasn’t good enough too. Joelinton boasts physicality of a similar ilk to Rondón, which is well-suited to the Premier League.

The Lack of a Real Pre-Season

This is an excuse usable for not just Joelinton, but for the whole squad (and Steve Bruce). It is, subsequently, a result of the club’s poor management of the summer as a whole. Newcastle had already gone to China for their pre-season tour before the club even appointed Steve Bruce. With just three weeks to implement his tactical changes to the squad, the club had already thrown him under the bus. Most clubs would have had over a month by the season opener, so Newcastle and their players were a step behind from the get-go.

Joelinton, the club’s first summer signing, only joined a week later, and other summer signings followed in gradually. With two, Andy Carroll and Emil Krafth only joining on deadline day, the squad had to adjust further, right until their opening games. It is clear why Rafa Benítez demanded all his business be done early, before pre-season by preference. That would be a benefit as much for the players individually as for the team as a collective. A striker needs a connection with his teammates to score goals, and this connection may yet take more time to form.

A Victim of Bruce’s Poor Tactics

Steve Bruce has once openly suggested his disregard for ‘tactics’, which was plain to see against Norwich City. What looked like a 3-5-2 at the first whistle was far from it as the match unfolded. Yet, Miguel Almirón, who supposedly played as a compliment to Joelinton, was anonymous throughout. There was a constant void between midfield and attack, with no link between the Brazilian and his teammates. As a result, long balls were the order of the day, while Norwich dominated possession. Joelinton cannot score goals all by himself, and yet it seems he is tasked with that at the moment.

Rafa Benítez was the tactical glue holding this team together, and now that is all seemingly falling apart under Bruce. Deciding whether or not he is the man to get the most out of the striker seems premature at the moment. But the side must make adjustments if they are to harvest the goals from their record signing.

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