Newcastle United striker Joelinton badly let Steve Bruce down by delivering an invisible attacking presence during Monday night’s 3-0 defeat by Arsenal.
Joelinton returned to the Magpies starting line-up for their trip to north London having been rested throughout his side’s miserable 1-0 loss at Sheffield United last week, with Bruce favouring the Brazilian at left-midfield over Matt Ritchie.
Bruce has now chosen against fielding Joelinton in a centre-forward capacity in the Toon’s last five games across all competitions, having seen the 24-year-old only net three goals and provide three assists over his 12 outings in the role this season.
Newcastle never came close to seeing their £40m record signing add to his underwhelming tally against Arsenal as they lost through goals from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Bukayo Saka, with the game often passing Joelinton by whenever the Magpies had possession.
He also ended the game having only recorded a single touch inside Bernd Leno’s penalty area, and saw less of the ball in total than Toon goalkeeper Karl Darlow (44) and just two Arsenal players that started with a mere 38 touches, per WhoScored.
Joelinton further failed to account for any of his side’s mere four shots in north London, as the £86,500-per-week dud, notably Newcastle’s top-earner, could not muster a single effort on goal for the first time in 10 Premier League appearances.
It was additionally the sixth time over those 10 games that Joelinton could not offer a single key pass, on a night he would record his fourth-worst WhoScored match rating of the season so far at 6.24 – only substitutes Gabriel Martinelli (6.12) and Willian (6.21) would score lower among those who featured for Arsenal.
Bruce would struggle to take any pride in the slim highlights of Joelinton’s performance, either, despite the 24-year-old being successful with each of his two attempted dribbles for the second-most by a player for either side.
He further offered two successful tackles, the second-most by a Newcastle player, and won three aerial duels, also the second-most by a visiting player.
Yet those positives paled in comparison to being dribbled past on three occasions, more often than anyone else who featured on Monday night, and misplacing 31% of his passes for Joelinton’s fourth-worst success rate of the Premier League campaign to date.
And even worse for Bruce, Joelinton’s ineffective performance came after statically his third-best top-flight outing of the season so far at home to Leicester City, when he earned a 7.16 rating – only a 9.42 at Crystal Palace and a 7.61 against Wolves have been better.
AND in other news, Newcastle United are being targeted to solve another PL side’s transfer crisis…