In the end, it was perhaps one of the most uneventful games since the Premier League’s restart. Both Newcastle and Brighton managed a total of four shots on target combined, and for the Magpies in particular, it really showcased just how much they needed a more explosive striker.
Dwight Gayle has been handed the keys to the starting striker spot in recent weeks, with Steve Bruce giving him the opportunity to impress instead of big-money signing Joelinton.
But after netting in consecutive games against Aston Villa and Bournemouth respectively, Gayle has scored just once in his past five Premier League games.
And against Brighton on Monday, he was virtually anonymous for Bruce’s side.
As per Sofascore, his 6.5 match rating was the worst of any Newcastle player that started the game, and when you look at his performance, it is no surprise to see why.
Whilst Gayle has never really been a striker to come deep and link-up play, and seems to much prefer hanging on the shoulder of his opposition centre-back, against Brighton, he looked wholly ineffective.
The 29-year-old made just four successful passes in the 74 minutes that he was on the pitch, and even for a poacher like him, that is not nearly enough.
He had three attempts on goal, of which none of them were on target, attempted no dribbles, and lost eight out of the twelve duels that he contested both on the ground and in the air.
Gayle’s display just proved why Bruce needs more of a striker who is comfortable with receiving the ball to feet, and can actually affect the game than just inside the confines of the penalty area.
Reports in recent weeks have suggested that Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha is on the Magpies’ radar, and whilst the Ivory Coast international has had a disappointing season by his standards, he has proven he is more than capable of leading the line for a Premier League side.
Whilst this season he has only managed four goals and five assists, last year saw him rack up ten goals and ten assists in the Premier League alone. Zaha has averaged 57 touches per game for Palace this season, which is almost three times the amount Gayle managed against Brighton on Monday (21).
The £39.6m-rated star has that Allan Saint-Maximin-type X-factor, and as a top-flight proven player, could be exactly the player that would fit in well at St James’ Park.
Bruce has surely been left in no doubt about where they need to reinforce this summer.