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Newcastle: Eddie Howe must finally ditch Joe Willock

Newcastle United head into the first international break of the 2022/23 campaign without picking up three points in any of their last six Premier League matches.

The Magpies have won one game in the English top-flight this season and that came on the opening day against newly-promoted Nottingham Forest.

Eddie Howe’s men have since lost one and drawn five as they have struggled to find the cutting edge required to brush the opposition aside, leaving them tenth in the table.

They have been defensively sound, conceding four goals in six matches outside of their 3-3 draw with Manchester City, but have only scored eight in total.

Newcastle have found the back of the net three times in their last four Premier League games as they have been found wanting at the top end of the pitch.

Alexander Isak and Callum Wilson have both scored two goals from three starts respectively and this suggests that the other areas of the team are not chipping in with enough quality in the final third.

No central midfielders have got their name on the scoresheet so far this season, whilst Miguel Almiron and Allan Saint-Maximin (one) are the only other forwards with goals in the top flight.

Howe is not getting quality attacking play from the middle of the park and he should be particularly disappointed with Joe Willock’s lack of involvement going forward.

He burst onto the scene at St. James’ Park during his initial loan spell in the second half of the 2020/21 campaign as he scored eight goals in 11 Premier League starts, suggesting that he had the quality to be a consistent, goal-scoring, midfielder for the club.

Newcastle then paid more than £20m to sign him from Arsenal on a permanent basis in the summer of 2021 and he has failed to get anywhere near the standards he set during his loan.

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Newcastle United striker Callum Wilson celebrates with Joelinton

How many 2021/22 Premier League goals did Newcastle score?

In the 2021/22 season, Willock averaged a SofaScore rating of 6.71 – placing him 17th in the squad – and produced two goals and zero assists in 29 matches. The £20k-per-week lightweight also lost 60% of his aerial duels and 52% of his battles in total, which shows that he struggled to offer much physicality in midfield whilst also faltering in front of goal.

This term, he has failed to chip in with a single goal or assist and is averaging a SofaScore rating of 6.81, whilst losing 56% of his duels in seven starts. 12 Toon players have averaged a higher rating than him and this shows that he is, once again, struggling to put in consistently impressive displays.

The dud, who Reach editor Andrew Musgrove claimed is “not stepping up“, must now finally be ditched by Howe and endure a spell on the bench. Elliot Anderson, who managed seven goals and six assists in 20 starts on loan at Bristol Rovers last season, could come in for him to be given a chance to show what he is all about at first-team level.

Playing the Magpies academy graduate ahead of Willock could also give the 23-year-old the kick he needs to get back to his goalscoring best from two seasons ago. Therefore, Howe must now drop the former Arsenal man and give the young Scot an opportunity in midfield.

Article title: Newcastle: Eddie Howe must finally ditch Joe Willock

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