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Greg’s bi-weekly NUFC Report

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Observations, Questions and a Prediction on Newcastle United

Newcastle United v Rochdale AFC - FA Cup Third Round: Replay Photo by Mark Fletcher/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

This article is a bi-weekly report on Newcastle United. Comment on this article and we can leave the comments for further discussion

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3 Observations:

Newcastle United v Rochdale AFC - FA Cup Third Round: Replay Photo by Serena Taylor/Newcastle United via Getty Images
  1. Migoal Almiron - 4 Goals in 7 matches for Miggy! I want to look into what it is Miggy is doing differently in order to get goals. Spoiler Alert: Nothing. Almiron has always been able to get in position to score or create goals and he is continuing to do that. What is the one difference he is making? He is scoring them. Let’s talk through each of his 4 goals so far. If you remember all of the misses he was having, you will notice as I talk through each one, that you’ve seen him do these things time and time again. He is just putting them in the net now, which is......good!

1st goal - December 21st, (h) Crystal Palace

Mobile link HERE.

You can see that Miggy does a great job staying in the middle of the box in open space. Bad on Palace defenders to not mark him, but he resists the temptation to move around and stays put. Once Carroll gets the ball to him its only up to Miggy if that ball goes in or not. I consider this basically a set piece goal. One thing Miggy has always been good at is finding open space and making late runs in the box. This goal certainly checks the mark. Also... That celebration thoooooo.

2nd goal - January 4th, (a) Rochdale

Mobile link HERE.

Once the ball was intercepted, keep an eye on Miggy. It’s pretty cool to see him trailing Atsu with the ball, keeping his arm extended to the lane he was running in. During the trailing run, you can see Miggy look up to survey the path he was going to take. He understands leverage very well in making these runs to maintain space. Once they get into the box Atsu delivers it to Miggy who takes once touch and scores a beauty.

Remember all the other opportunities where Almiron got the ball in space and took a heavy touch only to turn the ball over or overhit the ball? This isnt happening, he’s learning, making smart touches and scoring beauties. A wonderful goal for him here.

3rd goal - January 11th, (a) Wolves

Mobile link HERE.

Notice this goal is eerily similar to his goal against Rochdale earlier. the ball is won and Almiron waits to make his run. He thrives in making late runs into the box. You can see him sit in place and wait until the initial run is made. This time he is also trailing Gayle in making a late run, which is a smart move because it’s essentially two waves of attacks coming into the box.

He once again extended his arm to show Jetro which running lane he was going to, and then leveraged his run to keep the one defender outside of his right shoulder so he never gets in-between the ball and Miggy. Gayle receives the ball in the box first and that’s when Miggy’s 1st class speed picks up, he gets into that open space and scores a fantastic goal.

4th goal - January 14th, (h) Rochdale

Mobile link HERE.

This was was too easy. Newcastle were in a high press situation against a less talented team. Rochdale panicked. Almiron made sure to cut the angles off on the opposite side of the pitch. Once the keeper got the ball, I’m not sure what he was thinking but he just kicked it to Miggy who was waiting in space. He did a great job once on the ball of keeping his patience, and once the goalie inched forward enough, Miggy shot and put it in the net. Easy does it.

2. We are slowly but surely getting healthier - Going into last week, Newcastle had 11 first team players on the injury list. It’s been tough for Bruce to come up with a squad for each match, especially given how many games we were playing. In the recent FA Cup match against Rochdale on Tuesday, we saw Jamaal Lascelles and Matt Ritchie return to the lineup. Another big boost was Alan St. Maximin posted on Twitter of him dancing:

Good banter between him and Lascelles in this tweet so make sure to check it out.

The other player who is getting healthier is Jonjo Shlevey. Jonjo appeared in the Fa Cup match as a sub. It was an easy appearance for him as he didnt really have to take any risks in this one. Still remains to be seen if he will be in the lineup this weekend, but hes definitely close.

There still will be around 9 players out for the match against Chelsea upcoming but were getting closer to having 4 starters back going into February.

Rochdale AFC v Newcastle United - FA Cup Third Round Photo by Serena Taylor/Newcastle United via Getty Images

3. Tom Allan’s Debut! - It’s always good to see a local kid get his debut with Newcastle. We’ve been lucky as a fanbase to see a good amount of local lads come up through the ranks in the last few years and I’m sure you will all join me in hoping that he stays in the first team mix when players eventually recover from their injuries.

One thing Tom showed me on his debut was that he is definitely better than League One Rochdale. He was very pacey and he got the assist on Joelinton’s goal.

It’s a different animal when you play against Premier League competition but he definitely showed that he deserves more chances. To catch you up on Tom Allan, let’s talk about what he’s done at the U23 level.

It has been a down year for NUFC U23s. They currently sit in 10th place in a 12 team table (Sunderland is bottom lol). The one positive is Tom Allan. He has 11 goals on the season and is an everyday player for the reserves. Because of his success, (and injuries) he’s been training with the first team.

It will be interesting to see what Super Brucie has in store for Allan going forward and I’m sure we are all hoping he gets more opportunities this season.

2 Questions:

Newcastle United v Rochdale AFC - FA Cup Third Round: Replay Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images
  1. Will Joelinton’s recent goal propel him to more goals like Miggy?

This is an interesting thought. Because Joelinton has never really gone on a goal scoring run before. There was a time in Austria and a time in Germany where he scored 3 goals in 2 matches but outside of that there really aren't any crazy streaks to talk about.

That doesn't mean wont happen here though. One thing Joelinton has always been good at is he is able to create goals at a good rate. 21 goals and 9 assists in Austria at Rapid Vienna. 11 goals and 9 assists in half the matches at Hoffenheim and 2 goals 2 assists for Newcastle so far.

The assists is what is going to make him. If we can get Joelinton to play on a CB and impose his will, he will get more opportunities as well as create chances. I don’t need him to be a hold up striker like Rondon, but he can do some of that.

If he does, I could see Joelinton getting to 6 goals, but maybe 10 assists. There is a but. BUT if he doesn't learn how to connect with the midfield, we may still continue on with those same issues.

2. How far can NUFC make a run in the FA Cup?

I love that Bruce has gone for it so far. I hope he continues that trend moving into the fourth round. A home tie to Oxford United is definitely in our favor. If we start the same lineup in that match, I think NUFC can once again, easily win and move to the Fifth round for the first time under Mike Ashley’s ownership, so what happens if NUFC do advance to the Fifth round?

16 of the 32 teams left in the Fa Cup are in a lower division than Newcastle United. Of those 16 clubs, only 5 matches involve clubs that are both in a lower division than NUFC. So if there are no upsets, NUFC will have a 1/3 chance to draw a lower division side in the round of 16. That is going to be key for us. You don’t want Anfield away or any of that other BS.

The easy path is going to give us the best chance and its about damn time we catch a break with lucky draws.

1 Prediction:

Right now the Goal scoring leaders looks like this.

Jonjo - 5

Almiron - 4

M. Longstaff - 3

This isnt necessarily a hot take, but I think Almiron is going to get to 10 goals this season in all comps. But if I had to predict how the season’s goal leaders for NUFC would end up, this is what I would guess.

Almiron - 10

Joelinton - 7

Jonjo - 6

ASM - 5

M. Lonstaff - 4

According to xG, Almiron should already have 4 or 5 Premier League goals, and I think with his hot form he will make up for the difference, but the 2nd xG player for NUFC is Big Joe. He should already have 3 PL goals according to xG, and I’m willing to bet that he is going to finish his chances.

I will revisit this to see how I do. While isn't necessarily great to see at the end of a season, at least our attacking players are starting to score goals.