The end of the Premier League season is here, and that means it is the perfect time for our staff to hand out some awards for the season. Throughout the next few days, our staff will be sharing our picks for various season-long awards including our best players, most disappointing performers, best signings, and many others. Feel free to disagree with us, in fact, call us out on our BS if you hate our takes and tell us why we are wrong in the comments section.
First up, we have our writer picks for our best players of the season. Just a few days ago the club named Joelinton their official Player of the Season. Does our staff agree?
Elijah Newsome — Joelinton
It is really hard to disagree with the club’s selection of Joelinton here. While a ton of players stood up this year for Newcastle, only one was consistently good throughout the majority of the season and that is Joelinton. Callum Wilson, Kieran Trippier, and Allan Saint-Maximin may have more contributions to the team on paper, or even might be better players than Joelinton. But all of them missed significant chunks of the season whereas Joelinton was consistently playing which enabled him to step up in his new role in the middle of the pitch.
Yes, Joelinton was not brought in to be a midfielder, but it turns out that doesn’t matter. He was a pretty solid midfielder that looked at home in Eddie Howe’s tactical setups. Whether he was asked to press, track back, or distribute Joelinton did well and was consistently the first name on the teamsheet this season.
He was the first player to show drastic improvement under Howe, and part of me believes that his emergence led to other players trusting Howe’s process and improving. Players like Willock or Schär all started to improve after Joelinton’s exponential growth and it is hard to believe they did not see what Eddie did With Big Joe and think to themselves “If he did that with Joe, I bet he could take me to the next level.”
Adam Goffin — Bruno Guimarães
Bruno was eased into life in the EPL by Eddie Howe which many fans disagreed with, but boy did that decision pay dividends in the long run. He’s a player that oozes quality and put in several man-of-the-match performances in the late season. Not only is he supremely confident on the ball and able to pick out a pass with ease, but he’s also added goals to his game since his time at Lyon, some of which have proved critical like his game-winners against Southampton and Leicester. If this is the caliber of signing we have to look forward to in the future, sign me up!
Antonio Losada — Joelinton
There is just a ton of stuff packed into Joelinton’s season and his case for winning this MVP award. So much so, in fact, that probably half of it doesn’t even have to do with what has taken place in the past eight months but rather those before the 2021/22 campaign kicked off last August. That’s because Joelinton arrived on Tyneside almost three years ago as a forward expected to bag a bunch of goals and become the leading weapon of Newcastle’s offense... only to hit the net six times before this season started. How things can change, though.
If the biggest news around Newcastle this season was, obviously, the Saudi takeover and the avoidance of relegation, on pure footballing terms the signing of Eddie Howe and his impact on the training and matchday performances have been impressive. The main beneficiary: your Brazilian Boy Joelinton. Howe turned Joelinton into a bona fide top-class midfielder overnight—kudos to Elijah for including that picture above in this column because I had not checked it and that’s hella impressive. Long gone are the internal discussions and the laughs from external haters about whether Joelinton was a flop, an underperformer, and the simple embodiment of €40M thrown down the drain. Uh, oh, how wrong we all were.
Joelinton has bossed the midfield for Newcastle with true gusto. His playing next to January-acquired and fellow Brazilian Bruno has been absolutely stunning. He has done it as a pivot, a more advanced mid-man, on defense and offense, moving forward straight and to the left to support Saint-Maximin, and he’s also got to score a couple of important goals against Brentford and Norwich (both opening the score) just like in the good old days. With the addition of Chris Wood and the return of Callum Wilson to the forward line, and knowing Joelinton can perform to phenomenal extents in the midfield going forward, that’s two birds hit with one stone by Eddie Howe—and don’t forget Joelinton can do it as a forward if needed, too.
As Elijah pointed out, this is the type of development that got us all excited when Howe was announced and by the end of the season, Joelinton had truly proved the coach’s worth and prowess in making the most of his assets. Joelinton has turned into the MVP of Newcastle by doing something wildly unexpected just a few months ago. Best of all? It truly feels like this is only the begging.