Dwight Gayle’s lack of precision in front of goal has placed a ceiling on Newcastle United’s success in the Premier League.
Newcastle United were once recognized as a team that scored goals for fun, but the reputation of the Magpies’ front line has drastically changed over the last three seasons. Newcastle United only managed to score 39 goals in the 2017-18 campaign and 42 goals last term.
This season, Steve Bruce’s team is the joint-lowest scoring team in the Premier League with an alarming tally of 25 goals through 29 games. A major reason for that terrible statistic is the lack of goals from the club’s strikers.
Joelinton, Andy Carroll, Dwight Gayle and Yoshinori Muto have only combined to score one goal this season, which came from Joelinton in the third week of action against Tottenham. As a Newcastle United fan, this is extremely disappointing and it is difficult to identify who should be blamed for this crisis. Is it the players? Is it the coaching staff? Is it the club’s scouts? Common sense says everyone deserves an equal share of the blame.
What bothers me the most, though, is not Joelinton’s struggles this season. The Brazilian did not ask for the price tag Newcastle United had to pay to secure his services, and it is his first season playing in England. Do not get me wrong, I expected Joelinton to score at least eight or nine goals, but I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt for at least one more season, but not as the primary striker.
The key issue I have with the front-line is Dwight Gayle and his wasted opportunities. Why, Dwight, why? Of all the strikers in the squad, Gayle is the best when it comes to getting in scoring positions.
For those of you that watched the Southampton game (March 7th), you noticed that Gayle should have celebrated a hat-trick in the opening 25 minutes. Instead, he walked away with his hands over his head in disbelief that he missed consecutive attempts from five feet out.
Gayle is a lethal striker in the Championship, but I always thought he has sufficient talent to be a decent striker in the Premier League as well. The 29-year-old has made 47 Premier League appearances for Newcastle United since 2017 (was out on loan at West Brom last season), but he only has six goals to his name.
When diving deeper into the statistics one would find that Gayle has created 68 chances, but 44 of his attempts (65%) were off target. In addition to his poor shooting accuracy, Gayle has missed 14 “big” chances.
In other words, with better precision and decision making in front of goal Gayle could have scored 20 goals, which would be a respectable record for the number of appearances he made as a Magpie in the top flight.
I still perceive Gayle as a talented striker who possesses great pace to break past defenders, and he is an underrated passer with good vision, but his inability to bury golden chances has hurt this club in the top tier of English football.
Personally, I constantly hoped that he would find his rhythm up top, but it has not happened. At this stage, the only option Newcastle United have is to sell Gayle this summer.