Unsung Hero: Joelinton’s high-energy performance should please Steve Bruce despite Newcastle United losing at Chelsea

Unsung Hero: Joelinton’s high-energy performance should please Steve Bruce despite Newcastle United losing at Chelsea

Chelsea may have beaten Newcastle United 1-0 on Saturday, but the high-energy nature of Joelinton’s performance at Stamford Bridge should have offered Toon boss Steve Bruce some pleasure despite the Brazilian again failing to score.

Joelinton has struck the back of the net just once since joining Newcastle for £40m (BBC) in the summer, with his sole goal of the season thus far coming in week three of the Premier League campaign away to Tottenham Hotspur (TransferMarkt).

The 6 ft 1 attacker came close to opening his account eight days earlier as the Magpies lost at newly promoted Norwich City, when he drifted into a strong position at the back post to meet Isaac Hayden’s teasing cross, but could not test Canaries ‘keeper Tim Krul with his header as it sailed wide of the post.

Joelinton’s lack of a goal threat against Chelsea was the prevailing take for some on Saturday, with the Chronicle awarding Joelinton a six out of ten in their match ratings as Bruce’s first-choice centre-forward only fashioned one effort on goal.

Only full-backs Jetro Willems and DeAndre Yedlin were awarded lower match ratings by the Chronicle, with both earning 5/10.

While it may be true that Joelinton did not show a clear goal threat, Bruce will have seen some reasons to be pleased with the Brazilian’s performance in West London, even though the former youth international is now six games without a strike to his name.

Joelinton’s high work rate and desire to harry the Chelsea backline with a constant press ensured the Blues’ defenders were regularly on the back foot as they looked to play the ball into midfield, and were a key aspect of his game on Saturday.

It was very telling that WhoScored’s heat map from the match showed Joelinton spending much of the tie in the hosts’ half, whereas previous fixtures – especially against Manchester United – had shown the forward to spend much of proceedings bordering on the halfway line.

The Sport Recife product held an 80% pass success rate at the time of his departure for Christian Atsu, too, which was the highest rate of any Newcastle player to have started against Frank Lampard’s side.

Joelinton’s combative attributes were also on display at Stamford Bridge as he attempted a game-high ten offensive aerial duels, albeit only winning four, while winning his sole attempted tackle and recording one clearance.

Newcastle fans, should Joelinton’s high-press performance against Chelsea be lauded more so than it has been? Let us know in the comments below…

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