Salomon Rondon was brought to St James’ Park to sharpen Newcastle’s blunt attack but it remains to be seen whether the Venezuela international has the firepower which is needed to thrive at this level.
Rondon has made a bright start to life at Newcastle, with three goals and two assists from 11 Premier League fixtures providing a decent basis for a successful season.
But it’s not only the finishing touches which suggest Rondon could inspire Newcastle’s survival bid this season. His natural hold-up play and ability to link the midfield and attack are defining characteristics of his game, whilst his diligent work-rate will naturally endear him to the Magpies faithful.
In the modern day it’s something of a necessity for centre-forwards to defend from the front and attempt to recover possession high up the pitch, but there is a fine balance which needs to be struck.
Pressing the opponents, especially in a lone-striker role, is a tiresome endeavour, and an overzealous attitude to harrying defenders can actually have a negative impact on the quality of an attacker’s performance in the final-third, which is ultimately their primary reason for being on the pitch.
That is a point which former Newcastle United star, Chris Waddle, alluded to in the aftermath of Wolves’ 2-1 victory on Sunday afternoon (as per BBC).
‘At the moment, everything they do in attack goes through Salomon Rondon, who is on a season-long loan from West Brom. Rondon did brilliantly in the first half against Wolves, who just could not handle him.
‘But he ran himself into the ground chasing lost causes and much of Newcastle’s attacking threat disappeared when he ran out of steam, which is what happened after the break.’
DeAndre Yedlin’s second-half red card certainly had an impact on Rondon’s diminishing influence on proceedings, but it was not the first time this season the 29-year-old forward has faded in the second-half.
That Rondon has a tireless work-rate and tends to suffer from burnout before most of his teammates is certainly no coincidence, and his failure to manage his energy levels effectively is a notable cause for concern.
Naturally, supporters love to see their star striker giving everything for the cause, but equally they hate it when goals dry up, so Rondon will need to strike a balance to fully win over the St James’ faithful this season.
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