Often seen as the emblem of an overpriced transfer that failed to deliver, Joelinton has seen a complete transformation in position, role, and status under new Newcastle boss Eddie Howe. The former Bournemouth coach has harnessed the Brazilian’s tireless work rate by moving him from forward to central midfield, where he’s performed brilliantly as a box to box midfielder. So with that, we decided to take a look at how Joelinton has transformed into one of Newcastle’s most important players in the blink of an eye. Here is our latest Player Analysis.
IN POSSESSIONEmbed from Getty Images
Never the silkiest of dribblers, Joelinton has always been more of a bulldozer than a dancer. Playing with his back to goal as a centre forward was never a role that suited his strength (or his strengths), as he’s best driving forward and taking defenders on 1v1 through pace and power. Playing on the left of a midfield three has freed the Brazilian up to run with and without the ball box to box, often with more space and time on his hands than in the old days as a striker. Completing 53.5% of his dribbles and 3.85 progressive carries per game, the 25-year-old has been crucial to breaking lines and getting the Magpies up the pitch, where he then provides greater connectivity between the midfield and forward lines – something they rarely achieved under Steve Bruce.Embed from Getty Images
Having a midfield dribbler of the Weston McKennie, Jude Bellingham or Declan Rice mold simply allows other more creative and dangerous players to receive the ball higher up the pitch. Instead of Saint-Maximin for example needing to drop deep to pick up possession, the ninja-like skillster can seek out spaces to receive in dangerous areas closer to goal, and then work his magic as the opposition get attracted to Joelinton’s power.
Having played as a second striker throughout his time at 1899 Hoffenheim, the 25-year-old also understands how to support his front line in attack. As Shelvey and Willock/Longstaff come toward the ball in build-up phases, Joelinton is free to float higher, where he can get on the end of Chris Wood knock downs, or hold width on the left-hand-side for Saint Maximin to drift over to the right. His role on the left also then becomes about getting into the box during Newcastle’s creation stage, looking to provide another number to Chris Wood in getting on the end of Kieran Trippier’s superb deliveries from the right. Further, when Allan Saint-Maximin carries the ball down the left, Joelinton will race forward to get on the underlap and create more room for the Frenchman to work his wisdom.Embed from Getty Images
Impressively, Newcastle signed a world beater in Bruno Guimaraes at the end of the January transfer window, but he has not come straight into the side. Joelinton is a massive reason why. The excellent form of Jonjo Shelvey, who offers a fantastic long passing range similar to Guimaraes has also played its part. But in our Guimaraes analysis, we suggested the Lyon midfielder might be best suited for a midfield two alongside Shelvey. The problem with that is that it would push Joelinton into a different attacking midfield role, and disrupt the consistency they’ve found in the 4-3-3. The balance of the team could then become lost as holding width becomes a greater requirement of Saint-Maximin, which messes with the rhythm the two men have found on that side. So for now, for what he offers in dribbling, running power and on-the-ball presence, Joelinton is keeping an incredible player out of the side.
OUT OF POSSESSIONEmbed from Getty Images
If the best way to describe Joelinton in possession would be to use the word “bulldozer”, than out of possession he’s probably a forklift. He works off the ball with a tireless energy, carrying heavy loads and responsibilities that he meets with urgency and dominance every single time. Holding the height of the line in Newcastle’s 4-1-4-1 to 4-5-1 mid-block, Joelinton is the most active presser and tackler in the team. He’s also one of the most successful, boasting a career high 31% pressing success and 47% tackling success. In the defensive third, he’s also been well positioned to put his body in the way of 2.5 blocks and 1.9 interceptions per 90, again a career high in this new role. Crucially, he’s also aerially dominant, which is not the case for most central midfielders in the league. He’s won 3.1 aerial duels per game, with a 47% success rate during his duels.
The Brazilian perfectly fits Newcastle’s new vibe of grinders, who are willing to do whatever it takes to win. This is something that the team were always lacking under Steve Bruce, alongside an over-arching identity. Eddie Howe has made Newcastle’s identity more fluid in possession, while being much more aggressive and forward thinking in defense. Joelinton leads the way in all of that, providing sharp animal instincts everywhere on the field in helping the Magpies regain possession.
CONCLUSIONEmbed from Getty Images
Joelinton has enjoyed an excellent start to life under Eddie Howe’s new regime at Newcastle, playing on the left-side of an ever-improving midfield three. The Brazilian has seamlessly transitioned from forward into central midfield, utilizing his strength and box to box mobility to his advantage. Howe deserves massive credit for recognizing the Brazilian’s potential to easily transition into the role, but the man that has to be commended the most is Joelinton himself – who has suddenly become of the Magpies’ key men.
So there it is! A player analysis of Joelinton, after his recent resurgence under Eddie Howe. Be sure to check out more Player Analyses, our in-depth Eddie Howe – Newcastle United – Tactical Analysis, and don’t forget to follow on social media @mastermindsite. Thanks for reading and see you soon!
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