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Record signing Joelinton finally showing why Newcastle splashed cash

Newcastle United 3 Sheffield United 0

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Joelinton scores Newcastle United's third goal of the game at St James' Park Photo: PA

Joelinton scores Newcastle United's third goal of the game at St James' Park Photo: PA

PA

Joelinton scores Newcastle United's third goal of the game at St James' Park Photo: PA

Trying to work out why Newcastle United decided to shatter their transfer record to spend £40m on a striker who does not score goals has been like playing Cluedo with one of the cards missing. The Joelinton mystery remains unsolved, but at least we have some clues.

This was easily the most impact the big Brazilian has had on a Premier League game since he arrived from Hoffenheim last July. There were mistakes and a bad miss in the first half, when he ran in on goal and scuffed a shot that trickled into the arms of Dean Henderson, but this is what Newcastle need from their No 9.

"He has had a really good game, especially after that miss in the first half," said Steve Bruce, the Newcastle manager. "He wants to do well. He has a go and that is the main thing. He is only young, he will get better and he wants to achieve. When they have a good appetite like that, you know he'll be OK.

"We have worked at him getting in to the area from where he scored today and we have changed the system, gone to four at the back, and you can see we are more of a threat going forward."

Joelinton was strong, aggressive and, more importantly, he scored, starting and finishing the move that led to Newcastle's third goal, tapping in Miguel Almiron's cross after showing speed and desire to get on the end of it.

The problem, though, is there have been 301 days between his first Premier League goal against Tottenham Hotspur at the end of August, and his second yesterday.

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Irish defender John Egan cannot hide his disappointment after being sent off during Sheffield United’s 3-0 defeat to Newcastle United. Photo: REUTERS

Irish defender John Egan cannot hide his disappointment after being sent off during Sheffield United’s 3-0 defeat to Newcastle United. Photo: REUTERS

REUTERS

Irish defender John Egan cannot hide his disappointment after being sent off during Sheffield United’s 3-0 defeat to Newcastle United. Photo: REUTERS

For £40m, you expect more than four goals from your main striker, particularly when two of them came against Rochdale and Oxford United, of League One, in the FA Cup.

That is not to say Newcastle signed a bad player, as such, as the Brazilian's role in the red card shown to John Egan early in the second half illustrated.

Joelinton was clever. Following the flight of a long punt forward from Federico Fernandez, he realised Egan - who had already been shown a yellow card - would be able to clear it on the volley, so he waited a split second and then put his chest in the way to charge it down. Egan, panicked, pulled the Newcastle striker back as he ran in on goal and there was no disputing the referee's decision.

Newcastle took the lead shortly afterwards, Matt Ritchie driving forward and, when Enda Stevens kicked fresh air trying to clear, Allan Saint-Maximin - the home side's most dangerous player - applied a controlled finish that went in off the legs of Henderson.

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Newcastle United's Allan Saint-Maximin skips towards the Sheffield United box. Photo: REUTERS

Newcastle United's Allan Saint-Maximin skips towards the Sheffield United box. Photo: REUTERS

REUTERS

Newcastle United's Allan Saint-Maximin skips towards the Sheffield United box. Photo: REUTERS

Sheffield United were poor; sluggish and one-paced. They have not emerged from lockdown looking like the same team they were when they went in. Billy Sharp should have headed in an equaliser, but the visitors were lethargic.

"We are strangely off the pace at the moment and the goals we conceded were really poor," said Chris Wilder, the Sheffield United manager.

"It was a bang-average performance. There is no flow to our play like there was leading into the lockdown and we are making individual mistakes. When you do that, you're going to be punished. A newly promoted team like us, we need to be right at it."

Henderson, so impressive on loan from Man United, was at fault for the second goal, Ritchie using George Baldock as a screen before lashing a shot home from the edge of the area into a vast expanse of empty net.

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Matt Ritchie makes it 2-0 Newcastle. Photo: REUTERS

Matt Ritchie makes it 2-0 Newcastle. Photo: REUTERS

REUTERS

Matt Ritchie makes it 2-0 Newcastle. Photo: REUTERS

The third goal was the special one, though, because of the name of the goalscorer. Behind closed doors, this was the player we have been told about in training. It was a complete centre-forward display. After months of head-scratching and confusion, Joelinton may finally be turning into the player Newcastle need him to be. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Telegraph.co.uk