queries regarding Newcastle United’s third striker and the responses received

Anthony Gordon Penalty Neto BournemouthThe Newcastle United third striker debate has been intense this season.

Many fans not happy at the perceived lack of action.

Plenty of NUFC supporters claiming it was negligent that no Newcastle United third striker was brought in during the summer 2023 transfer window.

United with ‘only’ Alexander Isak and Callum Wilson as out and out strikers to play through the middle.

I want you to consider a few facts.

This is how the Premier League table looks as we wait for the end of this international March 2024 fortnight:

As you can see, Newcastle United having scored 59 goals so far in 28 Premier League matches, at a better than two goals per game average.

Only the top four have scored more goals than Newcastle United, Villa only one better and they have played a game more, whilst all conquering Man City only four goals better than NUFC.

So on the face of it, Newcastle United overall haven’t found scoring goals a massive problem.

What about the players who have scored the goals though?

These are the 34 players who have scored seven or more Premier League goals so far this season:

Arsenal – Saka (13), Havertz (8), Trossard (7)

Liverpool – Salah (15), Nunez (10), Jota (9)

Manchester City – Haaland (18), Foden (11), Alvarez (8)

Aston Villa – Watkins (16), Luiz (9), Bailey (8)

Tottenham – Son (14), Richarlison (10)

Man U – Hojlund (7), McTominany (7), Rashford (7)

West Ham – Bowen (14)

Brighton – Pedro (8)

Wolves – Hwang (10), Cunha (9)

Newcastle United – Isak (12), Gordon (9), Wilson (7)

Chelsea – Palmer (11), Jackson (9)

Fulham – Muniz (7)

Bournemouth – Solanke (15), Semenyo (7)

Crystal Palace –

Brentford – Mbeumo (7), Wissa (7)

Everton –

Luton – Adebayo (9), Morris (8)

Forest – Wood (9)

Burnley –

Sheffield United –

A few questions regarding the Newcastle United third striker

Is it really true that not signing another central striker was a massive blunder by Eddie Howe last summer?

Who is Manchester City’s third striker?

Are there any Premier League clubs with three obvious through the middle strikers?

My conclusionsAnthony Gordon Penalty Neto Bournemouth

My personal assessment is that this thing that has been said / repeated so often this season, about the lack of a Newcastle United third striker having been some supposed serious mistake by Eddie Howe and NUFC, is nonsense.

If Newcastle were going to go down that route then surely it would only be worthwhile doing so, if the striker bought was good enough to play if needed. I see fans repeatedly say that NUFC should have bought in a young promising striker for this role, the intimation that this would be a cost effective way of doing it. However, isn’t that what all Premier League clubs are looking for ??? Promising young strikers capable of scoring goals now and in the future. Such a player who has shown any kind of decent goalscoring promise isn’t going to come cheap AND then you are saying to him that if he signs, he is unlikely to get many / any chances unless injuries to both Isak and Wilson.

On the one hand all fans are now accepting that PSR / FFP means it is very difficult to have high value cover in every position due to the transfer fees and wages involved, yet on the other hand, it was supposedly a massive blunder to not pay serious money for a Newcastle United third striker who might rarely, if ever, play!!!

As I questioned above, who exactly is Man City’s third out and out through the middle striking option?

I struggle to name a second decent quality through the middle striker for most Premier League teams, never mind three!

Maybe Arsenal and / or Liverpool might be exceptions in having three obvious through the middle striking options but after that I struggle. Even with those pair, I’m not sure they have three attacking players each who are as natural ‘through the middle’ strikers as Isak and Wilson are.

Isn’t the reality anyway that the days of such intense reliance on old fashioned central strikers scoring the majority of Premier League goals, is a little… old fashioned?

The top two in the Premier League have Salah and Saka as their top scorers and indeed the reality is that for most teams now in the English top tier, it is pretty much about having a number of attacking options capable of scoring goals, especially from wide players and midfielders?

I honestly think Newcastle United were far better equipped this season when it came to strikers, than all but a minimal number of other PL teams.

I believe that Eddie Howe and Newcastle United have simply been unlucky. Unlucky having been the story of our season, especially in terms of injuries.

Having Alexander Isak and Callum Wilson as your two main options to play through the middle, then Anthony Gordon as a third option.

Tell me, which PL team has a better option than Anthony Gordon as their third option? He was player of the tournament last summer when playing there and leading England to be winners of the under 21 Euros and when asked to play there this season, in the starting eleven and during in-match changes, has done well for Newcastle. Scoring goals such as against Arsenal (see above) and Bournemouth and general all round good play when in that role, in the limited number of times it has happened with NUFC this campaign.

Anthony Gordon Penalty Neto BournemouthIt is the ridiculous number of injuries that have been the massive problem, it isn’t the failure to sign a third out and out central striker who might never be needed.

Anyway, it is the trend now for Premier League clubs to rely on versatile attacking players to do a job through the middle, if their usual strikers are missing. The likes of Bowen at West Ham this season,, whilst Arsenal happy to have players through the middle who aren’t necessarily ones who you would describe as centre-forwards.

If it wasn’t for the crazy list of other missing players this season, then I think Newcastle United could have put out a very good attacking side, even if both Isak and Wilson were missing for a while.

Gordon through the middle and then say a five of Willock, Joelinton, Barnes, Bruno and Tonali, With then also the likes of Anderson, Longstaff, Almiron, Miley and Murphy as back up.

You could have also as another option have played say Joelinton through the middle if you’d wanted to play Gordon on the left, after all, Joelinton was bought as a £40m striker and could still do a job there if needed, especially if having that kind of quality supporting cast as detailed above.

I anticipate that plenty of you reading this will be saying BUT both Callum Wilson and Alexander Isak are so injury prone, so that is why there absolutely had to be another striker signed.

I think this is largely a red herring as well.

Newcastle United and Isak and Wilson have simply been unlucky.

I have seen some crazy lies from Newcastle fans claiming Isak has been injury prone his entire career so far. This is just nonsense. He has just been unlucky during his NUFC career so far, in his time at Real Sociedad the striker was only unavailable for five of 116 La Liga squads and he was missing for one of those five due to suspension.

As for Callum Wilson, obviously he has had a career blighted by mainly hamstring issues, but Eddie Howe has handled him really well. That  chest injury at Forest was a total freak one caused by a defender and was nothing to do with his having had so many hamstring issues or being injury prone. Up to and including that Forest away win, Wilson had been in the NUFC matchday squads 51 times in the last 65 PL matches, most of his time spent out of the team during that time due to Alexander Isak becoming first choice striker.

With ten games still left, Newcastle United are only nine goals adrift of the 68 they scored in total last season in the Premier League in all 38 games. If keeping up the current average, United are set to score 80+ goals this time. Having already played all eight games this season against the current top four, every reason to believe that Eddie Howe’s team can finish the season strongly, including scoring plenty more goals. Especially if we can keep the likes of Isak, Gordon and Barnes (13 PL goals last season) on the pitch these next two months and even get Wilson back late in the season.

When it comes to a Newcastle United third striker, if PSR/FFP hadn’t prevented it, then I think other positions would have been far more of a priority for strengthening, rather than a third through the middle centre-forward.

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