‘A man transformed’ – Joelinton’s best at Newcastle United? A closer look at the Brazilian’s Brentford display

A closer look at Joelinton’s Newcastle United performance against Brentford - and why the signs are encouraging.

The performance of Joelinton is one of the big talking points from Eddie Howe’s first game in charge.

For a player that has forever divided opinion on Tyneside, the consensus among the fanbase seems to be that the Brazilian was excellent against Brentford. Well, bar his late slip.

Was this his best game in a Newcastle United shirt? We take a closer look at the 25-year-old’s display – and ask whether he could become a shining light for Howe & Co:

Joelinton’s story so far

To say Joelinton was thrown into the deep end upon his £40million arrival in July 2019 is perhaps an understatement.

Not only had he just become the club’s record signing, but he was also handed the number nine shirt, despite previously rarely featuring as an out-and-out striker.

Somebody in United’s scouting department banked on Joelinton transitioning from a wide player into a natural Premier League striker, but that hasn’t happened.

The decision to splash such money on the Brazilian is viewed by many as baffling – none more so than club legend Alan Shearer – but that’s not the player’s fault. Unfortunately, the price tag isn’t going to escape him any time soon and scrutiny is constant.

Following just 10 goals – only four of which have been in the Premier League – in 81 appearances, Joelinton changed from number nine to seven in the summer, with Callum Wilson taking on the responsibility.

Joelinton has shown glimpses during his two-and-a-bit years on Tyneside but consistency has been an issue.

Will that change under Eddie Howe?

‘Looked a man transformed’

The early signs of a Joelinton revival under Howe are very, very promising. In Howe’s unorthodox 3-4-3, the Brazilian was deployed as a right-sided forward and looked a man transformed.

Within the opening couple of minutes, Joelinton, despite slipping at first, won the ball high before delivering a cross that Wilson headed narrowly wide.

He often picked the ball up deep too. Joelinton won the corner that led to Jamaal Lascelles’ opener through receiving a pass midway inside his own half before driving forward and seeing the shot deflected behind.

Then, although Allan Saint-Maximin’s low shot received a kind ricochet, Joelinton did well to control and fire home an emphatic equaliser, six minutes before half-time.

Throughout the afternoon, he established himself as a physical presence and was excellent in possession too.

He had been set for a man-of-the-match performance up until the 83rd minute.

Saint-Maximin powered his way past three Brentford players to tee up Joelinton on the right. But rather than shoot first time, Joelinton slipped as he moved the ball onto his left.

That came after the former Hoffenheim man had moved into the number 10 position following a change in formation to 4-2-3-1.

Squandering such a golden opportunity, when your team is desperate for three points, took the shine away a little but there is no doubting he was the best player on the park on Saturday.

After little under two weeks of training with Howe, Joelinton was practically a new sensation, which can only be a hugely encouraging sign going forward.

What Jason Tindall said about Joelinton

Interestingly, Magpies assistant head coach Jason Tindall claimed the Brazilian will be an important player for the new management.

Clearly, they’ve spotted something in Joelinton.

Tindall said: “First of all, I think Joelinton’s a fantastic player. Ever since we’ve been here, we’ve seen the quality that he’s got.

“The performance he delivered today was outstanding. His work ethic for the team was exactly what was asked.

“He got a fantastic goal, and hopefully that’ll give Joe the confidence moving forward, because he’s certainly going to be a big player for this football club and this team.”

What Joelinton said about… Joelinton

Joelinton, when chatting to the club website after the game, alluded to the “new ideas and style of play” Howe has implemented.

He, like many of his teammates, have evidently bought into Howe’s demands.

“It felt really good to score,” Joelinton said. “How I trained in the week leading up to the game seemed to show on the pitch and I’m pleased to score my first goal of the season.

“I will keep working hard and make sure I continue to help the team in the upcoming games.

“Eddie has brought in new ideas and a new style of play. The last ten days with him have been very good, both for myself and the team.

“We have worked hard and we must continue that, sticking together and keep fighting.”

The stats behind Joelinton’s display

Howe wants his players to be braver on the ball and the stats suggested Joelinton rose to that challenge – completing five out of seven dribbles, bringing a season-high success rate of 71% – if exclude one out of one dribble at Brighton.

There were way more passes attempted too. His 37 equalled his tally versus Leeds but against Brentford, he enjoyed a larger success rate of 84%.

In total, he had 71 touches, four of which came in the penalty area. Against Tottenham Hotspur however, he managed that five times.

His two shots on target – his first goal of the season and a late first-half header – was the most he achieved this campaign at 67%.

To further reiterate Joelinton’s effectiveness in the air, he won 11 aerial duels. Again, his 64% success saw him register another season-best.

Matt Ritchie once hailed Howe as a miracle worker, which might be exactly what the doctor ordered for Joelinton, who could never quite find his feet under Steve Bruce.