22 year old Serbian striker Aleksander Mitrovic was signed in July of 2015 for £13 million from Belgian club R.S.C Anderlecht. He went on to play 34 matches and scored 9 goals and got 4 assists, stats from Squawka. That’s impressive for his first season in one of the toughest leagues in the world and in a struggling squad. However one massive problem is his disciplinary record. He earned himself two red cards and 4 yellow cards. He needs to drastically change this side of his game or he risks missing out on game time which could damage his career. This was fine last season when him and Ayoze Perez were the only viable options up top but now with the additions of Dwight Gayle, Mohamed Diame and Daryl Murphy manager Rafa Benitez has 5 different striking options, the red hot form of Gayle isn’t helping Mitrovic’s hopes. So far the young Serbian has played 7 matches in the championship and scored 3 goals, however he’s only started 2 of those 7. His attitude is clearly a stumbling block for Rafa Benitez and has preferred to start him in cup matches only. However as Dwight Gayle was a “big doubt” for yesterdays 2-1 victory over Preston North End Mitrovic was given a place in starting eleven. Acknowledging this was his big chance to impress the boss certainly didn’t squander the opportunity, scoring 2 goals to secure the win at Deepdale. This was very pleasing for the fans as the Geordie faithful hold him in very high regard, or at least most of them. His passion for the club and desire to play for the badge has been sorely missed at the club and he delivers just that. His mad personality and over the top celebrations put him the fan’s good books very early on in his Newcastle career. Of course passion doesn’t make you a good striker, but it certainly helps. So now onto the big question.
Does he deserve to start?
In my opinion, yes. This league is very physical and that’s perfect for Mitrovic, he won’t turn down the chance to get in the opponents face and knock them down. He has also shown that heading is one of his biggest strengths. So putting crosses onto his head might not be a bad idea, this tactic may be basic but it can work well e.g. Stoke City under Tony Pulis. I also believe a combination of Mitrovic and Gayle would work well as long balls in to box could be knocked down by Mitrovic and finished by Gayle. I know these sound like very old fashioned tactics but they would be effective. So Mitrovic would be ideal for this league. In conclusion yes, I think Mitrovic should start but rotating him for Gayle/Perez etc wouldn’t hurt one bit.
Featured image credit: Yellow Book LTD