With the opening fixture against Spurs edging closer and closer, Newcastle’s striking options are limited. Gayle is still 50/50, which only leaves Mitrovic.
For the opening match against Spurs, Newcastle have two out and out strikers to choose from; Mitrovic and Gayle. Ayoze can play as a number 9 but I think he’s better playing just behind the striker. It’s still unclear whether Gayle will start due to a hamstring problem. It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of Mitrovic and think he should start.
In his debut Newcastle season, he netted nine nine league goals which is a respectable figure in a poor side. Last season, his goal tally was poorer, four goals in 25 matches. This does look very bad until you look a bit further into that. He only played 90 minutes eight times. Four goals in 8 full matches doesn’t look half as bad. This shows that he’s not getting enough game time. On the international stage, he’s scored five in the six World Cup qualification matches which shows that he will score goals if given the time.
As well as that, he can play in a two man pairing, he can bring others into play by holding up the ball and allowing other attackers to make dangerous runs. In this sense, he’s quite underrated as this doesn’t show up on stats. Take Leeds at home for example when he did and this and was very, very unlucky not to score two.
I’ve been talking a lot about his pros, but yes he does have quite a few flaws. First of all, he’s not a Benitez type of striker. Gayle fits the bill perfectly, quick and nimble (like Fernando Torres). But Mitrovic simply isn’t built like that. As well as that, he can be very wasteful with his finishing. For every three big chances, he scores one which is a problem.
Newcastle still have deals on the table for Joselu and Lucas Perez which I’m all for but I still think Mitrovic deserves to be given a chance in the first team this season.
Feature image credit: Ben Sutherland