Joelinton: After 2,130 minutes, Newcastle striker ends his barren run

Joelinton (left) had scored twice in the FA Cup this season but only once in the league prior to Sunday

After six months, 26 games, 2,130 minutes and 39 shots, Joelinton finally ended his barren run in the Premier League with a goal in Newcastle’s 3-0 win over Sheffield United.

The Brazilian has had a tough time since joining the Magpies last summer for a club record £40m. Before Sunday, he had scored just once – against Tottenham in the third match of the season – and has been widely criticised for his decision-making in front of goal.

When he missed a golden chance in the first half against Sheffield United it seemed like it would be another bad day at the office, but his perseverance paid off when he turned home Miguel Almiron’s cross in the 78th minute.

Newcastle manager Steve Bruce said: “He probably suffered more in the lockdown, he had no family over and he was stuck in an apartment somewhere.

“It’s been difficult, but I’m delighted for him because he’s a really good pro and he can only get better.”

Team-mate Allan Saint-Maximin added: “I am really happy for him – he works really hard to score. A striker has difficult times, but I hope he can score again now.”

‘Fair play to Joelinton, he kept plugging away’

Not many would have envisaged Joelinton’s day ending on a high.

His scuffed first-half shot, with just keeper Dean Henderson to beat, summed up the Brazilian’s season – good in the build-up, then lacking composure at the crucial moment.

Former Newcastle winger Chris Waddle – the match summariser on BBC Radio 5 Live – said: “We know he’s not worth £40m. You can’t say he doesn’t get chances.”

Those watchingat home were even more unforgiving.

Liz Tray, using #bbcfootball, wrote: “£40m. One goal in 29 games. I’ve seen some bad strikers in my time but Joelinton has to be up there.”

Sho Rahman added: Joelinton is one of the worst strikers I’ve ever seen in the Premier League.”

However, it slowly began to turn for the striker. First came visiting defender John Egan’s second yellow card, after he pulled back Joelinton as he tried to make a beeline towards goal.

Comedian Kevin Bridges still could not resist a dig.

The Magpies were now in the ascendancy. Saint-Maximin and Matt Ritchie put the home side 2-0 up. But could Joelinton take advantage of the weary Blades?

With the striker now into his 2,130th minute without scoring in the league, he perfectly timed his run into the six-yard area to both meet Almiron’s ball and, crucially, find the net with his shot.

“Fair play to Joelinton, he kept plugging away today and finally got his goal. Chuffed for him, especially after the scuffed chance in the first half,” tweeted Pete Minto.

Katie Davidson wrote: “Organised my dad three points for his Father’s Day present and better yet Joelinton scored.”

Waddle said: “It was a simple tap-in for Joelinton, but he has been in the thick of it today even though we criticise him quite a bit.

“He’s been in the right positions and got his reward.”

The goal-drought club

Saido Berahino took 913 days to score his first goal for Stoke

When it comes to barren runs, Joelinton is in ‘good’ company:

  • Striker Steve Mounie managed 44 shots without a goal between April 2018 and January 2019 when he played for Huddersfield – a record in the Premier League.
  • Alan Smith, a potent force in attack when he played for Leeds in the early 2000s, went 70 games without a goal between his final 18 games for Manchester United and his 52 for Newcastle. He was, however, playing in midfield by this stage.
  • Striker Saido Berahino’s run without scoring lasted 913 days when he was at Stoke between 2017 and 2019 – that was only over a 48-game period for the player once strongly linked with a move to Tottenham.