Why Dwight Gayle is pivotal to Newcastle United’s survival hopes
Newcastle United suffered their sixth defeat in seven games at home to Leicester City on Saturday evening.
Despite taking the lead in the contest, the Magpies were pegged back and then put to the sword as the Foxes rode out 3-2 winners.
While the result was a cause for concern on the Toon Army’s 125th anniversary, the performance of Dwight Gayle provided some reason for optimism.
The 27-year-old had a big hand in both of United’s goals.
His intelligent run and cross allowed Joselu to open the scoring after just six minutes.
Then, in the second-half. the striker’s deflected shot found its way past Kasper Schmeichel to make it 2-2.
Although Newcastle couldn’t hold on for the point, Gayle’s own personal goal tally for the season now stands at three.
That may not seem like much, but it puts him joint-top of the North-East club’s scoring charts.
When you take into account that Gayle has played 373 minutes less than strike-partner Joselu, that record appears all the more impressive.
And it is. Despite his limited game-time, the diminutive ace has had a hand in 25% of all United’s Premier League goals so far this season.
Put simply, if Gayle plays he makes an impact.
At his previous club Palace, the forward finished as top goalscorer three seasons in a row. In those three seasons he played a combined total of 74 games.
His pace, fancy footwork and ability to pull defenders this way and that make him a nightmare to play against.
Often, however, managers have been reluctant to make use of his talents in the top-flight.
With those sorts of stats, we can’t really understand why.
If the Magpies are to survive in the Premier League this season, the London-born hitman must continue to start for the St James’ Park club.
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