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Newcastle United’s search for a striker was completed as Leicester City forward Islam Slimani arrived at St James’ Park late on transfer deadline day.
The Algerian signed a loan deal until the end of the season with the objective of firing the goals in to keep the Magpies in the Premier League.
United’s 1-1 draw at Crystal Palace was another example of their failure to kill games off. Newcastle should have wrapped the game up by half-time after an energetic and attacking first-half display in which they led through Mohamed Diame’s goal.
Matters were running smoothly for the Magpies until a rather soft penalty was awarded to Palace, who took advantage to level the score. This then handed the Eagles the initiative and it was indeed the home side that were the more threatening in the second half.
Newcastle’s inability to execute their chances in the first half will leave fans believing that two points were dropped, rather than one point gained.
This occurrence has been all too common for the Geordies this season. United also drew their previous game 1-1 at home to Burnley, with Spaniard Joselu seeing his penalty saved by Burnley ‘keeper Nick Pope, while other opportunities were also spurned.
With Slimani missing the Palace match through injury and now back in training for his new club, the Magpies will hope that their new man will convert the chances into goals, with current forwards Joselu and Dwight Gayle not being in goal scoring form.
Slimani was signed for Leicester for a club-record fee of £28m from Sporting Lisbon in the summer of 2016, however he has not reached the high expectations set of him; partly due to Jamie Vardy’s reliable performances.
The Algerian has been utilised as a substitute for the majority of this season, netting five times in 15 appearances.
With only 12 games left to play this season, Newcastle and manager Rafa Benitez will know full well that it is time to add to the points tally, with draws needed to turn into wins.
The Magpies currently sit in 16th place, one point away from the relegation zone and two points off 12th, with the relegation battle being as intense as it has ever been.
Slimani must hit the ground running and help the Geordies cement their place in the Premier League with his goals, as he was identified as the man to keep United up.
Written by Dawud Arshad
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