Dwight Gayle: Why the goal-getter is a vital player for Newcastle

As always at this point of the football calendar, fans tend to focus on Premier League newcomers from abroad and the substantial figures paid to bring these players in.

However, many people forget that the newly promoted Championship sides also boast their own Premier League newcomers who could provide serious excitement of their own.

These articles seek to examine some of the newly promoted gems of the Premier League new boys, Huddersfield, Newcastle and Brighton and Hove Albion.


No strangers to the top flight

Unlike Brighton and Huddersfield, Newcastle are no strangers to the Premier League having played in it for all but three years of its existence and during some periods were even regular top half finishers, sometimes doing even better.

The fans even got to see Premier League all-time top scorer Alan Shearer play on a weekly basis but poor signings and mismanagement led to the club’s relegation at the end of the 2015/16 season whilst their bitter Tyneside rivals Sunderland stayed up at their expense.

Fortunately for the Toon, they have managed to bounce straight back up having topped the Championship table in what largely became a two-horse race between themselves and Brighton.

They finished the season with both the joint highest goals for and joint lowest goals against in the league and if they are to remain in the Premier League this season they will need to defend and attack equally proficiently at this higher level.

Having kept many of the club’s star players and brought in a few new signings upon relegation they were well equipped for the Championship and this group of players should give the club a reasonably stable base for the season ahead.


Wonderful piece of business

One of these players brought in for the 2016/17 season was the striker Dwight Gayle from Crystal Palace for approximately £10m. This has since proved a wonderful piece of business as Gayle helped light up the Championship last season firing Newcastle to the title along the way.

Gayle will need to be just as effective in front of goal this season if the Magpies are to remain in the top flight of English football. Gayle does come with some Premier League credentials even if he never really set the world on fire at Palace.

Although not truly prolific, he still had a knack of scoring the occasional Premier League goal and throughout his career he has been dangerous in front of goal playing in 5 different tiers of English football including ninth tier Stansted and scoring regularly in each.

Palace decided to take a chance on him back in 2013 and although he did score a few goals, the Eagles were still keen to cash in for £10m. Since dropping down a division the goals have really started to flow for Gayle again.


Prolific season

Last season was arguably the best of his career so far as he netted 23 times in 32 appearances meaning that he was joint second top scorer in the league and there is no reason that the 27-year-old can’t carry this form into the Premier League.

He could definitely score more frequently than he did at Palace should he receive more game time and remain injury free.

Gayle’s other stats from last season also prove that he is a top-quality striker as he finished the season with both the highest percentage of shots on target and the best minutes to goal ratio.

Out of Gayle’s 72 shots a whopping 67% were on target and his minute to goal ratio of one every 93 minutes is even more emphatic as he nearly averaged one per game; a record truly reminiscent of a top-class striker whatever league you play in and indicative of ability to play in a higher division.

This would indicate that Gayle is ready to step back up to the Premier League.


As last season’s stats suggest, Gayle certainly could be a vital player for Newcastle this season but what makes him so dangerous?

One major aspect of his game is his lightning pace allowing him to breeze away from defences and to spin in behind, meaning that he can create chances for himself just with his movement.

His ratios of minutes per goal and shots on target also speak for themselves as he rarely misses the target and obviously when you hit the target, you always have a chance of scoring. 93 minutes per goal also indicates that he has a knack of getting into the right place at the right time.

Another strong trait that Gayle possesses is his ability to use both feet and to score with either. This makes him an even bigger handful for defences as it’s difficult to usher him into a weaker position if he is just as deadly with his left as he is with his right.


Key to Newcastle’s campaign

The final outcome of this next season for Newcastle will almost certainly be down to the part Gayle plays in it and with the confidence last season should have given him, he could prove a real handful for any defence.

What remains to be seen is whether his teammates can provide him with the service he needs to get the goals he is capable of.


Written by James Bairstow

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