Garth Crooks has praised Newcastle United attacker Joelinton and has picked him in his team of the week for BBC Sport.
The 27-year-old has been a key player for Eddie Howe’s side and he played his part as Newcastle earned a 1-0 win against Arsenal.
Crooks suggests that the Magpies represent grit that is synonymous with the Tyneside region. He thinks Joelinton’s performance was “magnificent” on the day, although Antony Gordon – who was also picked in the TOTW – scored the winning goal.
With that win, the Magpies ended Arsenal’s unbeaten run in the Premier League. Howe’s side are expected to challenge for the top four this season, but they are badly struggling with injuries at the moment.
“If Arsenal’s unbeaten run was going to come to an end, then I would have put my money on it happening at St James’ Park,” said Crooks to BBC Sport.
“There is a rivalry emerging between these two teams, not just based on a north-south divide, but two teams who are similar in so many ways. They have managers who are young, astute and ambitious, with players who are being groomed for success and know they are very close to it.
“Arsenal are the football aristocrats while Newcastle represent a grit that is synonymous with the region. Joelinton’s performance against the Gunners was magnificent and epitomised that resilience.”
The Magpies will travel to Signal Iduna Park to face Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League on Tuesday night.
It’s a big game for Newcastle who lost the previous Champions League game against the same opponent at St James’ Park and Howe will want to avoid that.
The biggest worry, however, is that the Magpies are badly struggling with injuries and they have been reduced to bare bones at the moment.
As many as seven players are out injured, and Howe will have to rely on players like Joelinton and Gordon to get a positive result.