Joelinton put in a fantastic performance as Newcastle earned a massive 1-1 draw with Manchester United.
The Brazilian was, to quote commentary, “simply sensational.” His energy and drive to cover every blade of grass, disrupting the Red Devils and protecting his defenders while also driving the ball forward with intensity and confidence.
Joelinton put in 4 tackles and 4 interceptions as well as taking 2 shots. He also had 63 touches and completed 25/33 passes, all team-highs for Newcastle. He set the tempo and kept the tempo for Eddie Howe’s men, looking like an entirely new player from the one that had previously been plodding around the pitch at Newcastle.
Key to all this is his new position in midfield, which Eddie Howe said came about via accident. “When we initially came in we thought Joelinton would play as a number 10, a second striker,” said Howe after the match. “We went down to 10 men against Norwich and reshuffled and played him as an eight and he was brilliant defensively.”
Joelinton's game by numbers for Newcastle vs. Man Utd:
11 ball recoveries (most)
8 duels won
6 final third entries
4 interceptions (most)
3 chances created (=most)
2 fouls won
1 take-on completed
Getting better with every game. pic.twitter.com/ptjKfZax74
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) December 27, 2021
The performance against Norwich convinced Howe to stick with the move. “[Joelinton] has a tactical understanding. From then on I thought he had technical capabilities,” Howe continued. “You’ve seen tonight he’s been brilliant defensively. His work-rate and the amount of ground he covers is incredible. He’s a real team player. Such ability as well. He can only get better.”
“This is the new Joelinton,” cried Martin Tyler after the match as the Brazilian strode around the pitch, with Don Goodman adding “it’s a very good Joelinton.”
Twitter was similarly impressed with the Brazilian’s performance against Manchester United, and Jamie Carragher’s comments from Monday Night Football broadcast are a good place to start as they truly convey Joelinton’s quality.
“He was brilliant,” said Carragher.
“That was an outstanding midfield performance by any standard. And I mean that by any midfield player you can think of in the PL this season. He was fantastic. He was everything. He’s taken a lot of criticism but he was best player on the pitch.”
Journalist and podcast supremo Sam Tighe was particularly fulsome in his praise.
Glow-ups I did not see coming: Joelinton as a box-to-box dynamo!
Have always been a Joelinton believer (I got receipts), but never in a million years did I envision him running a game from the No. 8 position. Energy, drive, ball carrying, vision, breaking up play. You what? https://t.co/hqcmkns7M2
— Sam Tighe – Ranks FC Podcast (@stighefootball) December 27, 2021
‘Looked like Kanté out there. 10/10 performance from him,’ wrote one Reddit user (a Chelsea fan, no less).
Joelinton’s display was less suprising to Newcastle fans.
Kante wasn’t the only flattering comparison made.
YouTuber La5ty was quick with the Photoshop:
Joelinton under Eddie Howe pic.twitter.com/vDMrnB6y7v
— La5ty (@la5ty) December 27, 2021
Sports Journalist Oliver Young-Myles thinks Eddie Howe has a new career highlight:
Eddie Howe’s greatest managerial achievement is no longer taking Bournemouth from League Two to the Premier League: it’s turning Joelinton into the best box-to-box midfielder in English football.
— Oliver Young-Myles (@OMyles90) December 27, 2021
Newcastle fan Gemma Aiston made a keen observation about the game’s two no. 7’s:
Joelinton was an absolute beast tonight! There was only one quality no 7 on the pitch and he only cost £40m! https://t.co/zDkXXRdTsK
— Gemma Aiston (@GemmaAiston) December 27, 2021
Similarly Stead, who was at the game, was blown away by Joelinton outclassing Cristiano Ronaldo:
Never thought I'd see Joelinton outclass Ronaldo live pic.twitter.com/1ZDKfBXX1k
— Stead (@Steadved) December 27, 2021
As impressive as Joelinton was, we hope Lew’s hand is ok!
Might of broke my hand from clapping for Joelinton every twenty seconds as thats how good he was
— ??? (@NUFC_LEW) December 27, 2021
Opta brought the facts, as per usual:
1 – Joelinton led all @NUFC players tonight for chances created (3), interceptions (4), possession won (11) and ball carries (13), while only Emile Krafth (5) made more tackles than the Brazilian (4). Box-to-box. pic.twitter.com/kuCypG1S5E
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 27, 2021
Newcastle celebrated Joelinton’s nutmeg of Marcus Rashford:
Joelinton. Sensational. ??? pic.twitter.com/ZTgZvZQwNH
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) December 27, 2021
The final word can go to Sean Longstaff, Joelinton’s team-mate at Newcastle, who says the Brazilian is the best player at the club and has been the victim of a ridiculous amount of disrespect. Well, now the tables are turning in Joelinton’s favour. You love to see it.
? "The disrespect he gets is a disgrace."
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) December 27, 2021