Why Gayle can be more than just a Championship wonder
Posted on January 19th, 2017 | 39 Comments |
If you took a straw poll of Toon fans, I’m pretty sure that most would agree that Dwight Gayle has been Newcastle United’s player of the season so far, and by some distance for 20 obvious reasons. Signed for around £10 million from Crystal Palace, it might have seemed like quite alot for a player with a bit of an injury record who made alot of his appearences off the bench. To get to the point, I was inspired to bring it up after Crystal Palace and ex-Magpie manager Sam Allardyce was asked by the Croydon Advertiser if he would have got rid of the Championship’s top hitman had he been manager last summer. He replied:
“Goals in the Championship doesn’t relate to goals in the Premier League for some players. I saw Abel Hernandez score 20-odd goals to get Hull up last year and he’s struggled badly this term.
“Some do make the transition some don’t. I don’t know what would have been the case with Dwight.”
Gayle is odds on favourite with everyone to be the Championship’s top scorer this season, though if uk online casinos are more your thing, you can try your luck here. But I digress. Though Gayle has been a Championship sensation, is Allardyce right to suspect he might have feet of clay at the very highest level? Well you don’t have to be a football genius like Big Sam to know that Gayle HAS played three seasons in the Premier League already in the team now managed by Allardyce, so I thought I would probe his record there and here’s what I found.
Superficially he had a goalscoring record which wasn’t too bad, but certainly not remarkable, 8 goals in 25 games in his first season, then 5 in 25 and finally, 7 in 20. However, when you consider the amount of appearences and that many of those were as a substitute, things start to look different. Out of his 70 Premier League appearences at the Eagles he only started 27 League games, and also played as a winger as well as a striker. All three seasons were stop start affairs for Gayle where it was hard to get a good run of games. Looking at the stats from Transfermarkt in terms of minutes per goal, he scored a goal for every 182 minutes of play in the Premier League alone. To put it another way, that’s a goal every other game. Whilst not quite as good as his Messi like scoring record in the Championship so far (a goal every 88 minutes), it is still like a top Premier League striker. Without being presumptious about promotion, if he could do that in the Premier League for Newcastle for a few seasons, he would probably be regarded as one of the great Newcastle United number 9s.
Looking at the evidence, his record is reassuring, but it seems more that his biggest demon is injuries and when he doesn’t have them (and gets on the pitch) he doesn’t have too many problems finding the goal, even at the highest level. Let us just hope that he stays fit for most of the time so he can let his feet do the talking.