Newcastle United's options in the absence of Callum Wilson
Photo Credit:(Gettyimages/Serena Taylor)

Callum Wilson has been ruled out for six-eight weeks after tearing his hamstring in the win against Southampton on Saturday.

The striker has scored 40% of Newcastle's goals this season as well as striking up a great relationship with Miguel Almiron and Allan Saint-Maximin recently.

It was Joelinton who got the nod against the Saints to replace Wilson on Saturday, but the starting role is very much up for grabs with three players fighting for their future on Tyneside, or to even impress potential suitors in the summer.

All three of Steve Bruce's options have just one goal each this season and make the wins against Everton and Southampton ever more important now.

Andy Carroll

It has quite gone to plan since Andy Carroll's return to Tyneside which has seen him manage just one goal in 32 Premier League appearances.

However, like Bruce's other strikers, this is Carroll's chance to impress especially with his contract set to expire this summer.

The 32-year old has had 14 shots this season and just two ended up on target with one being a goal against Leicester City.

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Carroll is not a prolific scorer and relies on having runners around him to get the best out of his aerial ability having won 60% of his battles this season.

Against Chelsea, it may be smart to go with Carroll and instruct Almiron, Saint-Maximin, Joe Willock and Ryan Fraser to get closer to the academy graduate and collect his flick-ons.

However, if that doesn't work out the ball will keep coming back and put Newcastle under continuous pressure against an in-form Chelsea side. 

Carroll also can't stretch the game like Wilson can and won't be able to run in behind the Chelsea defence which may see Newcastle become very stationery and have a lack of options when they get the ball.

Dwight Gayle  

Newcastle's top scorer during the Championship winning season has found goals and chances difficult to come by since the Magpies earned promotion with just 11 Premier League goals since 2017.

Dwight Gayle is the closest like-for-like replacement Bruce has to Wilson and would be able to slot into that role with relative ease compared to Bruce's alternatives.

Gayle is a great poacher and will be alive in and around the box if Newcastle can give him an opportunity the striker would be likely to take his chance, just like his goal against his former club West Bromwich Albion earlier this campaign.

The striker's averages are quite promising, with just one shot on target he scored his only goal and averages 0.20 goals per shot taken, compared to Carroll's 0.07.

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He is a lot more than a poacher which may prove decisive in bruce's decision, especially in their next two fixtures away to Chelsea and Manchester United respectively.

Gayle's completed 93% of his short passes this season (13/14), as well as 92% of his medium-length, passes (11/12) showing he's good with the ball and looks after it.

If Newcastle are to avoid a constant onslaught they will need to look after the ball when they get possession and avoid needless long balls to empty spaces which is something Gayle could provide with his accurate passing and being up to bring others into play.

It may be possible to bring both Carroll and Gayle into the starting line-up, something which may complement both strikers as well as players such as Almiron and Saint-Maximin who would have more chance of getting a one-on-one outwide of two strikers were deployed.

Joelinton

It's crazy to think Newcastle's record singing, their number nine has not started a game since January 18 in a 3-0 defeat away to Arsenal and is the third-best options to replace Wilson.

However, that is the case with Joelinton who has struggled with form and confidence ever since arriving in 2019 for £40 million.

This season has been much better for the Brazillian as he's shown brief glimpses of what he's capable of, against Crystal Palace for example which saw him get a goal and assists.

Those glimpses have been way too unfamiliar to the Newcastle fans though, with many still unsure what his best position is and this may be last chance saloon to prove he is a striker and has a future on Tyneside.

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Joelinton can run with the ball and get past defenders but that's a risk to take on a player who doesn't usually offer much in terms of an outlet unless the ball is played directly into his feet.

If Bruce was to select Joelinton, who did replace Wilson against the Saints, it would signal a defensive approach as the number nine defends from the front relatively well.

Joelinton has won the most tackles of any Newcastle player in the final third this season (four) and has triggered the second most presses in midfield (117), so his willingness to do the dirty and unfashionable work may see Bruce side with his number nine.

Nobody would expect Joelinont to come in and successfully lead the line and Bruce would likely put more emphasis on getting the ball to Saint-Maxmin, Almiron and Willock to ensure Newcastle aren't dragged into a relegation dog fight.

It's a difficult decision for Bruce to make and it may force him to change his formation and system, which has worked wonders for his side since their 2-0 win against Everton.

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