It’s been a topsy-turvy start to the 2023/24 Premier League season for Newcastle, with injuries to key players affecting the club’s ability to win matches.
There’s been the odd smattering of the form shown last season by the Magpies, but the truth is that the team are a way off from their best at the moment.
On the flip side, a 0-0 draw in the humidity of Milan is likely to be seen as a victory of sorts and if the club can get a positive result against Paris Saint-Germain in the next Champions League group game, it will set Eddie Howe’s team up nicely for the remaining matches.
One player that will definitely be missing is Joe Willock after how addressed the injury concerns he has at the moment.
“We’re missing the two Joes in midfield, I think apart from that we’re pretty good,” he said in his pre-match press conference for the weekend’s game (h/t Shields Gazette).
“We’re hoping with Joelinton he could be back sooner [than the international break] but Joe Willock will definitely be after the international break.”
Willock is so near and yet so far from making a comeback, and when he finally does get to set foot on the pitch again, it’ll surely be like having a new signing for Howe given it’ll have been five months since his last appearance.
If nothing else, it gives the manager another rotation option as Newcastle aim to attack every game and tournament that they play in.
Should Willock be in contention for the final couple of Champions League group games too, it’ll be an unexpected bonus for the club.