Matt Ritchie continues to be at the heart of Newcastle United’s attacking threat, and if his teammates were more prolific in front of goal, then we may not be in the position that we are currently in.
The left-back has been ever present for Steve Bruce’s side this season, and his delivery from wide areas has caused opposing teams a number of problems.
In fact, coming into the second international break of the season, only Bruno Fernandes (23) has created more chances than the 32-year-old (21) in the Premier League, according to WhoScored.
Newcastle’s number 11 currently sits alongside Trent Alexander-Arnold and above the likes of Jack Grealish, Mohamed Salah and his teammate Allan Saint-Maximin in the league’s current top creative players.
Matt Ritchie needs teammates help
Despite creating a host of chances, the former Bournemouth man – who cost Newcastle £10 million in the summer of 2016, as reported by The Guardian at the time – only has one Premier League assist to his name.
That assist came on the opening weekend of the season when he hung up a cross for Jacob Murphy, who headed us back into the lead against West Ham United.
Ritchie, a Rafael Benitez signing – has created at least one chance in every Premier League match so far this season. His best creative day at the office thus far came in the 2-0 defeat at Aston Villa where he conjured up five chances.
His least fruitful attacking impact came in the 2-2 draw against Southampton at St. James’ Park where he amassed one goalscoring opportunity.
With Callum Wilson closing in on a return, Ritchie will hope the club’s number nine will be the man to convert his chances.
Although he is naturally a winger and that can bring defensive deficiencies, Ritchie is thriving being given more time on the ball in deeper areas and taking Newcastle’s set pieces.
Ritchie being Newcastle’s most creative player alongside Saint-Maximin is both surprising and worrying.
Other players like Miguel Almiron and Joe Willock need to step up.
If Ritchie can maintain his current rate of creating chances, then Newcastle will have ample opportunities to score goals and hopefully start winning football matches.