Player Review: 5) Aleksandar Mitrovic


Aleksandar Mitrovic was signed from Anderlecht for £13m as part of Steve McClaren's splashing the cash in his first transfer window as Newcastle manager.

The striker created a good first impression on Tyneside. He claimed that he was a Newcastle fan as a child after the Magpies played against his local club, Partizan Belgrade in the Champions League third qualifying round. Upon signing, McClaren stated that there is a bit of the devil within Mitrovic and that was clear to see when he got himself booked just seconds after coming on the pitch to make his debut against Southampton, it was a challenge that some referees could have deemed as a straight red card offense.

A few games later, Mitrovic was questionably sent off by referee, Andre Marriner against Arsenal. The referee dished out no fewer than seven cards to Newcastle players in that first half alone, most of which were for soft tackles and/or first offenses. After returning from the suspension, Mitrovic was straight back into the side and excited the fans with his passion and charisma with the occasional attempts to jee up the crowd during good passages of play.

In October 2015, he ended the wait to score his first Newcastle goal by opening the scoring away at Man City. Unfortunately though, Newcastle conceded the equaliser on the stroke of half time which helped Sergio Aguero to run riot in the second half as the Citizens ran out 6-1 winners in what became Tim Krul's last match for Newcastle United. Two weeks later, after the international break, the Magpies got the first win of the season against Norwich at St. James' Park. Georginio Wijnaldum scored four that day with Ayoze Perez and Mitrovic, with his first goal at St. James', contributing as six goals were struck past John Ruddy in the Norwich goal.

Fast forward a few months and the striker scored the only goal of the game at home to West Brom in what was Steve McClaren's last win as Newcastle manager before his sacking a month later. When Rafa Benitez arrived at the club, the new manager kept faith with Mitrovic and started him in all of the final ten matches of the 2015/16 relegation campaign. It was on the final day when the relationship between the striker and the new manager began to turn sour. Having already scored in the first half, Newcastle were 2-1 up over Tottenham and almost halfway through the second half, the Serbian international made a horror tackle on Kyle Walker which warranted and got a straight red card, and a four match ban for the start of the following season.

From that point, the impression from Benitez was that Mitrovic cannot be trusted. Two additional strikers were signed for the following season with Daryl Murphy and Dwight Gayle, the latter scoring the majority of goals to keep Mitrovic out of the team. With the occasional appearance to his name, predominantly in the form of substitute appearances, Mitrovic did not seem to impress Benitez enough to grant him regular first team football once more, much to the displeasure of some fans and this continued through to the 2017/18 season with Newcastle back in the Premier League.

In January 2018, he was loaned out to Championship side, Fulham and helped the Cottagers go on a storming run of form which saw them perhaps punch above their weight and achieve promotion via the play-offs. It is also worth mentioning that Mitrovic scored the winning goal against already relegated to League One Sunderland, much to the delight of Newcastle fans and the man himself.

Having worked well with Slavisa Jokanovic and unlikely to return to Rafa Benitez's good books. Mitrovic was sold permanently to Fulham where there incredibly leaky defence was been the main cause of their relegation and inability to stay in the Premier League.

Dates: 21st July 2015 to 30th July 2018 (1,105 days).

Transfer details: Bought for £13m from Anderlecht on 21/07/2015.

Sold for £22m to Fulham on 30/07/2018.

Total: 72 appearances, 17 goals.

Season by Season (when Mitrovic has played)

2015/16

Premier League: 18th (Played: 34, Won: 8, Drawn: 10, Lost: 16, Goals for: 40, Goals against: 56, Goal difference: -16, Pts: 34)

League Cup: 3rd Round (v Sheffield Wednesday) - Played: 1, Won: 1, Drawn: 0, Lost: 0, Goals for: 4, Goals against: 1, Goal difference: +3.

FA Cup: 3rd Round (v Watford) - Played: 1, Won: 0, Drawn: 0, Lost: 1, Goals for: 0, Goals against: 1, Goal difference: -1.

2016/17

Championship: 1st (Played: 25, Won: 15, Drawn: 4, Lost: 6, Goals for: 49, Goals against: 24, Goal difference: +25, Pts: 49)

League Cup: Quarter-Final (v Hull City) - Played: 2, Won: 2, Drawn: 0, Lost: 0, Goals for: 8, Goals against: 0, Goal difference: +8.

FA Cup: 4th Round (v Oxford United) - Played: 2, Won: 0, Drawn: 1, Lost: 1, Goals for: 1, Goals against: 4, Goal difference: -3.

2017/18

Premier League: 10th (Played: 6, Won: 2, Drawn: 1, Lost: 3, Goals for: 9, Goals against: 12, Goal difference: -3, Pts: 7)

League Cup: 2nd Round (v Nottingham Forest) - Played: 1, Won: 0, Drawn: 0, Lost: 1, Goals for: 2, Goals against: 3, Goal difference: -1.

FA Cup: 4th Round (v Chelsea) - did not feature.

Record with Mitrovic

League: Played: 65, Won: 25, Drawn: 15, Lost: 25, Goals for: 98, Goals against: 92, Goal difference: +6, Pts: 90. Win ratio: 38%

Home (league): Played: 35, Won: 17, Drawn: 9, Lost: 9, Goals for: 64, Goals against: 41, Goal difference: +23, Pts: 60. Win ratio: 49%.

Away (league): Played: 30, Won: 8, Drawn: 6, Lost: 16, Goals for: 34, Goals against: 51, Goal difference: -17, Pts: 30. Win ratio: 27%.

Domestic Cup: Played: 7, Won: 3, Drawn: 1, Lost: 3, Goals for: 15, Goals against: 9, Goal difference: +6. Win ratio: 43%.

Home (all competitions): Played: 39, Won: 20, Drawn: 9, Lost: 10, Goals for: 78, Goals against: 45, Goal difference: +33. Win ratio: 51%.

Away (all competitions): Played: 33, Won: 8, Drawn: 7, Lost: 18, Goals for: 35, Goals against: 56, Goal difference: -21. Win ratio: 24%.

Total: Played: 72, Won: 28, Drawn: 16, Lost: 28, Goals for: 113, Goals against: 101, Goal difference: +12. Win ratio: 39%.

Record without Mitrovic

League: Played: 43, Won: 19, Drawn: 7, Lost: 17, Goals for: 53, Goals against: 47, Goal difference: +6, Pts: 64. Win ratio: 44%

Home (league): Played: 19, Won: 8, Drawn: 4, Lost: 7, Goals for: 27, Goals against: 20, Goal difference: +7, Pts: 28. Win ratio: 42%.

Away (league): Played: 24, Won: 11, Drawn: 3, Lost: 10, Goals for: 26, Goals against: 27, Goal difference: -1, Pts: 36. Win ratio: 46%.

Domestic Cup: Played: 6, Won: 3, Drawn: 1, Lost: 2, Goals for: 9, Goals against: 4, Goal difference: +5. Win ratio: 50%.

Home (all competitions): Played: 23, Won: 11, Drawn: 4, Lost: 8, Goals for: 35, Goals against: 23, Goal difference: +12. Win ratio: 48%.

Away (all competitions): Played: 26, Won: 11, Drawn: 4, Lost: 11, Goals for: 27, Goals against: 31, Goal difference: -4. Win ratio: 42%.

Total: Played: 49, Won: 22, Drawn: 8, Lost: 19, Goals for: 62, Goals against: 54, Goal difference: +8. Win ratio: 45%.

Goals

Premier League: 10

Home: 6 (Norwich, Man United, West Brom, Sunderland, Tottenham, West Ham).

Away: 4 (Man City, Tottenham, Norwich x2).

Championship: 4

Away: 4 (QPR, Preston x2, Wolves).

League Cup: 3

Home: 3 (Preston x2, Nottingham Forest).

Total: 17

Home: 9 (53%)

Away: 8 (47%)

Most goals in a 5-game run: 4 - Preston x4 (October 2016).

Landmark Matches

First win

Newcastle United 4 (Florian Thauvin 3, Siem de Jong 8, Dary Janmaat 56, Mike Williamson 63) Northampton 1 - (25/08/2015)

It was in the 65th minute that Mitrovic came on as a substitute to make way for the outright man of the match, Florian Thauvin having scored and assisted the other three on his home debut for the club. A first win in a Newcastle shirt for the Serbian international will have been fairly unmemorable having not being able to make a scoring impact after coming off the bench. In the previous home match against Southampton, the new signing made his debut for the club and was booked within seconds after coming on. That fire within him was existent against Northampton as he was at the centre of a tussle going on about 10 minutes after coming on.

50th match

Newcastle United 4 (Dwight Gayle 18, 24, 77, Yoan Gouffran 47) Birmingham 0 - (10/12/2016)

Newcastle went back to their winning ways and back to the top of the Championship table after Dwight Gayle scored a hat-trick to secure the three points at St. James' Park over Birmingham. Mitrovic came on from the substitute bench in the 79th minute just two minutes after man of the match, Gayle scored his hat-trick goal.

Mitrovic scoring the winner at Molineux to secure victory in his 50th league match for Newcastle. Picture courtesy of NUFC.

50th league match

Wolves 0 Newcastle United 1 (Aleksandar Mitrovic 44) - (11/02/2017)

Arguably lucky to still be on the field at half time, the Serbian was booked in the 14th minute and perhaps should have been given a second booking on the stroke of half time which led Rafa Benitez to substitute him at half time. Having said that, Mitrovic did score the game's only goal to take Newcastle back to the top of the Championship table above Brighton to bring up his half century of league appearances for the club.

Last win

Newcastle United 1 (Mikel Merino 86) Crystal Palace 0 - (21/10/2017)

With the game still in the balance and goalless, Mitrovic came on as a 78th minute substitute for Joselu and minutes later, earlier substitute, Mo Diame made the games's first shot on target. Eventually, the winner was scored by the other substitute, Mikel Merino. It was the Spaniard's only Newcastle goal and came the following day after signing for the club on a permanent basis after signing on a loan deal in the summer. The win extended Crystal Palace's 0% record away from home that season. As for Mitrovic, it was his final win in a Newcastle shirt before being loaned out to Fulham the following January. After impressing in London, the Cottagers signed the striker permanently for £22m.

Further landmark matches

Debut: Newcastle United 2 - 2 Southampton (09/08/2015)

First goal: Man City 6 - 1 Newcastle United (03/10/2015)

Last match: Newcastle United 2 - 3 Leicester (09/12/2017)

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