Not for the first time this season, Dwight Gayle has been heavily criticised by some Newcastle fans for a lacklustre performance in the Magpies’ 2-1 victory against Arsenal at St James’ Park on Sunday

Alexandre Lacazette put the Gunners ahead in the 14th minute when he steered home Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s cross. The hosts deservedly levelled on the half hour mark thanks to Ayoze Perez’s deft finish, before Matt Ritchie’s strike completed the comeback in the 68th minute. 

The three points all but secured Newcastle’s Premier League status for next season, but some fans were left unimpressed by Gayle’s role in the unexpected win. 

The 27-year-old, who arrived at Newcastle from Crystal Palace in the summer of 2016, played 63 minutes of Sunday’s game before he was hauled off, with on loan Leicester striker Islam Slimani taking his place. 

Gayle received a warm applause from the St. James’ Park faithful, but fans on social media were less complementary about his performance

The former Palace striker was instrumental in helping Newcastle make an immediate return to the Premier League last season, scoring 23 goals in just 32 Championship appearances. He has struggled emulate the same goalscoring form this season, however, with just five goals in 32 appearances across all competitions. 

Rafa Benitez’s January pursuit of a striker was well documented and the Spanish tactician could well look to find a replacement for Gayle in the summer transfer window. Another of the Magpies’ strikers, Aleksandar Mitrovic, who is currently out on loan at Championship side Fulham, also looks certain to depart St James’ Park at the end of the current campaign. 

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