Aleksandar Mitrovic’s blistering form for Serbia will be a concern for Newcastle’s survival bid
Newcastle United fans have been left worried after Aleksandar Mitrovic capped a positive international break with another brace.
The 26-year-old, who leads the line for relegation rivals Fulham, has struggled at club level this term, scoring just twice in this season’s Premier League.
However, Mitrovic fired in 26 goals last season to fire the Cottagers to promotion from the Championship and he has hit double figures in the Premier League in the past for Fulham, as well as firing in nine goals in his first season for Newcastle.
Many Magpies fans fear the former Newcastle forward could well return to haunt his old club with just two points separating them in the battle for Premier League survival heading into the final nine matches of the season.
And despite his indifferent form this term, his performances for Serbia in the World Cup qualifiers this week has only heightened those fears.
Mitrovic fired in five goals in three games for his country, as Serbia made an unbeaten start to their World Cup qualifying campaign.
Alarm bells started to ring on Tyneside after Mitrovic scored twice for Serbia in the 3-2 victory over the Republic of Ireland, whose side included Newcastle pair Ciaran Clark and Jeff Hendrick, last Wednesday in Belgrade.
The first in particular was a stunner, chipping Ireland keeper Mark Travers after being played in by Dusan Tadic.
He had only been on the field five minutes when he put Serbia ahead, before bagging a header that made it 3-1.
The former Anderlecht forward backed that up against Portugal on Saturday evening, scoring Serbia’s first goal as they recovered from 2-0 down to pick up a vital 2-2 draw.
Mitrovic crashed home a header, despite being marked by two Portuguese defenders, to become his country’s all-time record goalscorer with 39 goals.
He then boosted that total to 41 goals on Tuesday evening as his brace secured a crucial 2-1 win away to Azerbaijan.
His first goal typified his new-found confidence. He received the ball on the edge of the box before a clever first touch opened up space on his right foot where he was able to sweep the ball into the bottom right-hand corner.
His second goal was just as good as well, as he cancelled out an Azerbaijan equaliser by rifling a left-footed half-volley from outside of the area into the bottom corner to secure all three points for Serbia.
The worry, of course, is that he translates this new-found form for his country at club level, particularly as the big criticism facing Fulham is that despite their style of play being pleasing on the eye, they lack a clinical goalscorer.
Fulham take on Aston Villa on Sunday, directly after Newcastle host Tottenham at St James’ Park.
Both games will be shown live on Sky Sports.