He may not have scored for Newcastle United since 23 November, but the impact made by Loic Remy’s for the Magpies this season cannot be understated.
Of their 21 Premier League goals so far, eight have come from the French international, and without them Alan Pardew’s side would be seven points worse off than they are today.
The on-loan striker, who is at St. James’ Park on a temporary deal from Queens Park Rangers, has been instrumental during the Toon’s rise up the table to the top six.
As well finding the net on a regular basis since his debut against Fulham at the end of August, his link-up play substantiates his reputation as more than just a poacher.
In the Toon’s recent victory at Manchester United, Remy was as valuable as any other player on the pitch without registering a single shot on target.
A willingness to lead the line economically and drop into deeper territory allowed the likes of Mathieu Debuchy and match-winner Yohan Cabaye to get forward to great effect.
But his performance at Old Trafford was far from being a one off, and time and again this campaign the former Marseille man’s contribution has stretched beyond the opposition’s 18-yard box.
Only Cabaye and Moussa Sissoko have produced more key passes per game, putting Remy ahead of in-form Yoan Gouffran and the much-lauded Hatem Ben Arfa.
While his manager describes him as being “at the pinnacle of our attacks” in an interview with Damien Spellman in the Daily Mail, a desire to brings others into play makes the 26-year-old far more than just a target man.
Pardew said: “I don’t think we are over-reliant on him, if I am honest. He’s just at the pinnacle of our attacks, mainly.
“Being a natural goalscorer, he gets the bulk of the chances. He is playing very well and we have just got to hope that continues.”
This comment carries weight when Remy’s shots per game stats are taken into consideration, with an average of 3.4 per match—more than double his nearest competitor.
And his eight goals and two assists in 13 starts point to a forward in a rich vein of form full of influence and invention.
But the Rhône-born star does more than simply find the net in the unfolding picture at St. James’ Park, and his development as a more complete striker under Pardew underpins much of his success this season.