Different role for Allan Saint-Maximin against Manchester City?
Allan Saint-Maximin has undoubtedly been the one real positive for Newcastle United in the attacking this season.
Still no goals or assists to top it off but his impact has been undeniable.
In the seven matches Allan Saint-Maximin has started, Newcastle have picked up 13 points and scored eight goals.
In the six where he wasn’t in a position to start there have been only three goals and two points picked up.
Today Newcastle are up against Manchester City, the biggest game so far for the 22 year old but also a massive opportunity.
This game is now surely the perfect time to give Allan Saint-Maximin a bit of a different role, for a number of different reasons.
Whilst he has continued to be the only real threat going forward, I do think that maybe the opposition are now finding ASM not such a surprise package.
At Aston Villa he was still the only likely source of something decent happening but Villa largely contained him. They doubled up on him pretty much all of the time and as the game wore on, the former Nice star did appear to look a bit disheartened.
Given minimal support by teammates as he tried to get the team forward, he was increasingly running into blind alleys. Been restricted largely to the left wing, it was/is far easier for the opposition to contain him.
It was telling that one of the few times Allan Saint-Maximin did come inside in a freer role, it was Newcastle’s best chance, a run into the middle ending with a 25 yard curler that Heaton did well to keep out.
I think today is ideal for Saint-Maximin to be given a more attacking role in a number 10 position, allowed to roam and not have so much expected in a defensive sense.
Manchester City are still a fearsome attacking team and have scored 37 PL goals this season, 55 in all competitions.
However, they do have a very soft centre at the back, especially considering how much they have spent there. They hate quick players running at them especially and it could be a great opportunity for Allan Saint-Maximin to exploit.
Norwich beat them 3-2 with attacking enterprise with players prepared to run at Man City’s defence and they have conceded 14 goals in 13 PL games already, compared to only 23 in the whole of last season.
Maybe the best direct comparison is what happened against Wolves, Man City losing 2-0 at home and Adama Traore torturing their defence.
Traore is the most obvious comparison in style to ASM and that day he was man of the match and scored both goals, getting the ball in attacking positions and running at the fragile Guardiola defence.
I say get Saint-Maximin further up the pitch and Newcastle will have a threat today, no matter how much they end up defending. ASM having to run from such deep positions most of the time and from a starting position tight to the left touchline, negates his threat.
Giving him a free role would also allow him to get away from Kyle Walker. Walker isn’t the greatest of defenders but he is very quick and it is expected he will play at St James Park and be used against Newcastle’s biggest/only threat.
Giving Saint-Maximin the free/number 10 role would allow the winger to attack Man City’s biggest weakness in the centre of defence.
Over to Steve Bruce…
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