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Allan Saint-Maximin to be ‘rested’ on Friday?

4 weeks ago
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Allan Saint-Maximin to be dropped?

Sacre bleu!

The unthinkable, Newcastle United’s talisman – Steve Bruce has only won one of his 45 NUFC Premier League games when the Frenchman hasn’t started.

Allan Saint-Maximin has started 29 Premier League games and Newcastle have won 13 of them, in the other 16 only the one win against Crystal Palace.

So surely it would be madness to leave ASM out, or is that bravery?

Is Steve Bruce capable of doing the right thing, even if on the surface for many people it would look so wrong?

Allan Saint-Maximin has started six of the seven Premier League matches this season and apart from the win over Burnley when he scored one and made one, he hasn’t really got going.

No idea why, maybe just one of those things, but he hasn’t had the same spark as last season.

I had a look at the results of the fan player ratings (thousands of NUFC fans vote each match and automatic average ratings out of 10 given for each player) from each of the matches, this is how ASM has fared:

Newcastle 2 Everton 1 (5.6 – second lowest)

Wolves 1 Newcastle 1 (4.1 – lowest)

Newcastle United 1 Man Utd 4 (5.5 – second highest)

Newcastle 3 Burnley 1 (9.1 – highest)

Newcastle 0 Brighton 3 (1.8 – second lowest)

West Ham 0 Newcastle 2 (7.3 – joint fourth highest with another three players)

Only Jeff Hendrick of the starting eleven was rated lower than Allan Saint-Maximin against Everton.

Against Wolves he was very lowest, Brighton match second lowest, no better than average at West Ham, whilst Man Utd game seen as just about best of a bad bunch in terms of outfield players.

Only the Burnley game did he really sparkle.

Last season it was almost always either Martin Dubravka or Allan Saint-Maximin for man of the match but not this time.

Flair players can often have up and down form and at times ASM can get a bit of a kicking as he is targeted. However, I have noticed more and more that pretty much any challenge he seems to be taking it to heart and making a big show of rubbing the affected area and limping back into the games.

At Newcastle United we have become so used to having to play your best players regardless of form because the other options are so poor.

However, that is not necessarily the case now.

I am not advocating dropping Allan Saint-Maximin indefinitely but maybe it is his turn to be ‘rested’ and taken out of the firing line.

Replacing ASM in the 74th minute, Ryan Fraser looked really lively and of course made an excellent run, setting up the winner for Callum Wilson. The Scottish international very direct and committing Mina, where if the Everton defender had fouled Fraser, he would have been red carded.

Apart from a few flashes and a poor finish when Almiron and Wilson set him up in the first-half, Allan Saint-Maximin was barely involved.

Having this free role behind the main striker doesn’t really seem to be bringing the best out of him either.

Put it this way, if I said you could only pick three of Wilson, Almiron, ASM and Fraser to start at Southampton, who would you pick?

I think if you’re honest, surely the other three deserve to start and then why not look to bring ASM on for the final 20+ minutes when the opposition are tiring, see if that sparks him back to life.

Ryan Fraser is looking like he deserves a start and in the last set of internationals, he impressed when playing as the second striker, so no reason why he can’t do that with Callum Wilson.

You would imagine Steve Bruce is sure to stay with five at the back at Southampton after the last two results, so with two central midfielders out of Sean Longstaff, Hendrick and Hayden to start, you are then left with which two to play with Callum Wilson.

Miguel Almiron is surely certain to stay in after his display yesterday, which then leaves Allan Saint-Maximin or Ryan Fraser.

I know who I would choose for this particular match on Friday but what will Steve Bruce do?

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