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Opinion

Eddie Howe explains his Allan Saint-Maximin challenge to a background of astonishing stats

2 weeks ago
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Eddie Howe has been talking about Allan Saint-Maximin.

The new Newcastle United Head Coach having worked with the 24 year old on the training pitch these past two days, along with the rest of the NUFC squad who are fit and not on international duty.

Eddie Howe describing Allan Saint-Maximin as a ‘very, very unique talent’ and declaring that the challenge lying ahead is ‘we have to find a way to function as a team, to get the best out of him.’

At the same time though, the new NUFC team boss pointing out that it is a two way street and Allan Saint-Maximin ‘has to also contribute to the team, the two things go hand in hand.’

This 2021/22 season started with ASM scoring a goal or getting an assist in five of the opening six Premier League matches, only then to provide not a single goal or assist in the next five PL games.

Eddie Howe talking to Sky Sports about Allan Saint-Maximin – 10 November 2021:

“Really, really pleased to be working with Maxi.

“I think he is a very, very unique talent.

“Game winner, match winner, a real difference maker for us.

“First and foremost, we have to find a way to function as a team, to get the best out of him.

“But he has to also contribute to the team, the two things go hand in hand.

“So, really excited to try and figure out ways to get him to play at his best levels.

“His response in the two days has been excellent.”

Whilst there is no doubt that Allan Saint-Maximin needs to find a level of consistency to make it to the next level, in terms of end product on top of his raw talent, something else is way beyond any doubt.

ASM absolutely saved Steve Bruce’s bacon these past couple of years, the stats are quite astonishing.

These are the stats for the 2019/20 and 200/21 Premier League seasons, when Allan Saint-Maximin was AND wasn’t playing for Steve Bruce:

PREMIER LEAGUE TOTALS AT NUFC WITHOUT ALLAN SAINT-MAXIMIN STARTING:

Played 34 Won 5 Drawn 11 Lost 18 Points 26 Goals For 28 Goals Against 60

PREMIER LEAGUE TOTALS AT NUFC WITH ALLAN SAINT-MAXIMIN STARTING:

Played 42 Won 18 Drawn 9 Lost 15 Points 63 Goals For 56 Goals Against 60

As you can see, massive differences in every area.

With Allan Saint-Maximin starting in Premier League matches those last two seasons, Newcastle United average per match – 1.50 points, 1.33 goals for, 1.43 goals against.

Without Allan Saint-Maximin starting in Premier League matches these past two seasons, Newcastle United average per match – 0.76 points, 0.82 goals for, 1.76 goals against.

When it comes to winning ratio, Steve Bruce won only 15% of Premier League matches across 2019/20 and 2020/21 when ASM didn’t start in matches, BUT victories in 43% of PL games when Allan Saint-Maximin did start these past two seasons.

Rightly or wrongly, Newcastle fans perceived Steve Bruce’s entire attacking plan consisting of give the ball to Allan Saint-Maximin. ASM, the vast majority of times, given the ball in his own half and expected to do something by himself to find a way to create something, or at least get Newcastle United up the pitch.

When you look at the stats above, Steve Bruce in 34 Premier League matches only winning five times when Allan Saint-Maximin was missing in these two seasons, you wonder just where Newcastle and especially Bruce himself would have been, if ASM hadn’t been at the club.

It might not happen overnight but just how exciting will it be, now we have a proper manager, if a better team is now built that includes a set up and playing style that gives Allan Saint-Maximin the very best platform to perform?

With the mess left behind by Mike Ashley and the former Head Coach, Eddie Howe may well need to rely on ASM significantly to help save Newcastle United from relegation, as clearly was the case in Steve Bruce’s two full seasons.

If we can all successfully get beyond that though and get to the stage where Newcastle United can properly progress, both on and off the pitch, for Allan Saint-Maximin the sky is the limit.

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