Miguel Almiron lit up the stage as Newcastle United beat Everton 2-0 on Saturday with the Paraguayan often the most creative player on the pitch.
Steve Bruce was desperate for a positive result at Goodison Park with his Magpies side without a win in 11 games across all competitions, but built on the promising second half seen in defeat to Leeds with a brace from Callum Wilson.
Newcastle played with a solid tempo throughout their time on Merseyside to flip the form book and deny the Toffees a chance to move fourth in the table, with Wilson opening the scoring by heading in Jonjo Shelvey’s corner before scoring again in stoppage time.
Wilson had failed to score in his last seven appearances across all competitions but struck his ninth and 10th goals of the season thanks a greater level of service into the ex-AFC Bournemouth striker.
Newcastle’s struggles getting the ball into their £20m man left Wilson anonymous in defeat at Aston Villa last week, while rarely seeing chances to end his drought against Leeds on Tuesday before a change of system.
Bruce stuck with the revised formation for United’s trip to Everton and saw his decision pay off, with Almiron able to pull the strings from the centre and constantly drive at the Everton backline.
Had Almiron not been on form, Wilson may not have been able to punish the Toffees for their toothless performance with Carlo Ancelotti’s side unable to match the pace of the game.
Almiron even brought Isaac Hayden into the Magpies’ attacking moves, teeing the defensive midfielder up for a shot midway through the first half that needed a block from Gylfi Sigurdsson to not test former Sunderland goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.
The £42,000-per-week Paraguayan would have been very much deserving of his second assist of the Premier League season and first since matchday one had Wilson managed to find the back of the net moments before the end, too, having seen the striker round Pickford but hit the post from a tight angle.
Almiron’s efforts played a key role in Newcastle snapping their winless run and moving marginally further clear of the relegation zone, having played his socks off in the centre.
United only saw 39% of the ball during their 2-0 win at Goodison Park, ensuring the Toon had to use their time in possession to good effect. But Almiron more than did his fair share, with the 26-year-old ending the game with the joint-most key passes (3) having created more goal-scoring opportunities than any Everton player, per WhoScored.
Almiron also attempted the third-most dribbles by a visiting player (2), attempted the second-most tackles (3), made the joint-most interceptions (2) and was never dispossessed, to highlight his ability at both making a difference with the ball at his feet and in winning it back.
Wilson may have scored twice to seal what has become a rare win for Newcastle, but the 28-year-old was dispossessed seven times – four more than any other player for either side – and failed to create a goalscoring chance for his teammates despite taking six shots.
Bruce must now realise the errors of his ways in playing Almiron out wide in recent months, having also scored against Leeds, and stick with the £14.5m-rated maestro in the middle if Newcastle are to build on their emerging form.
AND in other news, Newcastle could part with a £30k-p/w dynamo before the end of the month…