Ever since that 3-0 defeat to Brighton, something appears to have just clicked with Newcastle United in the Premier League, with the Magpies picking up another win against Sheffield United on Wednesday night.
Steve Bruce’s side have now lost just twice since the 20th March, and have picked up 14 points in that process, including some really notable results against the likes of Liverpool, Leicester and West Ham.
Against the Blades yesterday, it was Joe Willock once again who proved to be the match-winner, meaning that the Arsenal loanee has now bagged in the last six Premier League games where he has been on the pitch.
And while his signing will no doubt be a priority this summer – Bruce himself has said as much in recent weeks – it was Allan Saint-Maximin’s display that showed why the Frenchman has got to be the man the Magpies continue to build around.
The mercurial winger was almost back to his bamboozling best against Sheffield United, twisting this way and that, and always looking like he could cut open the Blades defence like a knife through butter.
As per Sofascore, his 8.1 match rating was the highest of any player on the pitch, and when you look at some of the underlying numbers it’s easy to see why.
He completed a whopping 15 of his 16 dribbles on the night – yes, you read that correctly – and also won a monstrous 19 of his 24 duels – again, your eyes do not deceive you.
To put that into context about just how ridiculous that is, Adama Traore who leads the way this season in the Premier League in terms of average dribbles per game, is at 4.2 per game.
And, writing in his post-match player ratings for The Chronicle, Lee Ryder gave him an eight, saying: “The crowd pleaser looked capable of slicing the Blades open time after time. Always creative before knock forced him off. Had 63 touches in total and big hand in opener.”
Those sentiments were echoed by The Shields Gazette’s Liam Kennedy, who also gave him an eight, adding: “What a player. He’s turned up with the want to entertain. Some unbelievable runs from all over the park. Quiet in the last two games – not this time around. Shame he picked up an injury to end his night.”
The £75k-a-week earning Saint-Maximin was outstanding, and he no doubt had the St James’ Park faithful off their seat time and time again.