Ahead of their Premier League clash against Manchester City on Friday night, Newcastle boss Steve Bruce might consider making a ruthless decision and dropping Miguel Almiron from his starting line-up.
With the season now winding down, and the Magpies’ safety secured for another year after both Fulham and West Brom saw their relegation back to the Championship confirmed in recent days, there’s a real chance for Bruce to just experiment a little and bring some fresh energy into the side.
And one way he can do that, is by axing Almiron.
The Paraguay international has endured another difficult season on Tyneside, with just four Premier League goals to his name all year – in fact, he’s been on a shocking run of form that has seen him fail to find the back of the net, or and provided just a single assist, since February 6.
A run of three months without a single goal contribution just isn’t good enough, even in the slightly more withdrawn role that he’s been used in lately.
And, last week’s performance against Arsenal was particularly disappointing, coming up against a Gunners side who had just been humiliated in the Europa League by Villareal and there for the taking.
He had absolutely no attempts on goal, and didn’t even managing a single dribble either. That’s not to mention the fact he also provided no key passes either, and it was no surprise Bruce eventually saw enough and took him for Joelinton mid-way through the second half.
After the game, The Chronicle’s Lee Ryder simply called it “one of his poorest displays of the season”, while Bruce himself admitted Almiron had a difficult outing, saying: “I think he’s played very well of late playing in that midfield area. But like us all (against Arsenal), we’ve found it a bit of a struggle. With what we’ve got at the top end of the pitch, I believe he’s still a very, very decent midfield player and can add goals and a bit of flair from it (midfield) like he has done.”
Almiron’s work-rate and attitude is second-to-none, and there’s a lot to like about the way the Paraguayan goes about things. But sadly, the quality just hasn’t been there, and it’s holding the Magpies back. It’s time for him to be dropped from the starting line-up.