In terms of attacking threat, Newcastle have been rather disappointing so far this campaign.
Under Steve Bruce, they have the worst average possession in the Premier League with 40.3%, whilst the 10.3 shots per game they have had is better than just three other sides in the division. There has been very little to get fans off their seats at St. James’ Park.
Allan Saint-Maximin, though, is arguably the exception. This term, only Adama Traore (5.2) and Wilfried Zaha (4.7) have had more successful dribbles per game than his 4.4. He only has two goals and two assists in the league so far, but he is an enthralling player to watch.
Here, we took a look at three rave reviews regarding his performances this season.
Chris Waugh currently rights for The Athletic, and he is an expert on all things Newcastle United – he has previously written for the North East’s local paper, The Chronicle, which had a big focus on all things the Toon.
In a lengthy feature piece on the former Nice winger, he said:
“Saint-Maximin may not always provide the final pass or the finishing touch, yet he has undoubtedly established himself as Steve Bruce’s talisman.”
Indeed, Bruce was the manager to take him to St. James’ for £16.5m last January. His goals and assists return is not spectacular – he has three and four respectively in 21 matches in all competitions – but he is a player that certainly causes problems for opposition defences.
Bruce took over from Rafa Benitez, who left the club last summer, and there have been some positives at least in terms of results – they are currently in 13th place in the Premier League table, nine points clear of the relegation zone, and they have reached the FA Cup quarter-finals for the first time since 2006.
Results such as the 1-0 victory over Southampton have helped – a game in which Saint-Maximin scored the winner. The former Sheffield Wednesday boss said after the match, via The Guardian:
“I’m delighted for him. I’ve said from day one he’s always going to please everybody. If you haven’t seen him play, then you’re going to enjoy watching him because he is a natural footballer that doesn’t come around too often. He’s got frightening pace, great balance and got that thing where he wants to beat you. He’s frustrating at times and he has to learn but, if he learns, he has a big, bright future.”
That frustration will surely only subside as he adapts to the English top flight. The raw qualities needed to make it at the top, at least, are there.
As per Transfermarkt, Dixon made 454 appearances for Arsenal during his time at Highbury, winning four league titles, whilst he also won 28 caps for England – he is a man who has experience at the very highest level.
He told BBC Sport as part of his analysis of the Magpies’ 4-0 loss to Arsenal earlier this campaign:
“Allan Saint-Maximin is the best, worst player you’ve ever seen. In the first half he trips over the ball, then here he beats a man, cuts inside and whips a fierce shot onto the far post. He certainly has an impact in any game he’s involved in.”
We’re not quite sure how the 23-year-old should take that! Once again, though, it touches upon how exciting a player he is to watch – it remains to be seen whether he can hone those skills in the future.