Beyond the result, there was more surprise before kick-off when Saint-Maximin was left out of the squad completely. This sparked fears amongst certain sections of the fanbase that perhaps all is not well between Eddie Howe and the player and that perhaps a January transfer could be on the cards.
However, it was later claimed by the club that the winger had to miss the game due to an illness picked up in the build-up to the match.
Even so, while speaking about it all on his YouTube channel, Hope didn’t sound particularly convinced. He said (3:40): “I know there’s a lot of rumours and different things which are going around.”
He continued: “Now, I’m told there has been no fallout. I’m sure there’s been no one incident where there’s been a fallout.
“But some of the feeling you did get around it, it didn’t feel necessarily easy, in terms of in terms of the reasons given for his absence.”
Clearly, Hope remains unconvinced that the relationship between player and club is all fine right now. However, Howe did state that it was a ‘huge disappointment’ Saint-Maximin couldn’t play and said he hoped the ‘match-winner’ would be back soon.
So, on the surface of it, things don’t seem to be too bad. Even so, the French winger clearly isn’t a fully trusted player for the Magpies.
Indeed, this is shown by the fact that he has started just four Premier League games all season. Unsurprisingly, Saint-Maximin has struggled for form since and has scored just one league goal this term, coming way back in August.
Taking it all into account, it does feel as though there could be more to this story. And with the January transfer market currently open, you never know just where things might end up going.