Since arriving from French side Nice in the summer, Allan Saint-Maximin has proven himself to be the type of player that can get fans on the edge of their seats.
The Newcastle winger has not been afraid of picking up the ball anywhere on the pitch and simply taking the game to the opposition. As per Whoscored, his quite ridiculous average of 4.2 dribbles per game in the Premier League, puts him third in the rankings – only behind Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha (5), and Wolves’ Adama Traore (5.7).
And against League One side Oxford United in the FA Cup fourth round on Saturday afternoon, Saint-Maximin may well have fancied his chances of running riot. Instead, the Frenchman couldn’t help the Magpies even score a solitary goal, with the Tyneside club now having to go to a replay.
After seeing his performance, Newcastle fans took to Twitter to share their thoughts on the 22-year-old.
ASM in headless chicken mode. Almiron anonymous. #nufc
— Newyorkmagpie (@newyorkmagpie) January 25, 2020
So has saint maximin btw. Worst game I’ve seen from him yet
— The Looney Toon (@The_Looney_Toon) January 25, 2020
A few fans were particularly critical of Saint-Maximin’s tendency of not releasing the ball quickly enough, with one supporter in particular pointing to a moment in the game where Joelinton was “screaming for the early pass”.
Massive fan of Saint-Maximin, but the lad needs to learn when to release the ball.. Very poor all round today #nufc
— Connor (@ConnorDavidson_) January 25, 2020
Saint-Maximin not releasing the ball quick enough again imagine my shock
— Jack (@JackMccullaghhh) January 25, 2020
Asm needs to stick to basics instead of step overs so slow to release the ball just look at joelintons first offside he was screaming for the early pass. Another infuriating nufc game
— Dan Holmes (@DanToon4Life) January 25, 2020
A couple of Newcastle supporters admitted that they still didn’t believe Saint-Maximin looked fully match-fit – the Frenchman of course has been struggling with injuries this season.
ASM struggled today mind, didn’t look fit #NUFC
— Adam Douglass (@Dougie93) January 25, 2020
ASM still doesn’t look match fit
— Cory Jay Graham (@Coryjgraham) January 25, 2020
Lying in 14th in the Premier League table, and only seven points clear of the drop zone, Newcastle may well have bigger things to worry about than the FA Cup.
But a lengthy cup run can sometimes prove to be inspirational and something to rally behind, and having named a crucial first-team player like Saint-Maximin in the starting line-up, Steve Bruce will have been disappointed that the Magpies couldn’t get the job done.
The big question now will be whether Bruce risks the Frenchman once again in the replay, or save him for the business end of the Premier League campaign.