In our predicted line-up yesterday, we had Allan Saint-Maximin coming in for Miguel Almiron on the right side of a front three. While Allan has only featured on the left under Bruce, the 22-year-old played on the right often at Nice.
We think that Bruce will want to get the Frenchman into his team on Sunday. However, we just can’t see Christian Atsu being dropped as he has been one of the few bright spots in a dreary season.
Saint-Maximin has only played 57 minutes of football this season due to a hamstring injury he suffered in the week leading to the Norwich match. He had felt some tightness during training and was held back from the trip to Carrow Road.
However, he received his first start the following week at Tottenham. Early in that match, his hamstring went after a full-on sprint to the byline. Christian Atsu was brought on to make his season debut and has remained in the side ever since.
Allan made his return against Brighton, and we saw exactly what he could offer. Allan brings an urgency in his play. He is always looking to make something happen. Against Brighton, Allan breathed new life into the struggling team.
Saint-Maximin was not brought on last week as the game was truly lost early in the second half. Bruce opted to give DeAndre Yedlin a run out on the right-wing instead.
Yesterday, Bruce commented on the Saint-Maximin’s fitness and his decision to not bring him on against Leicester:
“He gives us something we haven’t got. He’s got a bit of pace and he’s got a bit of power, and we’ve seen that. He’ll definitely give us something which will add to us going forward.
“Last week, when it went to 3-0, I decided to bring on Yedlin rather than him, because it’s been still grumbling with him. I decided to give him an extra week’s training, which he’s had. That has dispelled everything now, and he’s 100% fit.”
It looks like Bruce is now fully comfortable with Allan’s fitness level. He appeared to have some lingering doubt, but this past week has laid that to rest.