Newcastle have not been defeated in their last four Premier League games which is the longest unbeaten streak of the season. That stretches to seven games in you include the FA Cup ties.
Only two of the matches were wins with one of those being against League One Rochdale in an FA Cup replay. Of all the seven games, only the Wolves draw and the Rochdale win could be considered good performances.
Steve Bruce spoke at length yesterday about the problems that Newcastle are having, particularly in the final third. The Northern Echo have published some comments by Bruce about how vital to the counter-attacking system both Allan Saint-Maximin and Miguel Almiron are.
“We haven’t been more entertaining, that’s the wrong word, but we have played well in this system.
“To play well in this system, our two best players, Miguel Almiron and Allan Saint-Maximin, have to play well and on Saturday and last week, they didn’t play well enough. Allan is just coming back from a hamstring, so he’ll be better.
“If we play that way with what we’ve got, we are deep, we defend deep for a reason, but you can’t be entertaining in that.
“You can be better in that system. Let’s be fair, Wolves play exactly the same way as we do, so do Sheffield United, similar anyway, Aston Villa have gone to a back three or a five if you wish, so we’ve had a bad week in terms of we didn’t play well enough.”
Allan Saint-Maximin doesn’t seem to have reached full fitness just yet from his second hamstring injury. After the first Oxford match last week, he admitted his performance wasn’t up to par and that he was going to work hard to make it right.
— Allan Saint-Maximin (@asaintmaximin) January 25, 2020
He was better against Norwich on Saturday but still faded late in the game before being replaced by Danny Rose.
Miguel Almiron also hasn’t been at his best recently. He was on an excellent goal-scoring run with three in three games from both Rochdale matches and draw at Wolves, but that has dried up over the past four matches.
Hopefully, Bruce can get both Allan and Miguel back on track soon as well as draft Valentino Lazaro into the mix on the right. Lazaro can beat his man and put in quality crosses, which is something this team is lacking at the moment.