Yesterday, the provisional first three Premier League matches, as well as the FA Cup quarter-final dates, were officially confirmed. They had been doing the rounds in the press on Thursday, but now are official.
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) June 5, 2020
Newcastle will play the first three of the four fixtures at home in an empty St James Park before traveling south to face Bournemouth. It’ll be an eerie sight watching the lads play without the supporters behind them.
However, the players will adapt to the surroundings, as evidenced by what we’ve seen in the Bundesliga. While it’s still quite an odd sight, it is better than nothing.
It will affect some players more than others. Players who drive on emotion could be adversely affected though it can go both ways. Sometimes an atmosphere in a stadium is not always supportive.
For a player like Allan Saint-Maximin, who strives to please the Newcastle faithful, it will be interesting to see how he responds to the silence.
The Chronicle has published some of Allan’s comments about the return of this campaign.
He expresses some concerns about playing behind closed doors. This is what the Frenchman had to say:
“This is really, really difficult for me. For me, the supporters give you power and you can see we win more games at home than we do away from home.
“It’s like a green light for you. It’s difficult to play away and without supporters and now we play a game at home against Sheffield United and it’s really difficult.
“It’s better to play like this than complain and that’s why we have to go with this and try to do everything for the supporters at home.”
Saint-Maximin was just getting his stride back when this season was brought to a grinding halt by the coronavirus pandemic. It’s something Saint-Maximin has spoken about recently.
He mentioned it once again before touching on how important it is to get off to a positive start when the games return.
“The virus came at a bad time for me because I feel more comfortable with my body, with my partner, with everything. I’m running and I tried to get back in good condition. I don’t think only about scoring goals, I just want to help the rest of the team.
“I’m more happy when I assist than I am when I score. That’s why, for me, it’s really important to do everything. We have the FA Cup, we have 35 points – we need to go game for game. We know if you win against Sheffield United, it’s 38 points with eight games and then we can feel comfortable for the FA Cup.
“We must train hard to be ready for the first game.”
Allan had two assists in the FA Cup win at West Brom. Then his individual brilliance sealed all three points at Southampton. Hopefully, he can pick up where he left off despite the massive gulf between the games.
On the bright side, he’s had time to allow his hamstrings to fully recover. So hopefully, he can remain fit for the final stretch of this campaign.