MARTIN KEOWN: Twinkle-toed Allan Saint-Maximin can help Newcastle trouble leaky Tottenham
MARTIN KEOWN: Sparkling-toed Allan Saint-Maximin could help Newcastle trouble a leaky Tottenham side… and Callum Wilson’s return would be another big boost for the newly acquired hosts
- Newcastle supporters have endured grief, but their club is waking up
- They start dreaming again and their new era begins against Tottenham
- Allan Saint-Maximin will be crucial for the hosts and he can be Spurs . Harassment
- The potential return of Callum Wilson will be another major boost for them
Newcastle United was the second richest club in England after the 1997-98 season, behind only Manchester United, and, remarkably, the fifth richest in world football.
They finished second in the Premier League and reached the FA Cup final and competed in Europe during those enjoyable 1990s.
But their passionate supporters have endured a prolonged period of misfortune with apparent little success on the pitch. Now this sleeping giant is ready to wake up.
Newcastle supporters have endured a period of unhappiness, but their club will wake up
They have their financial muscle back and the fans are letting themselves dream again.
Sunday’s game at St James’ Park was sold out within 24 hours of the new owners coming in. Every supporter wants to be there for the start of this new era and their energy should go towards supporting the team rather than directing anger at Steve Bruce .
If they do, they will make this an incredibly difficult environment for Tottenham players to walk into.
On the pitch, the Spurs face a side that has gone scoreless in seven games and conceded 16 goals, the most joint in the Premier League. But this should be a reinforced Newcastle squad ready to embrace the energy that will burst from the stands.
The public’s energy should go toward supporting the team, not anger at Steve Bruce (C)
Looking at the squad there is enough quality to survive this season. Bruce started this campaign with a back-five, but halfway through the 1-1 draw with Leeds he switched to a back-four by moving Isaac Hayden from defense to midfield.
That made Newcastle much more competitive. It caused a reaction from the fans, who were behind the team.
It seems only a matter of time before Bruce is removed as Newcastle boss. But he is a proud man and he will want to win what is his 1000th game as manager so that he can go out with unblemished self-respect and dignity.
Newcastle will have chances against Spurs and the tricky Allan Saint-Maximin will prove crucial
Newcastle can really get to the Spurs. Nuno Espirito Santo’s side have lost their last two away games in the Premier League, conceding six goals to Arsenal and Crystal Palace. Their only road win this season was at Wolves, where they were lucky the hosts couldn’t convert any of their 25 shots.
Newcastle will have opportunities, especially if they get the ball early in the dancing feet of Allan Saint-Maximin. He was electric, carried the ball further than any other Premier League player this season and created the most chances from those runs.
The inclusion of Callum Wilson, if he is fit enough to use, will be a big boost. He, more than anyone else, will benefit from Saint-Maximin’s twists and turns and creativity.
Wilson has that predatory instinct and is a real number 9 who can wreak havoc on Tottenham’s defences.
The potential return of Callum Wilson (R) would be another big boost for the hosts this weekend
Nuno tried to fix the vulnerabilities on his part by making personnel changes before the international break. Dele Alli and Japhet Tanganga were eliminated at halftime against Arsenal and did not appear against Aston Villa.
Davinson Sanchez and Tanganga were replaced by Cristian Romero and Emerson in the rear against Villa, and Oliver Skipp was brought in again. It ended Tottenham’s losing streak.
On Sunday, however, they will have to show great courage against a Newcastle side who now have the St James’ Park loyalists back as their 12th man after years of discontent.