Just under a month after signing for Newcastle United from Lyon for a reported £40million, we finally got a proper look at Bruno Guimaraes as he came off the bench in place of Jacob Murphy in the 63rd minute.
The Magpies were 2-0 up and Brentford were down to 10 men. With the three points effectively secured, it presented an ideal opportunity for Eddie Howe to introduce the 24-year-old early.
Guimaraes is yet to start for Newcastle since his arrival and had been limited to cameo appearances off the bench against Everton, Aston Villa and West Ham United.
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But his introduction at the Brentford Community Stadium proved to be a timely one that helped Newcastle regain control of the game following a brief spell for the hosts following Christian Eriksen’s much-anticipated return to competitive action.
Guimares quickly got himself involved in the heart of the action. In little over half an hour, he registered 41 touches and made 31 passes – more than goalscorer Joe Willock and all but two of Brentford’s outfield players on Saturday afternoon.
The Brazilian was able to show his technical ability to find space and take control of the ball under pressure. His range of passing during the latter stages of the match was also on full display.
He made two interceptions, won all of his defensive duels and also had an opportunity to score – his 25-yard effort curling wide of the right post.
Realistically, against 10 men and with a comfortable lead, you'd expect a player of Guimaraes’ calibre to come on and be dominant in the midfield and that’s exactly what he was.
Without having to try too hard or force the issue, he was able to show his class with a series of subtle but effective pieces of play as he linked up well with Jonjo Shelvey in the centre of the park.
And head coach Eddie Howe was also pleased with Guimaraes’ contribution on Saturday.
“[He was] very good,” Howe told The Gazette. “We wanted to bring him on in a moment where we wanted more control of the ball on the ground in the game.
"We saw the last passage of the game out in a comfortable way and I thought Bruno certainly in the first 15, 20 minutes did that. His technical ability is second to none.
“I was really, really pleased because Brentford directed balls into dangerous areas and I was really pleased with the defensive mentality of the group to see that out.
"The extra man doesn’t really come into play from set plays so they were still a big threat in those ways.”
It was a third clean sheet and fourth win in five matches for Newcastle as they moved up to 14th in the Premier League table.
The form of Shelvey and Saturday’s goalscorers Joelinton and Willock in midfield has kept Guimaraes from starting matches for Newcastle.
But his chance will most certainly come and, on first real impression, he looks like a player who is ready and able to take it.