Newcastle United rocked by double injury blow as Eddie Howe loses Allan Saint-Maximin and Callum Wilson

Eddie Howe needed a big performance from his team at St James’s Park tonight.

By Miles Starforth
Monday, 27th December 2021, 10:00 pm
Newcastle United's Allan Saint-Maximin celebrates his goal.
Newcastle United's Allan Saint-Maximin celebrates his goal.

Howe got one, but Newcastle United’s players didn’t get the win their efforts deserved against Manchester United – and the club, 19th in the table, remains in a perilous position at the halfway point of the season.

The players left the field reflecting on a series of second-half chances, notably the one which fell to Allan Saint-Maximin, who had opened the scoring with a seventh-minute strike.

One goal was never going to be enough for Newcastle, and Edison Cavani claimed a point for the visitors from a pulsating and physical game.

Callum Wilson goes down injured.

The point the home side took came at a cost, as Saint-Maximin and Callum Wilson were forced off with injuries.

Howe – who lost a number of players to Covid-19 cases and injuries on the eve of the game – made six changes to his starting XI. The absentees had “stretched” the club’s squad, according to Howe.

Joe Willock, Ciaran Clark, Matt Ritchie and Karl Darlow were all absent, while Isaac Hayden was suspended. Howe, at least, did have Jonjo Shelvey back from injury, while Sean Longstaff was handed his first start since the 43-year-old’s appointment last month.

And it was Longstaff who won the ball for the opening goal.

Longstaff won the ball in midfield, and played in Saint-Maximin, who burst into the box. He cut inside Diogo Dalot and Harry Maguire before beating David De Dea with a right-footed shot. Dea Gea didn’t move.

The goal, however, moved the dial at an already-loud stadium. Fans chanted “Eddie Howe’s black and white army” even louder in response to Saint-Maximin’s superb strike.

Newcastle were soon on the back foot, though De Gea did beat away a 24th-minute shot from Shelvey, who had run, unchallenged, from his own half.

Howe’s side, playing well on the counter-attack, pressed for a second goal. Wilson had a goal disallowed for offside. Wilson, however, didn’t last the half, and was taken off, and replaced by Jacob Murphy, in added time after suffering an injury in a challenge with Fred.

Newcastle pressed on after the break, and Saint-Maximin was denied by Dea Gea from two yards after Emil Krafth crossed from the right.

The game swung from end to end, and Ryan Fraser – who needed treatment after a clash with Cristiano Ronaldo – tested De Gea with a fierce shot after a quick break forward from Joelinton, who was outstanding, again, in midfield.

Saint-Maximin also forced a save from De Gea, and Murphy flashed a ball across the face of the visiting goal, during an intense spell of pressure.

The visitors made Newcastle pay for those missed chances in the 71st minute. Cavani, a second-half substitute, scored at the second attempt after Dalot crossed to him, and Howe responded by replacing Fraser with Miguel Almiron.

Saint-Maximin was soon forced off. Murphy hit the post, and Almiron forced a fine save with a follow-up effort, late in the game.

NEWCASTLE UNITED: Dubravka, Krafth, Schar, Lascelles, Manquillo, Shelvey, S Longstaff, Joelinton, Fraser (Almiron, 74), Saint-Maximin (Gayle, 83), Wilson (Murphy, 45). Subs not used: Woodman, Gillespie, Hendrick, Murphy, Anderson, White.

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