The ‘excellent’ Newcastle United star who overshadowed Allan Saint-Maximin and Bruno Guimaraes to mastermind victory against Crystal Palace
Miguel Almiron was the match-winner against Crystal Palace as he ended a run of 39 games without a goal for the Magpies.
As the Paraguayan latched onto the end of a superb Bruno Guimaraes ball, St James’s Park held its breath.
There was still plenty for Almiron to do as he nodded the ball down before shrugging off the attentions of Tyrick Mitchell.
But just moments later, the stadium had erupted with joy as he tucked home a superb effort into the top-corner.
As with all of Almiron’s goals, the reaction to the strike was something special and it was a just-reward for a much improved set of performances.
In Ryan Fraser’s absence, Almiron has put in customary tireless displays on the right and against Palace, he was a real threat to the Eagles defence.
Post-match, Eddie Howe was unsurprisingly very complimentary of the 28-year-old, describing his performance as ‘excellent’:
“He was excellent today. He really was. He’s someone we’ve always liked.” Howe said.
“We had a team that was settled and doing very well, so he found it difficult to get in but that didn’t change the way we think about him.
“He’s had a chance now in the team and I thought his goal today epitomised his performance - pace to get in behind and then what a finish. That’s something he’s worked incredibly hard on behind the scenes. He got his reward with that goal.”
As mentioned, Almiron has had to wait patiently for his opportunity to impress in the first-team but has slowly grown into the role on the right-side of the front-three and arguably played his best game in a Newcastle United shirt on Wednesday evening.
The Frenchman is undoubtedly the most-talented member of United’s current squad, but he has struggled to showcase these talents on a consistent basis of late.
Ever since his stunning display against Everton at the beginning of February, a performance that Frank Lampard described as ‘unplayable’, injury problems have hampered his season and he has been unable to regain form.
However, it is clear that large parts of St James’s Park are still right behind their talisman and Howe praised the pre-game display for highlighting the ‘attachment’ between the support and the player, even if goals and assist aren’t coming freely for Saint-Maximin right now:
“I didn’t speak to Maxi personally but I know he was blown away by the display, as I was.
“I thought it showed an incredible attachment really from Wor Flags to the players. To give him a lift in this moment I thought was very intelligent and a very emotional thing.
“I think they’ve been incredible since I’ve been here with some of the displays and today was right up there. For me, the game is all about players and special players - Maxi is certainly one of those. It was a very touching moment.”
With results flowing, Almiron impressing and goals coming from all areas of the pitch, it doesn’t matter that Saint-Maximin is struggling right now, because you can bet that he will still have a major say in one or two games between now and the end of the season.