Newcastle – Burnley finished far more frantically and entertainingly than it began, with Newcastle United taking a deserved three points in a 3-1 victory at St. James’ Park on Saturday.
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Allan Saint-Maximin and Callum Wilson did it all for Steve Bruce’s side as they scored and assisted one another for Newcastle’s first two goals, and Wilson dispatched the third from the penalty spot. Since arriving at Newcastle just days before the season kicked off, Wilson has four goals in four games.
3 things we learned: Newcastle – Burnley
1. Wilson, Saint-Maximin take over: So often, there tends to be one key difference between sides that find themselves relegated come the end of the season and sides who manage to steer clear of the relegation: a star player turning in a series of star performances to singlehandedly win points for his team and drag them to safety. Newcastle haven’t had that player in recent seasons and fell perilously close to the drop on multiple occasions. On his day, Saint-Maximin can be the kind of player for Newcastle. The same goes for Wilson, provided someone supplies him a scoring chance or two. On Saturday, they were both that player. Unfortunately for player and club, Saint-Maximin exited after a pre-existing ankle injury was further aggravated.
2. Minimal progress from the rest of Newcastle: Speaking in a pre-game television interview, Steve Bruce admitted that his side needed a positive performance just as much as they needed a positive result on Saturday. If you’re using cohesive possession and an increased quantity of scoring chances as your barometer for improvement, perhaps Burnley isn’t the best side against which to judge progress. All of that is to say, the two sides combined for only 16 shots over 90 minutes. At the end of the day, though, Newcastle have seven points from four games and are off to a roaring start… on paper.
3. Burnley offer very little, again (re-post of a re-post): Sean Dyche had some rather critical thoughts about Burnley’s ongoing inability — or, perhaps, refusal — to move in a more timely manner to sign new players and improve the squad. Until such a change occurs, Dyche’s words are probably worth revisiting regularly.
Saint-Maximin opened the scoring in the 14th minute with an exceptionally worked chance of his own and a slightly ambitious strike which found its way through traffic and past a helpless Nick Pope.
Burnley hit back on the hour mark, capping off a brief period of dominance which saw Karl Darlow and Co., tested a handful of times. Ashley Westwood pounced on a poorly cleared cross and put his foot through the ball as it fell from high in the northeastern sky.
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The 1-1 scoreline lasted just four minutes, though, as Saint-Maximin found Wilson with a delightful cross into the six-yard box. The Frenchman found acres of space down the right wing and had plenty of time to pick out Wilson’s late-arriving run at the back post.
Wilson put the game to bed from the penalty spot, converting after Ryan Fraser was bowled over by Pope.