Allan Saint-Maximin

PL Club Power Rankings: Week 29

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Roy Hodgson‘s got the Eagles flying up our PL power rankings.

Crystal Palace keeps finding ways to win, and Hodgson’s men are rising up the list as notable sides Spurs and Everton falter at the start of the stretch run.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Green: New season-high ranking
Red: New season-low

[ MORE: PL Club Power Rankings archive ]


20. Norwich City — A Saints visit presents a rare opening for the Canaries.
Last week: 20
Season high: 10
Season low: 20
Last match: Lost 1-0 at Sheffield United
Up next: 11 a.m. ET Saturday v. Southampton

19. Aston Villa — Take away Tyrone Mings, and Villa’s defense reminds me of McBain’s goggles.
Last week: 19
Season high: 6
Season low: 19
Last match: Lost 4-0 at Leicester City
Up next: 1:30 p.m. ET Saturday v. Chelsea

18. Bournemouth — Gotta build off the performance at Liverpool, but Palace has looked good lately.
Last week: 18
Season high: 6
Season low: 18
Last match: Lost 2-1 at Liverpool
Up next: 11 a.m. ET Saturday v. Palace

17. Watford — Can Nigel Pearson take advantage of his former side?
Last week: 17
Season high: 13
Season low: 20
Last match: Lost 1-0 at Crystal Palace
Up next: 8:30 a.m. ET Saturday v. Leicester City

16. West Ham United — Home field is about all the Irons have going for them versus Wolves (aside from Wolves’ penchant to sleep a bit versus lower-half sides).
Last week: 14
Season high: 5
Season low: 20
Last match: Lost 1-0 at Arsenal
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Sunday v. Wolves

15. Brighton and Hove Albion — Running out of time and opportunity.
Last week: 15
Season high: 6
Season low: 18
Last match: Drew 0-0 at Wolves
Up next: 11 a.m. ET Saturday v. Arsenal

14. Southampton — Still almost got a point despite an early red card versus Newcastle.
Last week: 12
Season high: 7
Season low: 20
Last match: Lost 1-0 v. Newcastle
Up next: 11 a.m. ET Saturday at Norwich City

13. Newcastle United — The Magpies faithful deserves a player like Allan Saint-Maximin.
Last week: 16
Season high: 11
Season low: 20
Last match: Won 1-0 at Southampton
Up next: 11 a.m. ET Saturday v. Sheffield United

12. Everton — What was that, Carlo? Suddenly a head-scratching winless in three.
Last week: 6
Season high: 5
Season low: 19
Last match: Lost 4-0 at Chelsea
Up next: 4 p.m. ET Monday v. Liverpool

11. Tottenham Hotspur — Pretty sure everyone near Spurs wants this season to be over already.
Last week: 5
Season high: 2
Season low: 16
Last match: Drew 1-1 at Burnley
Up next: 12:30 p.m. ET Sunday v. Man Utd

10. Sheffield United — Chris Wilder‘s men will want a measure of revenge from Saturday’s trip to the Northeast. Play to the whistle, Blades.
Last week: 11
Season high: 5
Season low: 17
Last match: Lost 1-0 v. Norwich City
Up next: 11 a.m. ET Saturday at Newcastle

9. Burnley — Steadily hanging around the UEL race.
Last week: 10
Season high: 5
Season low: 17
Last match: Drew 1-1 v. Spurs
Up next: 11 a.m. ET Saturday at Man City

8. Crystal Palace — Three-straight 1-0 wins and the fixtures will get dicey after Saturday’s trip to the Vitality Stadium.
Last week: 13
Season high: 5
Season low: 18
Last match: Won 1-0 v. Watford
Up next: 11 a.m. ET Saturday at Bournemouth

7. Arsenal — Don’t sleep on the Gunners and the top four.
Last week: 9
Season high: 4
Season low: 13
Last match: Won 1-0 v. West Ham
Up next: 11 a.m. ET Saturday at Brighton

6. Leicester City — Grateful for their fixture list. Harvey Barnes has pure star quality.
Last week: 8
Season high: 2
Season low: 10
Last match: Won 4-0 v. Aston Villa
Up next: 8:30 a.m. ET Saturday at Watford

5. Wolves — May look at the Brighton draw as the result that kept them out of the UCL.
Last week: 3
Season high: 3
Season low: 17
Last match: Drew 0-0 v. Brighton
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Sunday at West Ham

4. Chelsea — A really nice win over Everton after an FA Cup ouster of Liverpool. Has Frank Lampard refound his footing?
Last week: 4
Season high: 2
Season low: 12
Last match: Won 4-0 v. Everton
Up next: 1:30 p.m. ET Saturday at Aston Villa

3. Manchester United — Unbeaten in 10 and Paul Pogba‘s gonna be back soon enough. Can hardly wait to see if he works well with Bruno Fernandes.
Last week: 7
Season high: 2
Season low: 16
Last match: Won 2-0 v. Man City
Up next: 12:30 p.m. ET Sunday at Spurs

2. Manchester City — Can Pep Guardiola‘s men reclaim form ahead of second leg versus Real Madrid?
Last week: 2
Season high: 1
Season low: 6
Last match: Lost 2-0 at Man Utd
Up next: 11 a.m. ET Saturday v. Burnley

1. Liverpool — Title incoming.
Last week: 1
Season high: 1
Season low: 3
Last match: Won 2-1 v. Bournemouth
Up next: 4 p.m. ET Monday at Everton

Saint-Maximin magic leads Newcastle past 10-man Saints

Southampton v. Newcastle United recap and video highlights
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Allan Saint-Maximin‘s second-half solo goal helped Newcastle United find a way past 10-man Southampton 1-0 at St. Mary’s on Saturday.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Saints goalkeeper Alex McCarthy was brilliant in the loss, but sas his side slip a point and a place behind the Magpies.

Newcastle United now has 35 points and sits 13th. That’s good for eight points clear of the drop zone.


Three things we learned

1. VAR a big help for Newcastle: Southampton was down a man for more than an hour thanks to VAR, which asked referee Graham Banks to review his yellow card decision for a Djenepo stamp on Isaac Hayden. The referee saw fit to send off the Malian.

Newcastle would’ve been felt indebted to VAR when it spotted a clear handball in the box from Sofiane Boufal, but Matt Ritchie‘s penalty was well-saved by Alex McCarthy. Speaking of the keeper.

2. McCarthy keeps Saints alive: A fantastic triple save came before the Saints went down to 10 men, and McCarthy stayed hot with his penalty save on former Portsmouth man Ritchie. The saves kept coming until Valery’s error put the keeper to the sword.

3. Saint-Maximin is Newcastle’s life force: With respect to lively Miguel Almiron, the Magpies’ attack lives and dies with wing wizard Allan Saint-Maximin. The young Frenchman’s 4.3 dribbles per game is nearly triple that of his closest teammate (Almiron), and the Magpies are 1W-3D-7L when he doesn’t see the pitch.

Man of the Match: It would’ve been Shelvey in the first half, but his touch betrayed him in the second phase. Saint-Max is the man here, just over McCarthy.


The hosts surged out of the gates, a couple of corner kicks leading to a dangerous chance that Matt Ritchie blocked for Newcastle.

Alex McCarthy made three incredible saves for Saints after Jonjo Shelvey cued up Dwight Gayle for a chance and Miguel Almiron had two chances at rebounds.

Southampton then tested Martin Dubravka with a Yan Valery drive, but the goalkeeper was well-positioned to keep the match scoreless.

Moussa Djenepo then saw a yellow card for a stamp on Isaac Hayden, but VAR Peter Banks recommended that referee Graham Banks have another look at it. It became a red card.

McCarthy soon made an incredible save on a diving Gayle header, and the striker missed an ensuing chance wide off a Allan Saint-Maximin feed.

Jamaal Lascelles had the ball in the goal from a free kick but a raised linesman’s flag denied him.

VAR then awarded Newcastle a penalty when Sofiane Boufal handled the ball at the edge of the box. It was Newcastle’s first penalty of the year, and McCarthy did well to save Matt Ritchie.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Saint-Maximin won a 52nd minute free kick on the left side of the box, but Shelvey’s pass was cleared away.

Hayden soon headed a corner kick wide of the goal.

Saint-Maximin put Valery under pressure before picking his pocket and rolling a ball under McCarthy, off the post, and into the goal.

Almiron salutes injured ex-Atlanta United teammate as Bruce praises star

Miguel Almiron
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Newcastle United got a big performance out of Miguel Almiron in the No. 10 role, and the Paraguayan used his star show to pay tribute to Josef Martinez.

Almiron and Martinez famously celebrated goals at Atlanta United by combining to make a heart with their arms, and Martinez has been linked with Newcastle in recent transfer windows.

Martinez tore his ACL this week, and Almiron celebrated one of his two goals in a 3-2 defeat of West Brom in the FA Cup by forming half of a heart from an ocean away.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

That part of the performance was lovely for MLS and Atlanta fans, but what Newcastle United fans and manager Steve Bruce love is Almiron’s promising performances now seeing end product.

“As I have said many times he has been a breath of fresh air,” Bruce said, via The Chronicle. “That little bit of confidence will hopefully do him the world of good.”

Almiron was a sparkplug last season for Rafa Benitez, but failed to get a goal or assist in 10 outings. This season, he waited 14 league matches for an assist and three more for a goal.

The FA Cup has helped him grow, as Almiron has added four goals to give him six in all competitions.

“He looked a top, top player tonight and we all know he can score,” Bruce said. “He just missed a few chances and then it ebbs away at you. One thing you can’t deny is the kid is a good player.”

Almiron still needs to produce more against PL competition, but his numbers are promising. He’s second on Newcastle with 43 tackles, and his 40 successful dribbles trail only wizard Allan Saint-Maximin (Stats via SofaScore).

It seems Almiron is ready for a breakthrough in league play, though the Magpies still badly need an engine in the midfield and a shuttler who sets up the playmakers. Steve Bruce has changed the club’s defensive formation to something more open, so this will be a good few weeks to track Almiron’s progress.

FA Cup wrap: Liverpool loses again; Almiron drives Newcastle win

Liverpool
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Previously impermeable Liverpool allowed three goals for the second-straight match in bowing out of the FA Cup in the fifth round.

Chelsea beat the Premier League leaders 2-0 at Stamford Bridge as one of two FA Cup matches on Tuesday.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Joining the Blues and Arsenal in the hat for the quarterfinal draw is Newcastle United. Sheffield United and Reading are in extra time at the Madejski Stadium, so check back for updates.

They don’t use a hat. They used to. Those were the days to be a haberdasher.

Chelsea 2-0 Liverpool

Liverpool has lost three in four in all competitions after an even match at Stamford Bridge.

Both sides turned to their depth after weekend disappointments, and Chelsea’s responded with a fine showing.

The opener came thanks to a series of Liverpool errors, Willian‘s hammered shot hitting Adrian square in the hands and finding its way over the line.

Kepa Arrizabalaga had a three-save sequence to keep it 1-0 at the break.

Barkley then seized on an unlucky Van Dijk flick and raced sixty yards past a sleepy Fabinho and cautious Joe Gomez to smash a rocket off the in-goal camera.

Pedro was denied 1v1 by Adrian before Olivier Giroud smashed off the bottom of the bar.

Liverpool brought on Roberto Firmino and James Milner in the 70th minute in a late bid to reverse the Reds’ fortunes. Mohamed Salah entered 10 minutes later, all to no avail.

Reading 1-1 Sheffield United (currently in extra time)

Hard-luck Blades striker David McGoldrick finally got his goal, the 32-year-old taking a Ben Osborn feed to make it 1-0. McGoldrick has an expected goal mark of more than seven in Premier League play, but had not found the net.

Reading leveled the score just before halftime through a George Puscas penalty. That was it for the goals in regulation.

West Brom 2-3 Newcastle United

Newcastle had several big chances early and were justly rewarded when Allan Saint-Maximin slipped Miguel Almiron into the box for a clinical finish past Baggies keeper Jonathan Bond.

Almiron made it a brace when Joelinton backheeled a pass toward the penalty spot for the Paraguayan’s sliding finish.

Valentino Lazaro got his first Newcastle goal within two minutes of restart thanks to a Bond error.

Longtime West Brom servant Matty Phillips pulled one back in the 74th minute off a Kenneth Zohore assist.

The Baggies took the slimmest of hopes from a pretty stoppage time connection from Kyle Edwards to Zohore, but a late penalty shout went unheard and the Championship-leading Baggies left the tournament.

 

Newcastle cannot find way past Burnley

Newcastle v. Burnley recap and video highlights
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Wasteful Newcastle United drew Burnley 0-0 at St. James’ Park on Saturday

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

The Magpies enjoyed a rare day of superior possession and out-attempted Burnley 21-8, but sit six points behind the ninth-place Clarets.

Newcastle is seven points clear of 18th-placed Aston Villa, who has a match-in-hand.


Three things we learned

1. Two dull sides fail: Newcastle and Burnley entered this game with horrific stats. Burnley entered the game passing at under 70 percent, with Newcastle the closest team to that 20th-ranked number. On the flip side, Burnley had been kept off the bottom of the possession table by Bruce’s packed-in Magpies. Newcastle showed a superiority, but the Clarets will happily take an away point.

2. Burnley block party a success: Newcastle’s more attacking system worked well in the first half, with the Magpies out-attempting Burnley 10-3. But Clarets goalkeeper Nick Pope only had to make two saves and a couple of collections because his players got in the way of so many Newcastle bids. That defiance is what’s helped Burnley well clear of the drop zone despite what’s detailed in our first thing.

3. Gayle busy but sloppy in rare start: Magpies manager Steve Bruce has promised to make a proper run in the FA Cup, and sat star forward Allan Saint-Maximin as well as January signings Valentino Lazaro and Nabil Bentaleb. It would’ve worked well, but surprise started Dwight Gayle took one too many touches time and again to deprive breaks of their flow.

Man of the Match: Almiron. The ex-Atlanta United playmaker was everywhere with four key passes on the day. He beats Burnley keeper Nick Pope and center back James Tarkowski.


Newcastle deployed four at the back for the first time in months, and also reinserted both Jonjo Shelvey and Dwight Gayle into the lineup.

Gayle almost had a terrific chance when Nick Pope slipped while racing to meet the striker’s heavy first touch, but Pope recovered to collect the ball.

Phil Bardsley blocked another Gayle effort in the 18th as Newcastle grew into possession against a Burnley team who rarely cares for it.

Newcastle continued to control the ball, Shelvey having two shots blocked and Almiron dribbling into the box to have a low shot caught by Pope.

Ritchie missed with a back post header in the 32nd.

A series of Newcastle corner’s saw the Magpies threaten goal. First a training ground corner led to a James Tarkowski block before Jay Rodriguez got in the way of a Ritchie drive.

Almiron then led a break to set up Gayle for a shot saved by Pope.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Shelvey’s 50th-minute free kick from 25 yards sailed over the bar.

A beautiful bit of interplay allowed Javier Manquillo to earn a corner, and Shelvey was saved by Pope on the ensuing set piece. Gayle soon flubbed a promising play as. Newcastle continued to knock.

A horrible back pass from Danny Rose sent Jay Rodriuguez on goal, but the striker somehow mailed it into the cheap seats.

Gayle missed an overhead kick attempt after a delightfully-chipped pass from Almiron. And Ritchie hit a laser wide of the far post with 10 minutes to play.

Substitute Allan Saint-Maximin hammered a shot into Pope’s lap in the 86th.

Almiron led a drive into the right of the box, but saw his shot blocked out for a corner, and Ritchie saw a stoppage-time effort blocked as well.