Allan Saint-Maximin

Pair of Deeney penalties lead Watford comeback win

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Troy Deeney converted two penalties as Watford surged closer to Premier League safety with a 2-1 comeback win over Newcastle United at Vicarage Road.

Down 1-0 on a Dwight Gayle goal, the Hornets scored twice in the second half to move six points clear of 18th-place Bournemouth.

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Newcastle remains 13th with 44 points.


Three things we learned

1. (Of course) Deeney delivers: Watford captain Deeney has had a remarkable run at Vicarage Road and this season had plenty of storylines. But it was Deeney who had to go to the penalty spot twice to (possibly) seal his beloved club’s status in the Premier League. The two goals will feel good but not as good as another season in the top flight.

2. Magpies architect of own demise: The Magpies looked very good in the first half but their defending in the second half was abject, right down to two silly penalties. Matt Ritchie put himself in a bad spot to allow Kiko Femenia to win an early second half penalty and Javi Manquillo’s takedown of Ismaila Sarr 30 minutes later was laughable. The Magpies didn’t deserve the points based on the second half chances conceded anyway.

3. Newcastle worn out: Steve Bruce rested Miguel Almiron last match and Allan Saint-Maximin is probably looking upon that with greedy eyes. Newcastle’s best players have had to go and go again, and they just look a bit off it. A visit from Spurs on Wednesday is next.

Man of the Match

There were a few candidates for the Hornets, but we’ll go with the “Deeney of the defense” in Craig Dawson. He broke up a number of Newcastle opportunities.


Watford – Newcastle recap

Miguel Almiron came close to getting a leg on Allan Saint-Maximin’s fourth-minute cross.

A corner led to another Almiron shot, this one stopped well by Ben Foster.

Watford nearly had it 1-0 in the 17th. when Danny Welbeck’s shot was pushed off the near post by Martin Dubravka and saved off the line by Jamaal Lascelles.

Newcastle kept knocking, though, and took the lead through in-form Gayle, who showed up at the back post to poke in Federico Fernandez’s redirected corner kick.

Foster denied a breaking Saint-Maximin in the 35th minute as the Magpies looked good money for another goal.

That’s not to say Watford didn’t manufacture some chances, including a few quality set piece chances in the final few minutes of the first half.

The Magpies cleared an unholy goal mouth scramble off a 42nd-minute set piece and Almiron broke up the pressure with a long dribble into the Watford half.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Kiko Femenia hit the deck under Matt Ritchie’s challenge to win a 52nd-minute penalty, Deeney dispatching it past Dubravka to make it 1-1. His seventh goal is also his 130th in a Watford shirt.

Fernandez nearly gave the game to Watford with a miserable pass, but Dubravka stopped Deeney’s wasted direct shot.

Saint-Maximin forced an own goal out of Watford but the linesman’s flag was raised in the 67th.

The Magpies conceded the inevitable second goal when Manquillo wrapped up Sarr with a dozen minutes to play.

Transfer news: Saint-Maximin in demand, Norwich back to German giants

Saint-Maximin to PSG
Photo by Serena Taylor/Newcastle United via Getty Images
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The Sunday morning papers are helping the transfer rumor mill buzz after a weekend of matches in Europe.

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Newcastle is mentioned as a home for several players but the biggest Magpies name is one linked with a departure to big, big clubs.

Saint-Maximin to PSG, PL big boys

Newcastle supporters, avert your eyes and trust Steve Bruce (What a sentence and maybe a mantra).

Magpies talisman Allan Saint-Maximin has caught the eye of everyone on Tyneside and most of the Premier League but is being linked with a big money move back home.

Steve Bruce is flat-out denying there’s any chance of selling the Frenchman, 23, who is being linked with Paris Saint-Germain and “all of England’s current top six sides.”

“ASM” has four goals and seven assists in 25 appearances entering Sunday morning’s match versus West Ham and is one of just three players to average more than four dribbles per game, his 4.7 sandwiched between Adama Traore (5) and Wilfried Zaha (4.5).

It’s not just about the numbers with Saint-Maximin, though, whose magnetic dribbling and personality keep both a defense off-balance and a team hopeful and happy. Newcastle is 1W-3D-7L in the Premier League when Saint-Maximin plays, 10-6-5 when he’s out there.

Any sale, especially with Newcastle’s takeover looming, would have to be well over the approximately $20 million paid by the Magpies last summer.

Schick to Newcastle (amongst others)

The same report lays out a more realistic shopping list for the Magpies than many of the rumors since reports emerged of a big money takeover at St. James’ Park.

Newcastle is being linked with Roma’s Patrik Schick, Nice’s Arnaud Lusamba, Benfica’s Florentino Luis, Penarol’s Facundo Pellistri, and Norwich City’s Ben Godfrey.

Let’s focus on Schick and Lusamba.

Patrick Schick Leipzig Bundesliga
DORTMUND, GERMANY – DECEMBER 17: Patrik Schick (Photo by Jörg Schüler/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Schick was once among the most sought-after names in the game. The 24-year-old Czech striker has nine goals in 22 caps for his country.

Three seasons removed from his breakout season at Sampdoria, Schick has profound his footing on loan to RB Leipzig from Roma. The center forward has 10 goals in 22 matches despite Timo Werner carrying the water in fine fashion for Julian Nagelsmann’s Leipzig.

Like Saint-Maximin last season, Lusamba has been in- and out-of-favor with Nice boss Patrick Vieira. But it’s worth noting that the manager has tried to find a place on the pitch for the 23-year-old center midfielder, deploying him at center forward and right mid at times.

Lusamba averaged 1.2 key passes and 1.3 dribbles per Ligue 1 appearances this season.

Godfrey to Borussia Dortmund

Speaking of Godfrey, could he be going from the bottom of the Premier League table to the upper reaches of Germany? For close to $30 million, to boot?

Two of the Bundesliga’s top clubs continue to monitor top young Premier League talent including the aforementioned Godfrey, with Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig eyeing the 22-year-old.

A center back in Norwich’s maligned and injury-battered defense, England youth international Godfrey has played the seventh-most minutes for Daniel Farke’s Canaries.

Relegation victims have often yielded incredible value for bigger clubs, two great cases in point being ex-Hull City man Andrew Robertson and former Aston Villa force Idrissa Gana Gueye. We don’t need to tell you where they wound up.

Newcastle clobbers woeful, worried Bournemouth

Bournemouth - Newcastle recap
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Allan Saint-Maximin’s three-assist day helped Newcastle United punis poor Bournemouth with a 4-1 battering Wednesday at the Vitality Stadium.

The Magpies’ French revelation set up goals from Dwight Gayle, Sean Longstaff, and Miguel Almiron and Jonjo Shelvey cued up Valentino Lazaro for another in sending Newcastle to 42 points and 13th place.

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Dan Gosling scored late for Bournemouth, who is in big trouble. The Cherries’ goal differential now puts them bottom of the three sides on 27 points. The Cherries sit 19th with six matches to play.


Three things we learned

1. The stage belongs to ASM: There are few players in the league as clever and magnet-booted as Saint-Maximin, who finally got finishers on the end of his wizardry. Newcastle will struggle to keep hold of the 23-year-old, who has cast aside the character concerns that came with him from Ligue 1.

2. Bournemouth looks lost: The Cherries are only in the Premier League safety picture due to the horrid displays of teams around them. The four goals conceded weigh heavily on Eddie Howe’s men, who have to hope Watford, West Ham, and Villa all struggle and split points with each other down the stretch. Bournemouth’s last six games are no cakewalk: Manchester United, Spurs, Leicester City, Man City, Southampton, and Everton.

3. Almiron adjusted: Atlanta United’s Paraguayan export took some time to find his finishing touch in the Premier League. He looked bright but without end product for Rafa Benitez this year, then really struggled to start life under Steve Bruce. He’s looking the part again and scored his seventh goal in all comps this season.

That said, Bournemouth would’ve done well to challenge the ball here, yeah?

Man of the Match

Saint-Maximin. The Frenchman has completed more dribbles per game than anyone not named Adama Traore.


Bournemouth – Newcastle recap

The Magpies struck early when Gayle took a Saint-Maximin pass and finished with class inside the near post, a much harder finish than the sitter he missed against Man City in an FA Cup quarterfinal on Sunday.

It was 2-0 through Longstaff, who slammed home a shot from the heart of the 18 after Saint-Maximin dribbled the left side of the box into submission.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Almiron was there for 3-0, taking the ball from Saint-Maximin and scoring a classy effort after dribbling into the box.

Lazaro’s first Premier League goal wads Newcastle’s fourth of the day, taking a Shelvey feed to punish Aaron Ramsdale.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ]

It could’ve been 5-0 when Nabil Bentaleb smashed the wood work and the rebound wobbled to an offside Isaac Hayden to pop over the bar

Ramsdale made a fine save on Andy Carroll in stoppage time to keep the line 4-0.

Bournemouth did not trouble Martin Dubravka until their stoppage-time goal, ex-Magpie midfielder Gosling pushing Ake’s flicked ball over the line.

Before that were five shots blocked with another five missing the target.

Villa comes back for point at Newcastle United

Newcastle - Aston Villa recap
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Ahmed Elmohamady’s late goal secured a crucial point for Aston Villa in a 1-1 draw with Newcastle United at St. James’ Park on Wednesday.

The Magpies were better money for a win but Villa worked hard for its break, a set piece that Newcastle keeper Martin Dubravka will want back.

NEWCASTLE – ASTON VILLA FULL MATCH REPLAY

Newcastle stays 13th with 39 points, 12 clear of the bottom three.

Villa’s point gives its 27 but keeps it in 19th place, level on points with 18th place Bournemouth and 17th place West Ham.


Three things we learned

1. Smith’s scrappers keep scrapping: Aston Villa is finding points when other teams at the bottom are failing to, and that might be enough given how bad the other relegation sides look. It was fitting that an old Steve Bruce favorite in Elmohamady provided the headed equalizer on Conor Hourihane’s corner kick and even if Martin Dubravka should’ve done better, the Villans shouldn’t feel like they robbed a point.

2. Tyrone Mings: Look, Jack Grealish is an unreal talent and Villa through and through, but it’s difficult to properly describe the impact Tyrone Mings has on their back end. He was caught on the fringes marking Carroll when the big man swept in the assist on Gayle’s goal, but he’s directly responsible for denying so many scoring chances.

3. Saint-Max is Magpies wild card: There are few players in the world as dangerous, quick, and smart as Allan Saint-Maximin, who went 90 minutes in the draw. The French winger is a clever and consistent passer, connecting on three of six long balls and a key pass in the draw. He converted an almost absurd 10-of-11 dribbles and won 13-of-20 duels while drawing three fouls.

Man of the Match

Saint-Maximin. Again look at those numbers: 10-of-11 dribbles and 13-of-20 duels as a wide man.


Newcastle – Aston Villa recap

The best early chance fell to Villa’s Trezeguet at the back post, but he chopped it over the goal.

Tyrone Mings saved Villa’s hide when Jonjo Shelvey stole a ball in the final third and fed Joelinton into the box.

An Allan Saint-Maximin dribble led to a Matt Ritchie rip that was blocked by Orjan Nyland but fumbled before being cleared.

Trezquet headed an Anwar El Ghazi cross wide inn the 49th minute as Villa started brightly.

VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

Danny Rose led a terrific charge down the right with Ritchie but Miguel Almiron took an extra touch from prime shooting range and Mings blocked the effort for a corner.

Gayle put Newcastle ahead in the 69th minute, taking an Andy Carroll cross and sweeping a shot beyond the reach of Nyland.

Ezri Konza nearly had the Villans level before Elmohamady’s headed was lost by Dubravka, who was partially screened by a slow-to-react Jonjo Shelvey.

Villa was better money to score the next goal, but Newcastle held on for the point.

Newcastle’s Saint-Maximin, Liverpool’s Lovren speak against racism

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Newcastle’s Allan Saint-Maximin and Liverpool’s Dejan Lovren are speaking out on their squad photos that showed both Magpies and Reds taking a knee against racism at the center circle of pitches earlier this week.

All 20 Premier League clubs and a large number of players and coaches spoke out against racism earlier this week, and players have continued momentum. The gestures were born from the May 25 killing of American black man George Floyd, who died in handcuffs after a white police officer pressed his knee into his neck for nearly nine minutes even after he stopped moving and pleaded for air in Minnesota.

[ MORE: Remaining PL schedule in full ]

Saint-Maximin said he was inspired in part by his French youth national teammate Marcus Thuram, who took a knee last weekend after scoring for Borussia Monchengladbach.

“I have one big friend of mine who scored a goal, Marcus Thuram, and he did a great celebration,” Saint-Maximin said, via NUFC.co.uk. “It’s important that everyone knows this is not a joke. You have to claim that this is important. Everybody has to know this doesn’t have to happen again. It’s a difficult time for everyone. Even if it’s not you, or it’s not your brother or sister, you cannot know if this will happen again.”

Saint-Maximin said he experienced racial problems especially in his youth, and admitted that it meant a lot for his teammates to kneel together and make a statement as one.

“Everyone wanted to stay together because we all humans,” he said. “For me, everybody is the same. I have some things I can’t understand and some I don’t want to understand, too.”

As for Lovren, the Liverpool center back has never been shy around microphones.

His words to Sky Sports on Thursday echo Saint-Maximin and many of their peers.

Sky asked him why the Liverpool players took a knee as a team earlier this week.

“I felt we needed to do it. What happened in America is unacceptable. We are all equal and we wanted to share it to the world. We did it and it’s unbelievably great that people are getting this message. Everyone should be treated equally.”

Lovren, whose family became refugees from Yugoslavia when he was young, also stressed the import of footballers using their public platform for good, saying, “I want to be recognized also as a man who is spreading love and positivity. I’m looking at myself and it’s like I have a duty.”