Miguel Almiron

AFP PHOTO / NELSON ALMEIDA

Watch Live: Brazil v. Paraguay in the Copa America quarters

Leave a comment

Newcastle United’s Miguel Almiron will be asked to do a lot as the man atop Paraguay’s perceived 5-4-1 when he goes up against hosts Brazil on Thursday in the quarterfinals of the Copa America.

[ STREAM: Brazil v. Paraguay on Telemundo Deportes ]

Almiron, the subject of transfer rumors this week, is yet to be among the goals in Paraguay’s 0-1-2 start to the tournament, but he set up the two of the three and Thursday would be a heck of a time to score his first international goal on the occasion of his 18th cap.

That’s easier said than done; Dani Alves, Marquinhos, Thiago Silva, and Filipe Luis are set to man Brazil’s back line, with Arthur and Allan in front of them.

Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho lead the attack for Brazil, with Everton and Gabriel Jesus out wide and Alisson Becker between the sticks.

Kickoff is at 8:30 p.m. ET. Watch it here.

Newcastle’s Almiron ‘honored’ but knows nothing of Real Madrid reports

Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images
1 Comment

Rumors from Paraguay of a Real Madrid in Miguel Almiron have reached the Newcastle United playmaker.

Signed on a club record fee last year from Major League Soccer and Atlanta United, Almiron electrified the Magpies’ attack even if he didn’t assault the stat sheet.

[ MORE: USWNT-France preview ]

Current Newcastle owner Mike Ashley loves a profit more than most, and Almiron’s boss Rafa Benitez will leave the club on Sunday.

A report last week claimed that Real would look at Almiron if its unable to land a playmaker like Paul Pogba or Neymar. Could all these things conspire to make Almiron’s tenure at Newcastle just a half season?

From The Chronicle:

“No, I do not know anything about that,” Almiron replied. “For me it’s an honor that a team like that [Real Madrid] looks at me, but I’m not aware of anything and now I’m focused on the Copa America, and then Newcastle.”

The Magpies are again in limbo, with Benitez leaving and a mysterious takeover bid from the Middle East leaking few details after a hot and heavy debut.

Claudio Ranieri and Giovanni van Bronckhorst have been linked with the manager’s job, as have a laundry list of others. While there’s no guarantee that the Magpies new boss would rate Almiron, it’s hard to believe that coach would think there’s enough talent and budget at Newcastle to appreciate the idea of selling the Paraguayan playmaker.

Copa America: Watch Newcastle’s Almiron sets up Paraguay opener with 60-yard sprint (video)

Getty Images
Leave a comment

For the second time in as many games, Argentina has allowed it’s opponent to score the first goal. This time, it has Miguel Almiron to thank.

Starting with a dummy that lead to a more than 60-yard sprint to the end-line, Almiron showcased his top-line speed, strength, and dribbling ability as he lead Paraguay down the field in transition, eventually crossing into the middle. It was there that Olimpia’s Richard Sanchez met the cross and sliced it home to put Paraguay up 1-0 in the first half.

[READ: Transfer Rumor Roundup]

Atlanta United fans saw plenty of that blazing speed during Almiron’s two years in the U.S. If Newcastle fans get to witness this in person more this coming season, Almiron will be a fan-favorite.

 

 

Almiron’s injury short-circuits impressive Premier League start

Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Only the most myopic of MLS fans expected Miguel Almiron to head from Atlanta United to the Premier League and create with the same sort of prolificacy he did for the Five Stripes.

[ MORE: Fastest goal in PL history ]

But despite his lack of goals and assists for Newcastle United, there is no doubt that Almiron has been a game-changer for a club which could defend with anyone but lacked the electricity to attack Premier League defenses.

“He was massive for us from day one,” Benitez said. “He was giving everybody a lift with his pace, work rate, and his assists.”

Almiron, 25, scored 22 goals and added 21 assists in two seasons with Atlanta, but had yet to find the back of the goal or score a direct assist in 763 minutes with the Magpies when he suffered a presumed season-ending hamstring injury over the weekend.

But he’s also been the proverbial straw that stirs the drink for Newcastle, who has 41 points on the season.

Their record before Almiron? 6W-6D-13L

Since? 5W-2D-3L

Like Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Brendan Rodgers‘ tenures as managers of their new Premier League clubs, we should be careful to measure those numbers against weaker schedules, but throwing in Atlanta’s massive struggles post-Almiron makes for an easy if over-simplified line to draw.

Benitez verbalized what we’ve all seen: Newcastle’s best attacker prior to Almiron’s arrival was Salomon Rondon and the big Venezuelan has been more productive, and Ayoze Perez has been freed up to do what he does best as a creator.

“We signed Almiron, then Rondon was playing better, and Ayoze was playing better. Why? Because Almiron can run in behind, provide assists, and then Rondon has more time. Ayoze is the same, too.”

How will Newcastle fare without him, presumably the rest of the way? Fortunately, it’s doesn’t matter too much. Brighton, Liverpool, and Wolves will be pleased to face the Magpies without Almiron, and Benitez may go into a shell against two of the three.

Perez brings Newcastle three points closer to safety (video)

1 Comment
  • Perez scored his seventh Premier League goal of the season
  • Almiron played 78 minutes before being substituted
  • Vardy fails to score after three goals in two games
  • Newcastle up to 13th place on 38 points

Ayoze Perez scored a first half header and Newcastle’s stayed resolute against late Leicester City pressure to secure three crucial points on the road. Newcastle defeated Leicester City, 1-0, at the King Power Stadium on Friday evening, with James Maddison nullified at one end and Perez scoring the winner at the other.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

January signing Miguel Almiron was like the energizer bunny, constantly making lung-bursting dribbles forward down the wing or through the heart of the defense to help push the ball out of Newcastle’s half of the field, though he failed to score again.

With the win, Newcastle moves up to 13th place with 38 points, and may have just secured safety in the Premier League for another season. Newcastle now sits ten points above Cardiff, which is in the final place in the drop zone to head back down to relegation. For Leicester, it remains in seventh place, but it has played two more games than eighth-place Wolves. Both clubs are on 47 points in the table.

Leicester City seemed to set out to pass their way through the Newcastle defense, with Rafa Benitez‘s side sitting in a low block and inviting pressure to allow Perez and Almiron to race forward and create counter attacking chances. Newcastle came closest to scoring in the 15th minute, when Solomon Rondon absolutely smashed a curling free kick off the crossbar, before it was headed away to safety by Leicester City.

The Magpies did get on the board finally thanks to some strong dribbling work at first from Almiron. The Paraguayan tried to dribble through two Leicester City defenders before Ricardo Pereira stepped in and knocked the ball away. It fell though right to Matt Ritchie and in the 32nd minute, Ritchie’s near-post cross was flicked past Leicester City’s Kasper Schmeichel and in for a goal.

Leicester City took the game to Newcastle in the second half, but just couldn’t find its way past the Newcastle backline. Leicester City’s best chance of the match came in the 78th minute. Star forward Jamie Vardy, who had three goals in his last two games, was played through into the box and was one-on-one with Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka. However, Vardy’s looping strike went over the bar, the latest of many occasions in which Brendan Rodgers‘ side failed to execute properly in front of goal.