Miguel Almiron

Nothing to separate Newcastle, Brighton at St. James’ Park

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A bright performance from the visitors produced nothing, as Newcastle United and Brighton played to a scoreless draw at St. James’ Park on Saturday.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Brighton had more than 70 percent of the ball and an advantage in shots, but couldn’t get a goal over the line. Newcastle only arrived late after the introduction of Allan Saint-Maximin and Andy Carroll, and would not truly challenge Mathew Ryan.

The Seagulls rise 15th with six points, two spots and one point ahead of the hosts.


Three things we learned

1. Relegation candidates for sure: Both Graham Potter and Steve Bruce are new managers of their sides, but neither looks much better than their predecessor. Maybe Brighton is on a slightly better trajectory than the Gulls side that survived by two points last season, but the Magpies looked very poor over two formations in the first half. Maybe that’s a symptom of the sick, but a winner of this game might’ve ended up pointing to the points as what kept it up come May.

2. Brighton cannot capitalize vs. awful Newcastle midfield: The match was screaming out for Glenn Murray as Brighton was the brighter side but oh-so-wasteful in the 18. The Seagulls press befuddled Newcastle’s midfield and kept the back line on edge, but every chance was wasted.

There was a gulf between the Magpies’ back line and center forward Joelinton, who himself struggled to assert himself on the game. It’s telling that Steve Bruce’s 73rd minute subs were Allan Saint-Maximin and Ki Sung-yeung for Miguel Almiron and Jonjo Shelvey, as the Magpies had little possession and less threat.

3. Carroll back in black (and white): Hometown hero Andy Carroll last played for the Magpies in a Premier League game on Dec. 29, 2010, against Spurs before being sold to Liverpool for a massive fee. The oft-injured but powerful striker came on for the final 10 minutes to a rousing “One of our own” chant from St. James’ Park, and cued Allan Saint-Maximin up for a chance during his cameo.

Man of the Match: Schar — It just has to be. Martin Dubravka was beaten by Neal Maupay, but his dink could not cross the goal line before Schar leapt to clobber the ball to safety with an overhead clearance. What a play, and indicative of how often the Swiss centerpiece has saved Newcastle at either end of the pitch over the last two years.


 [ MORE: Premier League stats ]

Martin Dubravka was tasked with making the match’s first save after Pascal Gross blazed down the right and toward the six-yard box.

Almiron came close to getting his first goal with a well-timed run and shot which was saved by Mat Ryan in the 22nd minute.

The Magpies’ season record of wobbly starts continued, and Dubravka and Jamaal Lascelles needed to make borderline heroic plays to keep it 0-0 by the half-hour mark.

Joelinton came very close to nodding a corner kick home as Lewis Dunk forgot to mark the Brazilian. His free header just missed the far post.

Steven Alzate had the ball in the back of the goal, as Newcastle was at sixes and sevens at the back, but was offside in the 34th.

The Magpies were booed off the pitch at halftime, and started brightly with a 46th minute shot punched wide by Christian Atsu.

Almiron made a delightful turn on the right side before dribbling into the 18 for a low shot saved by Ryan. Closer, but still not enough. The ex-Atlanta United man two more extremely bad giveaways on the day, and isn’t offering too much hope.

Report: Newcastle United tracking Atlanta United’s Martinez

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A report out of Newcastle says the Magpies may be returning to Atlanta United’s ranks for a January transfer swoop.

MLS record goal scorer Josef Martinez is the name mentioned as among Newcastle’s targets, though journalist Lee Ryder says there may be trepidation given Miguel Almiron’s failure to find goals at St. James’ Park.

[ MORE: Hex watch sees Canada move closer ]

Martinez, 26, scored twice more Wednesday evening for the Five Stripes, including a sensational solo goal. He has scored in 15-straight league matches and is five goals away from matching his MLS single season record set last season.

Atlanta signed Martinez through the 2023 season. Transfermarkt puts his market value around $11 million, comparing him with players like Jurgen Locadia, Yoshinori Muto, and Manolo Gabbiadini.

Newcastle broke its transfer record to land Almiron last season, then smashed it sign Joelinton from Hoffenheim in August. The Magpies have also splashed cash on Allan Saint-Maximin and there’s a clear focus on upgrading the attack.

Maybe the Magpies would view the move as a bargain which could help Almiron get back to his form of last season, but it seems there would be numerous hurdles to clear before a firm bid would be made for Martinez. If Saint-Maximin or Almiron finds form, would there be room for Martinez running underneath Joelinton? Or maybe we’re wrong and Mike Ashley is ready to spend to provide adequate depth?

Lots of questions here.

Almiron gets first Paraguay goal to snap long drought

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Newcastle United winger Miguel Almiron isn’t used to waiting this long between goals.

The Paraguayan has found scoring difficult since leaving Atlanta United, despite some bright displays for the Magpies in the Premier League last season (He has not been dangerous early in this campaign).

[ MORE: Spurs’ Lo Celso injured ]

Almiron’s 22nd cap finally found him on the score sheet, as he nodded at the back post against Jordan on Tuesday. It was his first goal in a national team shirt.

The 25-year-old scored in the MLS Cup Playoffs quarterfinal second leg against NYCFC, but was held off the score sheet in his final three matches as the Five Stripes won the MLS Cup.

He hadn’t scored in 14 matches for Newcastle, and another nine scoreless caps with Paraguay.

Remember: This was after scoring 22 times in 70 games for Atlanta.

Bruce talks struggles of Almiron at Newcastle

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Miguel Almiron has been very poor for Newcastle United this season.

His manager knows this, but Steve Bruce isn’t yet worried after the Paraguayan struggled mightily again and Newcastle drew Watford 1-1 at St. James’ Park on Saturday.

[ RECAP: Newcastle 1-1 Watford ]

“Well look, he’s a delight work with day in and day out,” Bruce said. “Hopefully when he gets one, he’ll get off and running because the two big chances fell to him today, but his work-rate and his appetite and his energy, and he’s a good footballer, the kid.”

Almiron flubbed a trap in a point-blank scoring position early in the draw, and made more buzz for his play-acting than his production.

He is working hard and chipping in defensively, but that’s not supposed to be the focus of Almiron’s game.Over four matches, the 25-year-old ex-Atlanta United star isn’t just failing the eye test, he has some of the worst stats on the team.

Bruce just wants a bit of luck for his embattled big money signing.

From The Chronicle:

“As I said, he might need just one to come off his backside and get up and running, and we sincerely hope so,” Almiron said. “But we had two big opportunities and didn’t quite take them.”

The jump from MLS to Premier League was always going to be difficult, but this isn’t quite that; Remember: Almiron was very good last season even if he failed to find the score sheet.

And while Rafa Benitez is clearly going to bring more to a player’s tactical development than Steve Bruce, the new boss has been moving Almiron around and trying to find something to get him firing on more cylinders. It’s coming, but it sure hasn’t been easy to watch the journey.

We’re on minute 1,123 and counting with no goals and no assists.

Newcastle splits spoils with Watford

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Newcastle United overcame a second minute concession to draw wasteful Watford 1-1 at St. James’ Park on Saturday.

Will Hughes had Watford ahead, but Fabian Schar leveled the score line and both squads had to be bailed out by goalkeepers.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Watford remains dead last with just one point through four matches, while Newcastle climbs out of the drop zone.


Four things

  1. Bruce’s men wobble early (again) — For as many redemption songs were sung about Steve Bruce following the sturdy defeat of Spurs, his team again came out of the gates as if they thought the darn things were locked. Terribly sloppy, they conceded after 90 seconds and were lucky not to be down 2 or 3 by the time they equalized. Credit Bruce for the tactical changes that swung the tide, but a poor start.
  2. Hughes rewarded again — The former Derby County prodigy has been the bright spot of Watford’s poor start to the season, and got his first goal of the season. Also of note: His wayward blonde beard. You do you, Will.
  3. Joelinton a menace — You can see why Newcastle was tempted to break the bank for big Brazilian striker Joelinton, who scored in the win over Spurs and works harder than your typical center forward. Magpies supporters would probably trade a little bit of industry for classier control and finish, but hopefully that will come to the hopeful star. Given Newcastle’s formation, Joelinton may end up being the most fouled player in the Premier League (if they are whistled).
  4. Almiron still struggling — There was more flair from Miguel Almiron, deployed in a more natural wide position, but he was again offside multiple times from a wide position, wasteful in dangerous attacking positions, and probably should’ve seen at least one yellow card for diving. Shades of his promising second half of 2018-19.

Man of the Match: Joelinton


Newcastle was down within 90 seconds of kickoff, Hughes played through with acres of space defy Martin Dubravka. 1-0.

Atsu found Miguel Almiron for a potential equalizer in the fourth minute, but the ex-Atlanta United man butchered his stomach settle and bounded it right to the keeper.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

The Magpies very much grew into the game from that point, with Isaac Hayden particularly influential and dangerous. His 59th minute rip was parried out for a corner by Ben Foster.

Watford was content to counter in the final half hour, and Dubravka made a terrific intervention to deny Isaac Success but conceded a corner.

Yoshinori Muto was played through by Joelinton after a fine tackle by the forward, but the Japanese striker could not find his angle.