Miguel Almiron

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What we love about Newcastle

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This week at ProSoccerTalk we will be detailing what we love about each Premier League club competing in the 2019-20 season and next up is Newcastle.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

Each day we will release details on why who adore each team in particular as we remind ourselves just how awesome the PL is as we await its return following the suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Time to take a closer look at the Magpies.


Alan Shearer: Internationally, Shearer is clearly the most recognizable player associated with the Newcastle United name and brand. Growing up just a couple of miles from St. James Park, Shearer returned to his home in a big-money transfer from Blackburn Rovers in 1996 and starred for his hometown club for the next decade. Including his time with Southampton, where he first went professional, and Blackburn Rovers, where he won a Premier League title, Shearer scored 260 league goals and 64 assists in 441 matches. Shearer retired in 2006 with more than 400 matches played for Newcastle, and more than 200 goals, and numerous records. His 260 league goals are by far the most of any Premier League player and his 206 goals for Newcastle is also a club record mark.

Newcastle United’s Alan Shearer celebrates his goal in front of the fans (Photo by Owen Humphreys – PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)

Shearer, who has since gone on to manage the club briefly and move into television punditry on BBC’s Match of the Day, was honored with a bronze statue outside of the ground. It features the former England international in his oft-seen goal celebration, running towards the fans with his pointer finger held aloft in the sky.

DeAndre Yedlin: Just the second American-born player to play for the Toon (after Oguchi Onyewu had a loan spell in 2007), Newcastle took a chance on a young, speedy winger who was coming off a loan in 2015-2016 at arch rivals Sunderland. While things haven’t always been rosy and sunny at Newcastle for Yedlin, he’s clearly improved on the defensive and tactical side of the game, and it’s shown in U.S. Men’s National Team matches when he’s returned and been fit to play.

To date, Yedlin has made 125 league appearances for the Magpies. He’s also scored five goals, including this beauty last fall.

Miguel Almiron: Other than scoring boatloads of goals, like Alan Shearer did in his heyday, there’s nothing Newcastle fans love more than a hard-working player who happens to also possess incredible technical gifts as well. Enter Miguel Almiron. Although the Paraguayan international has struggled with his end-product, his lightning-fast runs down the channels have excited Newcastle fans since he joined the club in February 2019.

No matter what happens this season or in the future, Newcastle fans will always have his FA Cup double against West Bromwich Albion early in March.

St. James Park faithful: Through all the ups and downs, you can just about always count on the Newcastle fans showing up to support their team. Newcastle fans are considered among the most passionate around the globe, and it’s been quite a while since the club was contending for Champions League places. They’ve also had their fair share of hopes dashed, and have had to deal twice with relegation in the last 15 years. But they still fill up the 52,000-plus seat capacity at the beautifully-redesigned St. James Park.

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND – APRIL 20: Newcastle United fans display anti-racism banners during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Southampton FC at St. James Park on April 20, 2019 in Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

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

Miguel Almiron
Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images
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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.

FA Cup: Almiron stays hot, Newcastle cruise past Rochdale (video)

Photo by Serena Taylor/Newcastle United via Getty Images
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Miguel Almiron only needed 12 months to get his first Newcastle United goal out of the way, but now that he has finally done so, the former Atlanta United star can’t stop scoring.

[ MORE: Inter Milan still chasing January deal for Christian Eriksen ]

The 25-year-old Paraguay international bagged a goal for his third straight game (and fourth in his last seven) as Newcastle hammered League One side Rochdale in the two sides’ FA Cup third-round replay at James’ Park on Tuesday.

Almiron’s opportunistic strike made it 3-0 in the 26th minute and capped off an irresistible opening period from the Magpies. Sometimes you can’t buy a goal for $1 billion, while other times the opposing goalkeeper passes the ball straight to you inside the penalty area.

[ MORE: Liverpool readying for imminent return of injured players ]

Eoghan O’Connell had made it 1-0 to the home side with an own goal in the 17th minute, followed by a second from Matthew Longstaff three minutes later. Joelinton tacked on a late insurance goal to complete his side’s scoring at 4-0 in the 80th minute. The clean sheet was soiled in the 86th minute, though, as M.J. Williams grabbed a late consolation goal to ruin an otherwise perfect night on Tyneside.

Steve Bruce‘s side is through to the fourth round, where they’ll host another League One side, Oxford United, on Jan. 25.