In the most Newcastle United way possible, we followed up the huge disappointment of our last home game with our best performance of the season against Burnley!
Allan-Saint Maximin put us ahead with just 14 minutes on the clock as we headed into the interval with a 1-0 lead. Burnley then improved drastically in the second half, pulling level with an Ashley Westwood strike, but the team in black and white fought back.
Allan-Saint Maximin was again involved in our second goal, blistering past Charlie Taylor to perfectly set up Wilson to restore our lead.
Just 12 minutes later, the introduction of Fraser caused an immediate impact as he drew a penalty from Pope, which just like last week, was duly converted by our new number 13.
The result and overall performance were hugely impressive. We review the match to select our Top 5 positives to take from the win!
#1. Top Six Mags
There’s no real explanation needed for this point, Newcastle United are 6th in the Premier League!
With a recent aura of negativity dawning over Tyneside, this win carries huge importance in more ways than one.
With the disappointing nature of our recent performances, Steve Bruce has rightly come under criticism, while his responses have ignited a sense of aggravation amongst our fans. If we left St James’ Park empty handed against Burnley, there is no doubt this relationship would have become somewhat toxic.
Fortunately for everyone involved with the club, the lads in black and white put in a solid performance, and smiles can begin to appear on our faces once again!
Of course the 3 points are always welcome after a Premier League game, but picking up a morale boosting win before an international break adds an extra layer of gloss to the victory. The difficult run of fixtures upcoming for Newcastle; Manchester United (H), Wolves (A), Everton (H) further underline the importance of yesterdays result.
Add a winnable Quarter Final tie against Brentford to the mix, and there are plenty of causes for optimism this season!
#2. Saint-Maximin back to his best
There is no doubt that Allan Saint-Maximin is the most talented player at Newcastle United. Of course, there have been question marks raised about his consistency and end product but the 23 year old is one of the most dangerous wingers in world football on his day.
It just so happened that Saturday 3rd October was a day the Frenchman was in the mood. Ending the match with 1 goal, 1 assist, 2 chances created, and 5 fouls drawn, the Frenchman deservedly collected the Man of the Match award for his dazzling display.
I am pretty sure the Burnley backline will be seeing Saint-Maximin in their nightmares tonight, while one of the most frightening aspects about the wingers display was the fact he is clearly not still 100% fit!
#3. Wilson the Goal Machine
It was clear the acquisition of Callum Wilson would fill a gaping void upfront for us, but his return so far this season has already seriously outweighed my personal expectations of him.
Netting 4 times in 4 games, the number 13 has wasted no time getting up to full speed in the North East. Now we are not getting carried away, but I am pretty certain he will be picking up the golden boot at the end of the season!
#4. Heads don’t drop
Winning football matches is arguably about mentality as much as it is about talent.
Rewind your mind back to our painful last home match against Brighton, in which we were effectively dead and buried by the 7th minute. The body language of players in black and white reflected a team devoid of ideas, motivation, and fighting spirit following the Seagulls second of the game.
With this memory fresh in the mind, you are surely lying to yourself if you didn’t fear the worst when Westwood pulled Burnley level in the 61st minute. A justified goal for the away team following their much improved second half performance, the momentum of the game shifted.
Importantly the heads among that Newcastle United team did not drop.
Just 4 minutes later our lead had been restored thanks to yet another brilliant piece of play by Saint-Maximin, and the natural striking instincts of Wilson.
The attitude of the players was a huge positive, and will be desperately needed throughout the rest of our 2020/21 campaign.
#5. Avoiding the curse on English Goalkeepers
The performances of the English goalkeepers this weekend must have given Gareth Southgate an uncomfortable headache. It was a running theme throughout the matchday that English keepers were having howlers.
Little arms Jordan Pickford has become quite accustomed to these blunders in recent times, adding to the confusion over how he is still England’s number one, while Nick Pope also had some unnerving moments in goal at St James’ Park. Constantly struggling with the pressure applied by Wilson, he was also at fault for our 3rd goal as he brought down Ryan Fraser in the box.
Thankfully Karl Darlow seemed to have avoided the curse as he continues to excel in Dubravka’s absence. Gareth Southgate, take note.
There were also further positives to take from the game, with a newfound emphasis on pressing Burnley high. This is something we have been crying out for, and was a clear threat forcing the Burnley defence into multiple errors throughout the match.
A note must also go to the performance of Emil Krafth. The Swedish international has had a tough start to life in the North East, but a year on since joining the club, appears to be much more settled. I was quietly impressed with his display against a very psychical Burnley side, with our options at right back now appearing much more favourable.
Up next is a visit from Manchester United, which follows the international break (Damn you) on 17th October.
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