This comes from their latest piece which focuses on our ‘player of the season’ for 2019/20 up until now, asking fans to vote which of the four deserves the crown should the season be called off completely.
It’s no surprise to see that Martin Dubravka had received 70% of their votes so far when I last looked at the poll, but it’s interesting to see the other three players they’ve selected.
All deserve their place, with Saint-Maximin being our biggest threat most weeks and the man we’ve struggled to win without all season, Fernandez being a model of consistency and warrior at the back and Miguel Almiron our top scorer so far after adding goals to his all action displays.
The only genuine contender who may be hard done by to miss out is Ciaran Clark, with the centre-back being outstanding whenever he’s played and our unsung hero, putting his body on the line and scoring a few key goals too.
Here’s what Sky Sports have had to say about each of the four contenders chosen:
Would Newcastle have established an eight-point cushion above the drop zone without their influential goalkeeper? Dubravka has certainly been the busiest between the sticks in the Premier League so far but despite being called upon to make a league-high 117 stops, he boasts nine clean sheets – only one fewer than Alisson and Dean Henderson, who have made fewer saves between them. Vital on the pitch – a 6.84 difference in expected and actual goals conceded is the biggest margin in the league – the Slovakian has also been described by manager and team-mates as a key dressing-room voice off it.
With his mazy dribbles and dancing feet, Allan Saint-Maximin has brought thrilling chaos to a team that has been collectively low on X factor for much of the campaign. Only Wilfried Zaha and Adam Traore have attempted more dribbles than the Frenchman’s 138 – Saint-Maximin has played at least 10 games less than both – but the next step for a player who has made Geordies smile off the pitch as well as on it with his social media interaction is to up his end product.
Newcastle have exercised a one-year option to extend Federico Fernandez’s stay on Tyneside, and it’s no surprise judging by his numbers. The 31-year-old leads the way among his defensive team-mates when it comes to blocks, tackles won and headed clearances, and while he is the only Magpies defender to have played more than 20 games so far, a striking figure of 3.93 aerial clearances per 90 minutes – almost double that of his nearest rival, Paul Dummett – serves to highlight his commanding presence. Has chipped in with a couple of goals, too.
Miguel Almiron finally ended that 11-month wait for a first Premier League goal against Crystal Palace back in December but the Toon Army’s backing for the little Paraguayan never diminished as his tireless work continued. Almiron’s defensive efforts are striking – he has won more tackles (28) and wrestled back possession more times (154) than any of his peers – but Bruce’s switch to a 4-2-3-1 has allowed him to shine as creative force in the No 10 role.