Not for the first time over the past week, I saw quite a few on social media pointing the finger at Allan Saint-Maximin after last night’s late defeat at Everton.
Granted, he didn’t make much of an impact from the bench and was similarly ineffective when coming on against Chelsea on Sunday, but some of the comments I saw on Twitter were baffling.
Here’s a few that appeared on our timeline after last night’s game:
‘Not sure we can afford to have lads who need 45 mins to ‘warm up’ into a game and are developing a habit of not tracking back/conceding possession.‘
‘We can’t afford to carry him any more’
‘If Maxi had as much enthusiasm about his football as he does Helios we might get something out of him.‘
‘He’s vastly overrated and his attitude reminds me of Sissoko who only played when he was in the mood to.’
‘So many of us now see him as a weakness, I honestly think something has been said between ASM and Howe and ASM hasn’t liked it, he is a huffy little ****** and looks like he is in a strop.‘
‘Rapidly falling out of love with Maxi. Hasn’t looked the same since he scored that goal.’
‘Can’t wait for a summer clear out. Maxi, Almiron, Murphy, Krafth and Joelinton all have to go for me.
‘Maxi couldn’t give less **** if he tried. Comes on the pitch and just gives the ball away. Peddle that moron in the summer. Total rotten attitude and pathetic performances.’
‘Think it’s time to move on from Maxi, that’s another really poor performance tonight, too much focus on him when he comes on, too many defenders have sussed him out and he has no answer!’
Twitter can be a toxic place at times, full of overreactions to defeats – especially when we’ve just gone nine games unbeaten – but some of these comments on ASM are just ridiculous.
Has he failed to make an impact over the past few games? Yes. Did he cost us the game? No. He may have lost the ball in the build up, but you can’t put Iwobi’s winner down to him when Burn dives in and the three defenders around him don’t do enough.
Howe also revealed after last night’s game that he’s trained just twice in four weeks due to him managing a calf injury and illness, meaning it’s no major surprise that he’s struggled to make an impact. This revelation also makes suggestions he’s ‘fallen out with Howe’ all the more laughable.
As for those calling for us to sell him this summer, it seems an odd suggestion when you consider all of the following:
- No Newcastle player has been involved in more goals (8) this season (5 goals and 3 assists)
- No player outside the PL’s ‘big six’ has created more chances from open play this season
- No Newcastle player has completed more dribbles
- No Premier League player has completed more dribbles!
- No Newcastle player progresses the ball up the field more than ASM
- No Premier League player carries the ball further on average per game (14.13m) than ASM
- No Newcastle player wins more fouls
- No Newcastle player creates more chances than him (2) against Everton
It’s true that he has plenty of things to work on if he wants to achieve his dreams and remain a key part of this Newcastle United project if we’re to live up to our lofty ambitions in the coming years, but those suggesting he is the problem or our weak link need to give their heads a wobble.