Allan Saint-Maximin’s change of favor will trigger issues for Arsenal

Despite yet another disappointing Premier League season, Newcastle are almost certain of relegation. Better still, if they win three of their remaining five games, Steve Bruce’s team equals 45 points won in 2017/18 and 44 points in 2016/17 if they finished tenth. It couldn’t be that bad.

Another reason for optimism ahead of Sunday’s game against Arsenal is Allan Saint-Maximin’s form since returning from injury. A match-winning performance against Burnley was followed by star turns against West Ham and Liverpool, with the winger showing an extremely effective and controversial new side of his game: he actually started passing the ball.

Saint-Maximin is unique and incredibly exciting to see … but it is a tendency to dribble, even if it isn’t the best option available, like the most annoying of five teammates. No player has attempted dribbles in the past two seasons and while it occasionally takes a ton of players to stop him, Saint-Maximin often runs so far ahead of his teammates that defenders are licensed to leave their positions to give him one To show one way road from which he cannot escape.

Saint-Maximin’s ability to dribble at 100 mph is key to getting Newcastle out of defensive form. However, if he runs 70 yards to win a throw, it is just as effective as a long kick on the ball.

However, this season’s data shows not only that it is easy to see on the pitch, but also that Saint-Maximin’s game has changed slightly. His 46.7 touches per game and 20.7 passes per game in 2019/20 are now 47.7 touches and 22.81 passes with fewer dribbles. He also makes fewer shots and crosses, but that matches his chances per 90 in open play and improves from 1.54 to 1.93. For context, Bukayo Saka has created 1.01 chances per 90 this season. Saint-Maximin has slowed down from time to time and has become a more powerful offensive weapon.

Adama Traore and Christian Pulisic are the most similar in terms of style, but both created fewer chances (1.87 and 1.31, respectively) by having a lot more crosses. This is how Saint-Maximin Traore measures: