Allan Saint-Maximin was the star of the show as Newcastle held champions Manchester City to a 3-3 draw.
City started bright to take the lead but Saint-Maximin powered a phenomenal comeback from Newcastle, tormenting the Premier League champions with a dynamic display where he got two assists, exposed weaknesses we didn’t know were there in the Manchester City defence, broke his home assist record from last season and showed us why Eddie Howe’s side are to be taken seriously in 2022/23.
It’s not often that Erling Haaland gets outshone in a game, but it happened at St. James’ Park even though the game began with Saint-Maximin looking like he’d be subdued, as City’s class showed when they took the lead through Ilkay Gundogan ghosting in behind Haaland to score. But that goal just seemed to wake Newcastle up.
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Whether he had noticed in the first five minutes or not, what Allan Saint-Maximin soon realised was that with Kyle Walker playing inside, there would be plenty of space for him to build up a head of steam and run at City – and that’s just what he did.
Saint-Maximin tormented City. He put it on a plate for Miguel Almiron only for his team-mate to miss. But Saint-Maximin kept at it then sent in a gorgeous inswinging cross and leaving Almiron with a tap-in and this time the Paraguayan obliged.
Almiron kept going and kept turning Walker and Stones inside out. He again cut inside and this time threaded a gorgeous through-ball for Wilson who took it around the defender and scored superbly.
Allan Saint-Maximin's game by numbers vs. Man City:
100% cross accuracy
8x possession won
6 duels won
5 touches in opp. box
4 chances created
3 fouls won
2 big chances created
What a performance. 👏 pic.twitter.com/yeFIx1DtWM
— Squawka (@Squawka) August 21, 2022
That assist meant that in 45 minutes against defending Premier League champions Manchester City, Allan Saint-Maximin has registered more assists than he did in all 19 home games in the league last season. He is growing into his genius ability.
Saint-Maximin kept going in the second-half and kept driving at the heart of the City defence, inducing sheer terror and drawing a foul from John Stones. The resulting free-kick was converted by Kieran Trippier to make it 3-1. All three goals, directly created by Saint-Maximin.
In the end City roared back with goals from Erling Haaland and Bernardo Silva to draw 3-3, but Newcastle didn’t stop trying to find a winner they just ran out of a steam. But this game marked huge progress for Eddie Howe’s side.
Erling Haaland vs. Newcastle:
100% take-on success
6 touches in opp. box
5 duels won
3 shots on target
2 fouls won
1 woodwork hit
1 chance created
Keeps up his record of scoring or assisting in every Premier League game. 💪 pic.twitter.com/ACw42hCYJW
— Squawka (@Squawka) August 21, 2022
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“The future is bright for Newcastle,” said Saint-Maximin to Sky Sports after the match. “If we keep playing this level I think we can win a lot more games.” The Frenchman choosing to focus on the team first said it all about why he is so beloved on Tyneside.
When asked about his improvement, Saint-Maximin chose to defer praise to his team-mates again: “I improve a lot, the way I play. I listen a lot to my friend,” he said, gesturing to Kieran Trippier stood besides him. “He play in very good club, he play for the England national team and he help me a lot. So I just try to give my best, to try to play with my quality – to show to the world what I am capable to do.”
When asked to speak on Saint-Maximin, Newcastle skipper Trippier simply said: “He gets everybody on the edge of their seat.” A succinct and accurate summation of just how good the French winger is.
He then went even shorter, simply saying: “he’s unbelievable.”