Newcastle might as well have not named attacking options in their line-ups for the first two games in the Premier League.
Steve Bruce has decided to stick with Miguel Almiron and Joelinton as a front two and opted to swamp the midfield and defensive areas in an attempt to stifle the opposition when they venture forward.
That hasn’t worked so far, with there being no direct link between midfield and attack, and new signing Joelinton has suffered as a result, as he barely touched the ball against Arsenal and missed a glaring opportunity against Norwich.
If the 3-1 defeat against Norwich confirmed anything, it is that there is too much responsibility on the shoulders of Almiron to create chances for his teammates and that the Paraguayan playmaker is suffering as a result.
Almiron has only averaged 0.5 key passes per game according to WhoScored and is being marked out of games by opposition teams who don’t have many other players to target in the Magpies’ squad.
This Newcastle side is crying out for an extra attacking player to help create more problems in the final third – and Allan Saint-Maximin is that player.
Bruce will be crossing his fingers that the exciting French forward will be fully fit to return and start against Tottenham after missing out against Norwich with fitness issues.
Last season, Saint-Maximin completed 4.2 dribbles per game and also averaged 2.2 shots and 1.7 key passes per game [WhoScored] – with this Newcastle team screaming out for an option that can deliver just that in the final third right now.
With a flat base midfield three in behind the forward two, Newcastle are missing one player in between who can take advantage of the spaces the opposition allows and create chances for his forwards, and with Saint-Maximin’s pace and flair on the ball, he is the perfect candidate to plug the void.
Bruce will be crossing his fingers that the 22-year-old can return to full fitness for the game against Tottenham to fill the role his team are crying out.