The Paraguay international is still yet to find the back of the net for Steve Bruce’s side since his January transfer, yet Nicholas remains a fan. Indeed, he expects the 25-year-old to help Newcastle to a 1-1 draw with Burnley on Saturday.
“I suggested that Steve Bruce was ahead of Rafael Benitez with the job he has been doing, which people argued by saying Rafa did a great job,” he wrote on the Sky Sports website. “I never said he didn’t, but Bruce has been getting these guys going. Allan Saint-Maximin’s injury will be a big blow and they are still going to be in a relegation scrap in my opinion.
“Bruce knows how to set these teams up, he knows how to tighten defensively, but he had to keep Miguel Almiron in the team – he gives something to the team. I can’t separate them and Newcastle will get something again.”
Almiron does give Newcastle an extra directness that nobody other than Allan Saint-Maximin really possesses. The statistics from this season demonstrate that much. As per WhoScored.com, the Paraguayan is averaging 1.6 shots and 1.2 successful dribbles this season. He’s not done a whole lot with all his shots – no goals for the club speaks to that – but his dribbles do help the team. He could still embark on more, though, given his lightning pace. Saint-Maximin’s loss is definitely going to be a major negative for Bruce’s team, as Nicholas says. The former Nice man has been spectacular in recent weeks and has been key to the Magpies’ upswing in form. However, he looks like he’s going to be out for a little bit, so it’s going to be up to Almiron to really step up and assert himself as a dominant player for Newcastle. The Burnley game will be a tough one, though, and Bruce would probably be happy enough with a point away from home.