Saint-Maximin's role in Bruce ball | Brief Analysis

Allan Saint-Maximin has certainly been a shining light for Newcastle this season, giving us a much needed spark in the final third.

Scoring two goals and supplying three assists in six matches, Saint-Maximin's production has been vital in ensuring Newcastle don't fall adrift in matches from defensive issues.

Rising to the occasion in the absence of Callum Wilson, Saint-Maximin has contributed to seven of our eight goals this season and earned himself man of the match against, West Ham, Southampton and Leeds United.

Although he has played the majority of his senior career as a winger, the switch to a central role from the head coach Steve Bruce has shown how versatile the Frenchman is, who frequently pops up centrally, on either flank or in the half-spaces, has tormented defences all over.

So hard to track due to his frequent interchanges of position with his fellow attackers and nearby midfielders, this casts doubt in the mind of the player that is responsible for tracking in that area.

Figure 1: Interchanging position with Willock to create space

Progressive and creative in his passing too, the Frenchman is adept at generating chances from open play. Proving his crossing class, his ability to hit driven or curling deliveries into the box while under pressure shows how seriously he takes ensuring there is an end product.

Figure 2: Crossing the ball

Saint-Maximin is already 1 assist away from equalling his personal best at NUFC. Bruce has given him the license to roam free in transitional phases and attacking phases along with been assigned creative duties in addition to his goal threat tasks, has taken well to this role.

A sharpness of reading where attacks tend to build up, this sees him floating in and around the channels where he can combine sharply in slick passing exchanges using his tidy one and two touch game and neat flicks and backheels.

Figure 3: One-two touch passing with Almiron

With his explosive pace and trickery combined with a fine appreciation for space, he

makes identifying gaps to exploit look simple with his drop shoulder dribbling

and positioning. This is best utilized during a transition or attacking

phase as he can use his turn of pace to drive the ball into dangerous areas

or dribble past two-minded defenders to create shooting opportunities.

Figure 4: Dribbling past two-minded defenders to create an opening to shoot at goal

His languid, flowing style adds to his elusiveness, which consequently places defenders in dilemmas whether to challenge and risk getting beaten or hold back and give him time and space to run at them.

Figure 5: Carrying the ball in transition before playing through Joelinton

Season heatmap so far shows that Saint-Maximin is most active in wide positions but generally pops up anywhere in the midfield/final 1/3 with minimal defensive responsibilities.

This type of role ASM plays for NUFC is comparable to the Trequartista, which by definition:

"The trequartista needs superb ball skills, a good range of passing and confidence in possession. Defensive contribution is negligible, so someone plying their trade in this role can tailor their training specifically to take-ons, dribbling, through-balls and shooting." - Sam Tighe

Source for analysis material:



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