Soccer / nufc
NUFC - Miguel Almiron With VAR Can Fire Newcastle To The Stars
Newcastle United finally broke their long-standing transfer record in the January window shelling out north of £20M for MSL rising star Paraguayan international Miguel Almiron. Almiron, 25, is a left-sided attacking playmaker with speed to burn, tricks to dazzle and flair and creativity in as much abundance as his super energy and metronomic workrate. News of his pending arrival at St. James' Park broke just before Newcastle beat the Man City side that became Champions and gave the supporters and club a timely boost. Finally making his debut away to Wolves as a second-half substitute two weeks later, he showed in a 20-minute cameo that he would have the mettle to withstand the hardy challenges of the Premier League and with his skills and pace, would make an impact. "Wor Almiron Quiero Contar Contigo" - "I want to count with you" - a saying in Paraguay that means "I want to rely on you." And what an impact Almiron made on his full NUFC debut against Huddersfield at St. James' Park on Saturday, February 23rd in front of a flag at The Gallowgate in his honour - a game that will be best remembered not for the sumptuous 12th minute chip that came off a post but for his second electric attack which saw an opposition player - Tommy Smith - sent off in a Premier League game for the first time in five years & 155 matches. Newcastle went onto win the game and, mainly as a result of the man advantage, created 29 chances, the most by the home side since a game against Swansea City in 2012, a trend that would continue for the rest of the season as Almiron & NUFC flourished. Before Almiron's debut, Newcastle were 15th in the table with 24 pts having amassed just 0.96 pts per game in the opening 25 matches of the season while in Almiron's nine starts, Newcastle won five, drew one and lost three gaining 16 points, an average of 1.7 points per game which extrapolated over a 38-game full season, would be a 68 point season that in the 2018/9 season would have put Newcastle 6th in the final table. This Premier League table based on matches since Almiron's debut show that Newcastle became the 9th best team in England after his arrival from the 5th worst before he came: Critics of the Paraguayan - a small collection of embittered Sunderland fans on Twitter and, oddly, outspoken BBC 'Pundit' Danny Mills - have pointed out the fact that Almiron has yet to score a goal for Newcastle and tried to put a negative spin on his signing. Yet having plucked the modern NUFC Sword from the Stone and actually got an opponent dismissed against Newcastle, Almiron has gone one better and has electrified The Magpies as an attacking force as part of 'The Three Amigos' with Salomon Rondon and Ayoze Perez, who has been a revelation in the second half of the season & with more attacking licence, the trio have made Newcastle once more an attractive side to watch. Even after Almiron pulled up with a hamstring injury against Southampton, the injection of momentum he brought to The Magpies since his arrival was carried on in the final three games he missed and a further four points was added by his Newcastle teammates. Rafa Benitez hailed Almiron's impact as 'massive' since his arrival on Tyneside: “He was massive for us from day one. He was giving everybody a lift with his pace, workrate, and his assists... "We signed Almiron, then Rondon was playing better, and Ayoze was playing better. Why? Because Almiron can run in behind, provide assists, and then Rondon has more time. Ayoze is the same, too." Almiron also has two under-the-radar assists, one for being fouled against Bournemouth after a 60-yard run leading to this free-kick that Rondon dispatched with perfection and the second, a 30-yard rasping drive against Everton too hot for Jordan Pickford to handle. Having had a crash-course in Premier League life since arriving in January, Almiron has showed glimpses of real quality and even made it in into one Premier League observer's Unsung Team of the Year - Sachin Nakrani of The Guardian, who wrote: "Wide left: Miguel Almirón (Newcastle) The Paraguayan has done well for Newcastle since arriving from Atlanta United for a club record fee of £21m, bringing energy and creativity to their attack, and it was a shame for all concerned that a hamstring injury brought his campaign to a premature end. Almirón has also provided Newcastle supporters with something important on a broader level - hope. Hope of a more ambitious future and hope that Rafael Benítez, feeling he has the required backing of Mike Ashley, will ultimately remain as manager." There seems so much more to come from Almiron when fully acclimatised to England. Moreover, having not scored a first goal for Newcastle, he will be raring to go and do that in a black and white shirt when he returns from Copa America duty for the new season. Especially with the introduction of VAR in the Premier League next season, having a rapier fast attacker in the line-up will terrorise top flight defences who won't get away with their treatment of Newcastle players any more meaning the best is yet to come for NUFC. The sky is the limit for Almiron and Newcastle in the brave new world of VAR 2019/20...
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