Despite the performance, Newcastle still missed Saint-Maximin vs West Ham
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Despite the performance, Newcastle still missed Saint-Maximin vs West Ham

Allan Saint-Maximin missed Newcastle United’s 1-1 draw with West Ham on Saturday due to injury.

It was a shock to see the Frenchman not in the starting XI, and had fans worrying about the game ahead. With Kieran Trippier and Callum Wilson out, the ASM absence meant our three star players were missing.

But the Magpies rallied, and produced another wonderful performance in the capital. Newcastle dominated West Ham at times in the first half, retaining possession and limiting their chances on the break.

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We were less productive in the second half, but defended well enough to get the point our performance deserved. It moved us onto 22 points from 24 games, and brings us even closer to some of the teams above us.

If we beat Brentford next week and results go our way, Eddie Howe’s side could be as high as 14th. We haven’t been that far up the table all season.

While we played brilliantly at the London Stadium, fans will be praying Saint-Maximin is back to face the Bees.

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Newcastle lacked invention in attack amid Saint-Maximin injury

Jacob Murphy took Saint-Maximin’s place on the left wing against West Ham, and performed well for about an hour. But he faded in the second half, and was clearly sapped of all energy as the final whistle edged closer.

The Saint-Maximin replacement caused plenty of problems in the opening 45 minutes, driving at Ryan Fredericks and giving him a torrid time.

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However, there was a clear lack of zip in Newcastle’s attack at times on Saturday. For all our possession, we failed to carve out big chances or get the ball into more dangerous areas. We weren’t much of a threat on the counter either, with slow buildup allowing West Ham to get back in their shape.

And this was down to Saint-Maximin’s absence.

The 24-year-old is a player you can give the ball to in tight areas and he’ll make something happen. He injects pace into the side, and drives at defences. His unpredictability makes him a nightmare to defend against and creates openings and opportunities.

Newcastle did incredibly well without Saint-Maximin, but he was still a huge miss. Hopefully he’s back in time to face Brentford, and he can help extend our unbeaten run to seven.