If Allan Saint-Maximin maintains his current pace of goalscoring contributions for Newcastle United this season, then he will hopefully not only guide the club to safety, but also register his most prolific campaign for the Magpies since joining.
The 24-year-old’s perfectly weighted pass for Javier Manquillo’s brief equaliser against Manchester United at Old Trafford on Saturday was his third goalscoring contribution (one goal and two assists) in just four Premier League games.
It means he has had a direct hand in 60% of Newcastle’s five Premier League goals.
Last season, the Frenchman scored three times and laid on four goals for his teammates from 25 Premier League matches (Transfermarkt).
In his debut campaign for the Magpies, the £16.5m (Sky Sports) signing from Nice scored the same number of goals but registered five assists instead of four.
What’s changed this season for ASM?
Saint-Maximin has started this season with a greater sense of maturity and he has improved his decision-making.
He still continues to bamboozle defenders with his pace and trickery, but he’s starting to strike the balance between doing too many tricks and lifting his head up and creating a chance for a teammate.
Only Adama Traore (9.5) is averaging more dribbles per game than Saint-Maximin (5), but Newcastle star man’s ratio for creating more chances per game as a result of his dribbles (2.3) is better than Wolves’ (2.8) speed demon (WhoScored).
One area where Saint-Maximin could improve further is his ability to look across the line to ensure he stays onside.
Alongside Jamie Vardy (6), Saint-Maximin sits top of the charts for the number of times a player has been caught offside this season.
Stock and reputation rising
It was evident on Saturday that two of the league’s best defenders, Raphael Varane and Aaron Wan-Bissaka, were reluctant to jump into a tackle against Saint-Maximin.
Defenders are now aware of the threat Saint-Maximin poses, so they are either backing off completely and doubling up on him, or getting so tight that he has no space to turn into.
But Saint-Maximin is finding a way to influence matches, and if he continues to contribute at his current rate, then Steve Bruce’s side will always carry a threat and hope.