Newcastle were well beaten by Burnley on Saturday, and it always looked a tough game for Steve Bruce’s side to get anything from, given all the injuries, but the manner of it was disappointing.
While it was known all week that Allan Saint-Maximin would miss out, it was a bitter blow to also lose the resurgent Jonjo Shelvey and Miguel Almiron, but it did give a huge opportunity for Christian Atsu to show what he can do.
But as it turned out, the only thing Atsu actually managed to do, was enhance the reputation of the absent Almiron, who has often been maligned by some fans in the past.
Supporters are all too aware of the attributes of Saint-Maximin, and not having him was always seen as a massive disappointment, with the squad not having a player capable of doing what he can do on the pitch.
Almiron, on the other hand, has had a tougher time of convincing fans of what he contributes to the team, often accused of simply running around a lot, but not producing much of anything.
Atsu and Joelinton were both very poor at Burnley
Having watched Atsu flunk his lines on one wing, and then Joelinton struggle to have any impact at all when he was also moved wide, it put Almiron’s previous performances in a different light.
Without his pace, work-rate and ability to drag defenders out of position, Newcastle had no threat at all going forward, and looked powder-puff in attack – and that is if we are being polite about it.
Having now seen Newcastle without him, maybe it is time Almiron picked up more plaudits from his performances, regardless of whether he has scored or gained an assist.
Although they are, obviously, two huge stats for a forward player, it is his constant work on the pitch, which often goes unnoticed, that was clearly missing at Turf Moor.
Almiron’s stock went up at Burnley on Saturday, and the fact that it did so while he was not even playing, says a lot about what he brings to the team when he is in it.
For his sake, and the team’s, let’s hope he is fit again for the home game against Crystal Palace next weekend, because if we have to play without both him and Saint-Maximin again, it is hard to see how we will create any chances at all.