A Telegraph article suggesting Allan Saint-Maximin will be a flop if he does not score goals, is an example of why stats do not give a true picture of a player.
The article claims the enigmatic Frenchman is “more FIFA Street than FIFA 20, more Usain Bolt than Keith Gillespie, a five-a-side ringer who does step-overs but plays on the losing side”, which is unfair.
The article adds: “He resembles a footballer with tremendous potential who doesn’t quite know how to use it.”
While I agree, Saint-Maximin does need to score goals, this seems the type of article written by someone who has not watched the player every week.
Had the journalist done so, he would know the impact the winger has had on the team as a whole. He’s brought a new dimension to Steve Bruce’s side. And he would have had a goal or two already, but for some great goalkeeping.
The report then goes on to list a host of stats, including one that shows Saint-Maximin has had 10 shots – fewer shots than Harry Maguire – which is contradicted by an OPTA stat last week showing he is Premier League’s fourth best for dribbles resulting in a shot.
That OPTA stat shows 12 efforts at goal from 125 runs. That is two more that the Telegraph’s figure, so they cannot both be right.
Saint-Maximin has been far more effective than the article suggests
Saint-Maximin’s contribution has been substantial, and has changed the whole look of the Newcastle side. He has given the team an edge they did not have before. He has also given opposing defenders something to think about during games.
He was a mere Tom Heaton fingertip away from a goal at Villa Park last week, and has created space for other players, with defenders drawn to the winger, such is his threat.
But statistics do not show that. They do not show the lift the whole team, and crowd, have had since he cemented his place in the side.
Ask any journalist who has watched Newcastle all season, and saw the lack of danger we posed in the games he missed through injury, compared to those since his return.
Yes, it would be great to see him on the score-sheet every week, but as long as he keeps producing displays akin to those so far, those goals are sure to come.
I would hasten to guess there would not be many Newcastle fans who have watched him, who would look at the stats listed in the article, and call for him to be dropped for the Sheffield United game on Thursday.
Speaking personally, he simply has too much talent and ability to continue drawing a blank in front of goal. As long as he keeps putting the effort in, there is little danger of him becoming the flop the Telegraph warn of.