Anthony Gordon hamstring ‘scare’ as Newcastle United new signing eyes start versus Bournemouth - Q&A

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Newcastle United extended their unbeaten Premier League run to 16 matches but were held to a frustrating 1-1 draw against West Ham United.

Here, our writer Jordan Cronin discusses the main talking points from St James’ Park - including Allan Saint-Maximin’s divided performance and Antony Gordon’s debut.

A Carabao Cup semi-final hangover?

After the Lord Mayor’s Show springs to mind.

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Newcastle picked up their biggest result of the campaign on Tuesday to progress into the Carabao Cup final, and that perhaps took a little bit out of the players. Bar the opening three minutes - where United saw Joe Willock’s goal disallowed before Callum Wilson’s strike stood - and possibly the final 20 minutes, performance levels weren’t quite there against West Ham.

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There’s always a disappointment when Newcastle drop points at St James’ Park, but that in itself is a sign of how far the club has come over the last 12 months. It’s 16 games unbeaten, or one win in five - whatever way you want to look at it.

Take a point and move on.

Positive night for Callum Wilson?

Yes, because he ended his 10-match goal drought. But disappointingly, he missed two excellent second half chances to win the game. Nevertheless, it puts Wilson back in a positive mindset just in time for the visit to his former club next week.

You’d back him to go on some kind of run now.

Newcastle United player ratings from the 1-1 draw against West Ham United.  (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)Newcastle United player ratings from the 1-1 draw against West Ham United.  (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)
Newcastle United player ratings from the 1-1 draw against West Ham United. (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images) | Getty Images

How much did Newcastle miss Bruno Guimaraes?

It isn’t a question of if Newcastle missed Bruno, it’s how much. And they did, massively. I don’t particularly think Sean Longstaff or Joelinton played badly in the sitting midfield role, but they simply aren’t Bruno.

Although Longstaff played a sublime ball through for Wilson’s opener, Newcastle became fairly predictable. Kieran Trippier and Miguel Almiron would try and combine on the right side. If that option wasn’t on, the ball would come into the midfielders and they didn’t possess Bruno’s creative eye.

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Are United, in many ways, a one-man team? Such a statement is probably harsh but they need to find ways to start winning without their Brazilian star. In the four games Bruno has missed the season, Howe’s men have failed to win.

Thoughts on Allan Saint-Maximin’s display?

This is a really difficult one because I can see it from two sides. The first side is this was Saint-Maximin’s first Premier League start since August, so is understandably a little rusty and short of match sharpness.

Newcastle United winger Allan Saint-Maximin. (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)Newcastle United winger Allan Saint-Maximin. (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)
Newcastle United winger Allan Saint-Maximin. (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images) | AFP via Getty Images

But the other part of me is wondering if Newcastle’s style of play under Howe does not suit the Frenchman. Saint-Maximin is a maverick, a ‘luxury player’ and I think he has to sacrifice a lot of his game to fit in.

If there’s one thing you can’t fault about Saint-Maximin yesterday, it was his work rate. There were a few occasions where he successfully tracked back but he’s judged on his product in the final third, and it wasn’t quite there versus West Ham.

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If social media is anything to go by then fans are keen to see Anthony Gordon start ahead of Saint-Maximin at Bournemouth but for all he’s done for the football club, I think he deserves some patience and backing. That said, it’s vital he makes an impression next week and Liverpool the week after.

I’ll reserve judgement until then.

What about Anthony Gordon’s impressive cameo?

Newcastle United's English midfielder Anthony Gordon reacts at the end of the English Premier League football match between Newcastle United and West Ham United at St James' Park in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, north east England on February 4, 2023. (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)Newcastle United's English midfielder Anthony Gordon reacts at the end of the English Premier League football match between Newcastle United and West Ham United at St James' Park in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, north east England on February 4, 2023. (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)
Newcastle United's English midfielder Anthony Gordon reacts at the end of the English Premier League football match between Newcastle United and West Ham United at St James' Park in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, north east England on February 4, 2023. (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)

It was very positive, wasn’t it? Gordon arguably produced more in 20 minutes than wingers Saint-Maximin and Miguel Almiron did all evening. I loved his energy from the first time he touched the ball. The little give-and-goes, his forward-thinking and directness were most impressive. He should have had an assist too if it weren’t for Nayef Aguerd’s last-ditch challenge on Wilson.

But at one point, I was worried the 21-year-old had sustained a hamstring injury when he reached down to touch it before limping slightly. It didn’t go unnoticed by Jamaal Lascelles either, who was warming up on the sideline, but Gordon gave the United skipper the thumbs up and continued without any further ill effects.

The 21-year-old will hopefully benefit from a full week’s training and could well force himself into contention to start against the Vitality Stadium on Saturday evening (kick-off 5:30pm).

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