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Talking Tactics

Almiron can add craft to Newcastle graft

Adrian Clarke 9 Feb 2019
Miguel Almiron, Newcastle

Adrian Clarke believes Magpies new signing can excite the fans by bringing creativity to Rafa Benitez's side

Adrian Clarke looks at a key tactical battle in Matchweek 26. 

It is just as well that Newcastle United boast such a strong defence. Their rearguard has conceded the seventh-fewest goals in the Premier League.

This undoubted forte of Rafael Benitez's side has helped to offset problems further upfield, where creating chances has been a shortcoming all season.

The second-lowest scorers behind Huddersfield Town with 21 Premier League goals, Newcastle have struggled to open up defences throughout 2018/19.

Open-play chances created  Total Shots  Total
Burnley 122 Burnley 238
Brighton 137 Brighton 246
Newcastle 139 Newcastle 264
Magical Miguel

The good news, though, is that Miguel Almiron, the club's new record signing, has the potential to remedy this issue, starting with a likely debut against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Monday night.

Almiron has moved from Major League Soccer, where he helped Atlanta United win the title, and Newcastle fans have every reason to be excited about his arrival.

The 25-year-old is blessed with a quality left foot, great pace and positivity in possession.

Free role

He can operate in a free No 10 role or as a left-sided forward and excels when running at defenders and taking shots at goal.

The Paraguay international's crossing is also very strong from the left flank, which will delight striker Salomon Rondon.

Although we cannot be sure how effectively Almiron will be able to negotiate the step up in class from the United States top flight, his record in MLS was impressive.

He scored and created goals almost at will and wowed supporters with his dribbling skills and range of passing.

As the table below demonstrates, Almiron was productive as well as easy on the eye.

Almiron Total Per 90
Appearances 68 -
Goals 22 0.35
Assists 19 0.30
Shots 228 3.62
Shot conv. rate 9.7%  
Chances created 136 2.16
Open-play crosses 134 2.13
Dribbles tried 298 4.73
Dribble success 41.6%  
How does he fit in?

Benitez may have to tweak his current system to accommodate the South American.

Almiron could be used on the left of midfield within his 5-4-1 but this is not an ideal shape for a player who enjoys creative freedom.

At Molineux we may see the system tweaked to a 3-4-2-1, with the Paraguayan tucked in alongside Ayoze Perez, behind Rondon.

X-factor

This is a formation that would work better for Almiron, who likes to receive passes on the half-turn in central pockets of space, before running towards goal at speed.

If involved against Wolves, the home side will need to keep a close eye on the January signing, especially when he us shaping up to use his left foot.

Newcastle fans, meanwhile, can look forward to enjoying a spectacular and flamboyant player who has all the potential to bring a welcome dose of the X-factor to Tyneside.

Also in this series

Part 1: Chambers flourishing in new midfield role
Part 2: Set-piece variety the difference for Cherries
Part 3: Higuain and Hazard can strike at heart of City

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