This afternoon, Miguel Almiron scored his first goal for Newcastle United since he signed for the club almost a year ago. The goal came late on in the match as United beat Crystal Palace 1-0 at St James’ Park.
The lack of goals for Newcastle’s front three, Almiron in particular, has been a major talking point on Tyneside for months now. Most everyone has been united in the belief that Miggy has been fantastic in all but one department – finishing.
His work rate off the ball, his constant direct running at defenders and his ability to turn defence into attack have all been pivotal to the way Newcastle like to play since his arrival at the start of the year. Ever since his home debut against Huddersfield last year, hopes have been high for Almiron.
In that game back in February, he had numerous chances to score – most notably when he ran through on goal and lobbed the Huddersfield keeper sublimely, only to see his effort cannon back off the post. That form continued throughout the rest of his debut season in England – he just could not find hit the back of the net.
This season, Miggy has been forced to play a different role having been moved out onto the right wing – a position he’s never played before. His defensive work and covering runs have been nothing short of outstanding in every game, but his woes in front of goal have continued.
In recent weeks, the signs that a goal has been coming were there as he bagged a nice goal for Paraguay, before notching his first assist for United in their draw against Manchester City a few weeks back. Then, this afternoon, the moment we’ve all been waiting for finally arrived.
Deep into the game, neither side had been able to find a way through their opponent and to be honest, Palace looked the more likely side to score. Then, in the 83rd minute, a cross came in from the right wing, Andy Carroll headed it back toward the penalty spot where Almiron was waiting to slam the ball home – sending St James’ Park into utter pandemonium.
The cheers around the stadium were incredible. The mixture between sheer joy, unbridled joy and then just utter relief was clearly audible. It’s not an exaggeration to say that there was a lot of emotion among the fans – I’d wager there were even one or two tears. Here’s what Steve Bruce had to say about the game:
“I think the crowd showed their appreciation for Miguel Almiron. I hadn’t heard anything like it,” Bruce said. “When he came to the club in January he lifted the place with his pace, trickery and skills. Unfortunately he hadn’t managed a goal but today he got it and we’re all delighted for him.
“It was a difficult chance, coming from behind him, he managed to smash it into the net. My goalkeeper made a few saves but I don’t think anyone can deny that Almiron deserved the winner. He’s a great pro, he works really hard, and when they work hard like that they deserve all the success they find.
At the end of the day, this is a moment we’ve been waiting for, for what feels like a lifetime. Now that he finally has that monkey off his back, he should be able to push on and contribute more often to the goal-scoring for Steve Bruce’s United side.
Stats taken from TransferMarkt.