With two games already played and every Premier League side having participated in two outings with the exception of Liverpool and Crystal Palace, Newcastle is still sitting fifth and into continental football qualification places only behind two behemoths (Manchester City and Arsenal) with six points and five more tied at four points with the Magpies.
Here are your Top-3 Magpies from the Premier League’s third week of action.
If you went to sleep last Saturday only to wake up on Monday morning, you might have felt like you’re still dreaming or suffering delirium tremens. That’s because you’d have woken up to a wave of articles speaking more than highly about oft-criticized ASM, the French genius poised to get a two-way ticket to Qatar next November as part of his nation’s World Cup contingent. We’ll have to wait to see if that ends being the case, but one thing is very real: Sunday’s Saint-Maximin was the best version we’ve seen of the young man since he arrived on Tyneside a few years back—and there’s no arguing about that.
I’ve seen it all from pundits calling him the GOAT to some even going the distance and labeling him a proverbial Ballon D’Or candidate—only if he could keep up this torrid performing levels for more than a week’s (or even game’s) time. That’s the truth, in all honesty. But would it even be reasonable for the likes of Messi in his heyday to keep up a performance like ASM’s on a game-to-game basis? Hard it’d be, at the very least. ASM drove Kyle Walker crazy, completed 62% of his passes and five-of-six dribbles through the game against Manchester City no less, dished out a couple of assists (in other words: two big chances created) while contributing four key passes, and stayed the full 90 minutes on the pitch. From ASM to MVP. See it to believe it.
Red card or not, Tripps was an absolute delight to watch on Sunday because he did it all right. Tackling included. Trippier spent more time on the opponent’s half than in Newcastle’s, ran the sideline with gusto, finished the day pulling off the feat of intercepting one ball while clearing two balls and blocking two more shots, and he only got dribbled past his position once through 90 minutes of playing time.
It was a close call between Tripps and Joelinton, but scoring a banger from a free-kick did it for me and put the wing-back over the center-midfielder in this list. That is, of course, because I needed to include Nick Pope (read below). Other than that, Joelinton would have gotten this Seahorse Award after having a fantastic three-interception, three-tackle game hard to have any weekend of the season, let alone against the likes of City.
Not a lot to say here—once more. Pope is already the signing of the season and we’re less than one month into it and yet to reach September. Eddie Howe could have opted not to pony up some cash on a fresh keeper while leaving Martin Dubravka under the goalposts—and that would have probably been something that nobody would have gotten too mad about—but he had a clear vision in his mind and went for it without hesitation. Worse times will surely come, but so far so good for both Howe and his man in gloves Pope.
The former-Burnley shot-stopper blocked Haaland from bagging a good bunch of goals, stopped seven shots on goal, went out of his confines twice, and both times he succeeded at clearing the ball, and the couple of crosses he claimed in the air he got to grab. There were astonishing saves from Pope on Sunday and they were, as has been the case for the three games already played, key stops for Newcastle to end the day sleeping undefeated for at least another week. Keep it going, Nick.
On to play away at Tranmere tomorrow (Wednesday, Aug. 24) to conquer the second round of the EFL Cup.
Howay the Lads!