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Martin Keown questions Steve Bruce decision during Newcastle loss to Man City

(Photo by SHAUN BOTTERILL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Newcastle United

Martin Keown questions Steve Bruce decision during Newcastle loss to Man City

Martin Keown has claimed during BBC One’s coverage of Newcastle United’s 2-0 FA Cup defeat to Manchester City that Steve Bruce was wrong to withdraw Miguel Almiron during the second half.

Toon fans were dreaming of a Cup upset and the chance to enter the last four of the FA Cup – but a silly mistake from Fabian Schar allowed Kevin De Bruyne to score a penalty, before Raheem Sterling made it two in style.

Dwight Gayle had an enormous chance to level the scores, with what seemed to be little more than a tap-in. However, the substitute skied the ball from six yards with Ederson surely beaten had Gayle hit the target.

 

Almiron was withdrawn in the 65th minute as Gayle entered the fray, and Keown suggested that Bruce was wrong to withdraw the Paraguay international – but stated the reasoning was probably to prevent injury.

“Bit surprised to see Almiron going off but Steve Bruce had an arm around his shoulder and was probably saying ‘I don’t want to risk you any longer.’ He’s one of those players who would play 24 hours if you let him,” Keown said.

(Photo by Owen Humphreys/Pool via Getty Images)

Almiron is a top, top player. Even though his stats may not suggest that he is a game-changer, he certainly has an influence on games and as every appearance passes – he is getting more physical and used to the English game.

With Premier League safety all but secured as the Toon sit on 39 points, Bruce could have afforded to keep Almiron on the pitch for the entire 90 if he wanted, even with Bournemouth coming up on Wednesday.

But Almiron had struggled for the 65 minutes he was on the field, and if Bruce wanted to shake up his attack – the South American was always likely to depart. He hardly got it wrong, but Keown’s view is also fair.

(Photo by MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

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