Bruno Guimaraes – This is the anniversary of one of my very favourite Bruno moments
Source: Themag

It is now two years and a few months since Bruno Guimaraes arrived at St James' Park.

He had already impressed inn France with Lyon, as well as in domestic football back in Brazil.

Whilst he had also reached the outer edges of the Brazil national squad.

However, fair to say that for the overwhelming majority of Newcastle United fans, he was very much an unknown.

Not for the first time, Eddie Howe took it slowly and carefully with this new club record signing, even though Bruno Guimaraes arrived in the middle of a desperate relegation fight.

A number of cameos as a sub, Bruno eventually made his first away start against Southampton on 10 March 2022, scoring that outrageous backheel winner.

The way the fixture list turned out, a run of away games meant it was 8 April 2022 before the St James' Park crowd got a proper look at our midfielder. Bruno Guimaraes doing well in his first home start as United bounced back form three away defeats in a row that had brought back some relegation worries, a 1-0 home win over Wolves.

However, it was nine days later when for me, Bruno Guimaraes really arrived as a Newcastle United player and we all realised just what a special player we had.

Exactly two years ago today, Bruno Guimaraes started against Leicester City in the Premier League at St James' Park.

After falling behind, Bruno got his first ever goal thanks to VAR. The referee disallowing it when Bruno Guimaraes forced the ball home from close range, the VAR intervening though and replays showing Kasper Schmeichel had never had control of the ball.

A little bit like Saturday's hammering of Tottenham, this Leicester match two years ago today saw the away side dominate the ball (see stats below) BUT United dominate the goal threat and play in dangerous areas.

Despite that, we reached the fifth and final minute of added time, then THAT goal.

I love this goal for so many reasons.

It reminds us what a good player Matt Targett is when fully fit, so cool in defence and then plays it to Joe Willock, another player with such bad luck this season when it comes to injuries. Again though, just look at his change of pace and determination, running more than half the length of the pitch, before crossing left footed and as the ball deflects into the air, Bruno Guimaraes having ran the length of the pitch, produces a diving header to win the match!

What. A. Goal.

Bruno Guimaraes might have had better and more important matches and goals since then BUT that for me will be forvever etched in the memory.

Eddie Howe was a very happy man when the final whistle went at St James Park on that Sunday afternoon, it opened up a twelve points gap on the relegation zone.

Eddie Howe happy to admit that on the day his team had to accept a role as defending for much of the game against a team playing some very good football, only 31% possession for Newcastle United across the 90 minutes plus (very important!) added time.

As the NUFC Head Coach points out though, despite Leicester proving the more dominant team in terms of control of the match, it was Newcastle United who had more and better chances. In the entire game, Leicester only managed two efforts on target compared to seven for Newcastle, whilst overall the home side had sixteen shots in total compared to eight for the visitors.

As for the real class act in the game?

Eddie Howe saying about Bruno Guimaraes, 'The fans love him and rightly so after today's performance. He was magnificent in every discipline of the game.'

A brilliant signing by Howe and most importantly, superb man-management to look after the January 2022 signing, resisting the demand from media and many fans to throw him in straight away after signing. However, Eddie Howe instead taking the brave option of giving Bruno the time to adapt, before starting him after a number of brief cameos as a sub.

Eddie Howe reflecting on Newcastle 2 Leicester 1:

"My emotions are very high after that.

"To score so late in the game was a massive, massive lift for everyone.

"I thought Leicester had control of the game but we had the best chances and our defensive resilience in the second-half was excellent.

"We hung in there, made it difficult for them, then got rewarded for that with the counter-attack goal at the end.

"The fans love him (Bruno Guimaraes) and rightly so after today's performance.

"He was magnificent in every discipline of the game.

"I think the biggest compliment I could give him is that on 95 minutes, when with tired legs for sure, he's getting used to the Premier League, but he's managed to get himself into the box to score that header.

"The credit I can give the players today is that we accepted our role.

"That doesn't mean that we always want to accept our role as the team that didn't have the ball, but we accepted it and sort of understood at that moment, we couldn't necessarily change it.

"The danger is when you chase too much, especially as we were slightly tired with the heat and everything, you chase and you leave gaps.

"We didn't.

"We were compact, we accepted where we were and then knew that with counter-attack transitions we were going to be a huge threat.

"If you look at the stats on the game, we had by far the best chances in the match."

Stats from BBC Sport:

Newcastle 2 Leicester 1 - Sunday 17 April 2.15pm

Bruno G 30, 90+5

Possession was Leicester 69% Newcastle 31%

Total shots were Leicester 8 Newcastle 16

Shots on target were Leicester 2 Newcastle 7

Corners were Leicester 5 Newcastle 3

Referee: Jarred Gillett

Crowd: 52,104 (2,400 Leicester)

Newcastle United:

Dubravka, Krafth, Schar, Burn, Targett, Shelvey, Guimaraes, Joelinton, Almiron (Murphy 70), Saint-Maximin (Gayle 90+1), Wood (Willock 69)

Unused Subs:

Darlow, Dummett, Longstaff, Ritchie, Fernandez, Lascelles