The only real positive when Ciaran Clark arrived at St James Park, appeared to be that it really annoyed Aston Villa fans.
The Villa supporters getting a bit upset as the defender declared he had joined a much bigger club, something always guaranteed to get supporters riled.
Lascelles and Mbemba had finished the Premier League season well, with Newcastle unbeaten in their last six matches, so they looked certain to be first choice.
With Grant Hanley signed and Paul Dummett also able to play in the middle as cover, Newcastle looked well served, so Ciaran Clark looked set to sit most of the season out, with only a rash of injuries likely to see him involved much in the Championship.
Nevertheless, once he got his chance Ciaran Clark has been outstanding, easily Newcastle’s best defender all season and by some distance, also the player of the season.
Even if some supporters were undecided, then surely in his recent absence we have all seen proof of what a great influence Ciaran Clark is when playing.
I honestly think that if Clark had been in the team, then Newcastle would have been comfortably promoted by now.
Just look at these stats of when he has and hasn’t played this season:
Ciaran Clark has started 32 Championship games so far, in those matches it has been 22 wins, 5 draws and 5 losses.
In 11 Championship games he has missed, it has been 4 wins, 2 draws and 5 defeats.
Collecting 71 out of a possible 96 points with Clark, it works out at 2.22 points per game, which over a 46 match season would equal a total of 102 points.
Collecting 13 out of a possible 33 points without Clark, it works out at 1.18 points per game, which over a 46 match season would equal a total of 54 points.
So basically, the difference between going up as Champions and being just above the relegation zone over the course of a season.
Rafa Benitez said before the Leeds match that Ciaran Clark was ‘very close’ to joining in with full training once again, let’s hope on Monday he is ‘very close’ to playing against Preston.
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