Strange now to think that Jamaal Lascelles didn’t start the season as first choice at centre-back.

His form in the second half of last season was average at best, with the player only revealing after promotion was achieved, that he had played through the pain barrier and actually needed an operation.

Jamaal Lascelles then had injury issues that partly affected the pre-season preparations and with Florian Lejeune and Ciaran Clark impressing together in the friendlies, there were no real complaints amongst the fans when that pair started and Lascelles found himself on the bench.

However, with only seven minutes gone of that Spurs game, Paul Dummett was injured, Clark going to left-back and the captain going into the centre of defence. An injury to Lejeune then confirmed Lascelles would be back alongside Ciaran Clark for the upcoming matches.

Jamaal Lascelles was in the team when Newcastle picked up all four wins so far this season, in fact he has started all of the games where NUFC have picked up points, apart from the 2-2 draw at West Brom after Newcastle gifted a two goal lead with shocking defending…

These are the games that Jamaal Lascelles has started this season:

Arsenal 1 Newcastle 0

Newcastle 0 Everton 1

Newcastle 0 Bournemouth 1

Burnley 1 Newcastle 0

Newcastle 1 Crystal Palace 0

Southampton 2 Newcastle 2

Newcastle 1 Liverpool 1

Brighton 1 Newcastle 0

Newcastle 2 Stoke 1

Swansea 0 Newcastle 1

Newcastle 3 West Ham 0

Huddersfield 1 Newcastle 0

(Came on as a sub in Newcastle 0 Tottenham 2, the score staying until Shelvey’s red card)

Games where Jamaal Lascelles hasn’t been involved:

Newcastle 2 Leicester 3

Chelsea 3 Newcastle 1

Man Utd 4 Newcastle 1

West Brom 2 Newcastle 2

Newcastle 0 Watford 3

It is very hard to get away from the fact that in the 12 matches Lascelles started, Newcastle conceded 10 goals. Then in the 5 that he missed, NUFC leaked 15 – going from averaging less than one a game to three a game.

Especially striking that in the 12 starts, only Southampton saw more than one conceded and that was only because when Newcastle were leading 2-1 with 15 minutes remaining, Florian Lejeune gave away a totally needless penalty.

Looking at the five games Jamaal Lascelles recently missed.

Yes two of them were away to Man Utd and Chelsea, so the Magpies were always likely to lose. However, Dwight Gayle put Newcastle one up in both matches and would the team have so tamely given up those leads if the captain had been there to organise and cajole them?

I certainly look at the other three games he missed and conceding three at home to both Leicester and Watford, as well as two at West Brom, do you honestly think that would have all still happened if Jamaal Lascelles had been involved?

With Dwight Gayle scoring in three of his last five starts I think there is some room for optimism at both ends of the pitch.

If Newcastle can get back to conceding one or less in games and Gayle’s recent goalscoring form continues, it gives me renewed hope for these next five matches. leaving Man City at home to one side, the games with West Ham, Stoke, Brighton and Swansea are all games Newcastle could win, or at least get a point from.

The stats suggest to me that this is the case and now we just need to see the other nine players in the team contribute alongside Lascelles and Gayle.

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  • Rich Lawson

    Lascelles and Clark is our best centre back pairing in my opinion ?

    • Clarko

      So you’re not sure of your own opinion.

  • ghostrider

    Lascelles was a big miss but he’s not the reason we are in this mess.
    The reason we are in this mess is because Rafa stuck to tactics that were producing nothing and playing players that produce very little offensively but are quite adept at chasing shadows and working hard.

    Refusal to play players who can potentially produce something more effective but too pig headed and untrusting to allow it.

    Lascelles is a big plus and if Rafa started acting human and using the rest of the players in the right formation then we will easily escape relegation as we stand, in my opinion, let alone adding one of two to the ranks in January.

    Will he do it?
    I’ll retire the jury to make a verdict.

    • Alieu Cham

      Couldn’t agree more. The Manager’s tactics n team selections have cost us much points as any weak links in the team. Why he refuse to give Mitro, Rolando, Mbemba n Gamez runs in the team is incomprehensible. At the same time he defend himself for giving Jos, Perez, Manguillo n Diame so many opportunities. May be Rafa is watching a different sport because if most fans agree that these players are not good enough for the team how come they find themselves in the eleven every other week with devastating results. I’m beginning to doubt Rafa’s world class credentials seriously.

    • Big Al 1967

      Here’s a question for all….When was the last time one of our midfielders ran ahead or in behind either Joselu or Gayle like Rob Lee used to do?

      • ghostrider

        We rarely get that far. Most of our players only ever get ahead of anything when they’re standing in the box on a corner kick.

        I know what you mean though.

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    No they can`t, not when you have Duck Eggs in the team like Hoss, Perez, Diame, Manquillo & the jury is out on Lejeune

  • mentalman

    i would hazard a guess that Lascelles didn’t start because he had just recovered from surgery and didn’t have much of a pre season so wasn’t really left finding himself on the bench or even not considered to be a first choice