The centre of defence is the only position in the team where Newcastle United have any kind of strength in depth.
Jamaal Lascelles and Florian Lejeune ended last season so well, only for injury to strike him down before this campaign started.
Initial estimates were that anything up to the full season he’d be missing but since then, encouraging reports have suggested that he could be back by the end of the year.
The summer saw a lot of movement in the position with Chancel Mbemba going out and Fabian Schar coming in, with Federico Fernandez arriving late on after Lejeune was ruled out.
No surprise though that Rafa Benitez has initially went with Ciaran Clark alongside Lascelles, the manager taking his usual route of not throwing in new players without preparation.
None of the new faces have started this season, with only Dubravka and Kenedy who were here last season, starting in the first eleven.
With decent strikers things may have been different for Cardiff but it was a clean sheet at the end of the day, pretty much ensuring surely that Ciaran Clark will continue alongside Lascelles for the time being.
However, Rafa is surely intending to bring in Fernandez early on, unless Clark can show the kind of form he did in the Championship.
Very few players in this current squad go public with any complaints when left out and that was the case for the Irish international when losing out to Lejeune last season, ahead of the Chelsea match on Sunday Clark declaring ‘We’ve got a great team spirit and great attitude within the whole squad.’
Ignoring the Man City match where it is difficult to imagine any kind of a positive outcome, the next two home games saw only one goal conceded in the same fixtures last season.
Arguably Newcastle did catch both Arsenal and Chelsea at a good time back in April and May, but no reason why Rafa’s players can’t give them both a good game, and certainly if Newcastle can concede only one goal in three hours of football, that would be a great start. Newcastle United only conceding seven goals in those final nine PL matches of last season.
The character of the team/squad will be severely tested in these next three games, three or more points would be a great boost to the confidence of both the Newcastle fans and players.
“Once the window shuts, that is it.
“I think everyone has got their heads screwed on and everyone knows this is the squad.
“It probably gives everyone a bit more focus and takes everyone’s minds off everything else.
“It is full focus on the football side of things and we have done that.
“We were unlucky in our first game (v Spurs) as I felt we did enough to take at least a point and we could have come away with three (at Cardiff).
“We will take the positives and keep working hard, we’ve got a great team spirit and great attitude within the whole squad
“I think that showed when we went down to 10 men – we kept going, kept fighting, it could have swung our way in the end and we were a bit unlucky that it didn’t.
“That is one thing we will always have, that good attitude and commitment no matter who’s playing, that is what helped us through and ultimately got us to where we finished last season. We need to try and keep that.
“I think we knew the type of game it would be (on Saturday at Cardiff), it was always going to be a fight – a lot of hard work and both teams put that in.
“I can’t remember too many chances, down to 10 men it was always going to be a tough one but we managed to keep going and keep fighting.
“We got the penalty at the end and it is one of those things, people can miss them.
“We came away with a point and we are disappointed but it’s a point at the end of the day.
“Even with 10 men I can’t remember there being too many chances for them, we didn’t see as much of the ball as we would have liked and e always knew it was going to be that type of game.
“It was always going to be a fight.”