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Florian Lejeune rated top defender in quality display against Barcelona and Lionel Messi

1 month ago
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Florian Lejeune moved on loan for the season to Alaves back in September.

Steve Bruce making it clear last season that he wasn’t keen on having centre-backs who could also play a bit, all but totally sidelining both the Frenchman and Fabian Schar from his Premier League side.

Schar only getting a few PL starts later last season when Steve Bruce had no other options available, a couple of games at centre-back and a couple in midfield when short.

With Florian Lejeune, Newcastle fans never saw him on the pitch again in the Premier League last season after what was arguably his finest 60 seconds in a black and white shirt.

The 21 January 2020 saw him come off the bench at Goodison Park, a woeful team performance and negative tactics from Steve Bruce seeing Newcastle absolutely battered by Everton who should have been four or five ahead, instead in a space of a minute in added time after the 90, Florian Lejeune hilariously scored twice and NUFC somehow emerged with a point.

Sunday sees Newcastle now 10 months later meeting Everton once again, as for Florian Lejeune, he had his only massive game in Spain on the eve of today’s St James Park NUFC match.

Florian Lejeune has been getting rave reviews from Spanish media and he put in another quality performance on Saturday.

Up against the likes of Lionel Messi, Fati, Dembele and Griezmann, Florian Lejeune was once again Alaves’ top defender.

The on loan Newcastle defender helping to restrict Barcelona to only the one goal and Alaves picking up a valuable point. Goalkeeper Pacheco was man of the match for Alaves, followed by goalscorer Rioja, Lejeune then rated third best (see below) and the Spanish side’s best defender.

Last season Alaves were terrible in defence, conceded 59 in 38 games, the third worst in La Liga.

Florian Lejeune brought in to help turn that around and doing a great job, Alaves having only conceded nine goals in eight league games so far this season.

Saturday saw Joselu come on as a 57th minute substitute, with one goal in seven La Liga appearances so far, he is not having quite the same impact as last season when making 31 La Liga starts and scoring 11 goals.

WhoScored produce automated ratings for all players in every match in the major European leagues.

These were the ratings from the latest Florian Lejeune game:

Interesting to see what happens with Florian Lejeune next summer when he will have one year left of his Newcastle contract.

Steve Bruce preferring the no nonsense defending from the likes of Lascelles and Fernandez, rather than wanting to incorporate the likes of ball playing defenders such as Schar and / or Lejeune in a back four or five.

As well as the absence of pretty much any attacking threat in most matches, under Steve Bruce the team has become ever more susceptible to leaking goals despite the heroics of Dubravka and Darlow.

The seventh lowest total of goals conceded in both 2017/18 and 2018/19, last season under Bruce it became the seventh highest number of goals conceded in the PL for Newcastle, 58 in 38, with little sign of improvement this time, having conceded 10 in six PL matches despite Karl Darlow making more saves than any other top tier keeper.

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