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Florian Lejeune and Joselu star and take Alaves to brink of La Liga safety

5 months ago
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On Tuesday night, Florian Lejeune lined up alongside Joselu.

Alaves away at Elche for a key relegation six pointer, their third last game of the season and set to drop to within one point of relegation if losing.

However, both Joselu and Florian Lejeune came up trumps.

Florian Lejeune has been getting rave reviews from Spanish media despite his loan club’s relegation struggles and it was yet another quality display to add to the growing list.

The NUFC loan player rated (see below) yet again Alaves’ best defender as he helped them to a clean sheet.

Former Newcastle striker Joselu also on top form, with a goal and an assist leading to man of the match status.

As you can see, the automated Whoscored ratings system making Florian Lejeune (8.0) the best defender from either team on the pitch last night and Joselu (9.0) the best of all 22 involved:

Alaves are now on the brink of safety thanks to Joselu and Florian Lejeune, sixth from bottom and five points clear of relegation.

Steve Bruce made 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.

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.

Only two Premier League clubs outside the bottom two have conceded more goals than Newcastle so far this season and indeed, under Steve Bruce this season NUFC have already conceded 10 more goals than in any PL season since relegation in 2016.

Florian Lejeune has proved his fitness by starting 32 La Liga games so far and indeed, has only been subbed off in one of them. His form also speaks for itself as he has held the Alaves defence together and appears to have helped guide them to safety.

Lejeune turns 30 in eight days time and still has one year left in his existing Newcastle contract. He would be ideal, in my opinion, if Newcastle continue with three centre-backs next season, as he is especially comfortable playing as the left one of the three and can help get United playing better football from the back.

It is also difficult not to be impressed by Joselu and compare him to Joelinton. The £40m Brazilian has scored a grand total of five goals in 67 Premier League appearances for NUFC, whilst Joselu has scored 21 in 64 La Liga starts (plus seven sub appearances).

Joselu reaching double figures once again last night, 10 this season so far, to go with the 11 last season, Joelinton two last season and three this time, which I suppose you could push as a 50% improvement…

As for Yoshiori Muto, things haven’t gone quite so well personally, or for his loan club. With 24 La Liga appearances split equally between starts and sub appearances, Muto has scored the same number (one!) of league goals this season as Florian Lejeune. Eibar are rock bottom of the table with three games to go and are favourites to go down.

Interesting to see what happens with Florian Lejeune and Newcastle United this summer, whilst we can only hope that Yoshinori Muto can find a club to take him on permanently after his poor loan season.

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