The Newcastle defense so far this season has been very strong and it’s an area of the team that Rafa has improved and is now much stronger than it’s been for at least the last four seasons.
In those four seasons in the Premier League we conceded a massive 255 goals, but Graham Carr kept bringing in wingers rather than significantly strengthening the defense.
Captain Jamaal Lascelles in action for Newcastle
Love the green boots
In the last four seasons going back from last season we conceded 65, 63, 59 and a massive 68 goals in the 2012-2013 season – the most we have ever conceded in the Premier League.
Rafa Benitez has changed all that and has strengthened a number of weak areas in the team and that should have been done years ago at Newcastle.
It was only common sense Rafa showed when he brought in defenders like Ciaran Clark, Grant Hanley, DeAndre Yedlin, Jesus Gamez and Achraf Lazaar.
He also put Vurnon Anita at right back and the Dutch International looks a real class player in that position.
It wasn’t exactly rocket science to realize a huge weakness in the Newcastle side last season under Steve McClaren was our defense.
At the center of that defense is captain Jamaal Lascelles and after a shaky start in early August, Jamaal is now improving his game and at the end of the season the 22 year-old could be a top center-back and he’s certainly looking the part.
Jamaal has also shown terrific leadership skills both on and off the field.
He was asked about the club’s defensive record and this is what he said:
“As a centre-half, that’s my job – keeping clean sheets. Collectively, as a team, everyone’s playing their part.”
“Karl Darlow was unbelievable against Barnsley. He made some great catches and saves. The boys are working hard as a unit. We all know our roles.”
“Before the game, we knew it was going to be tough.” “Barnsley on a Tuesday night is not an easy place to come.” “The style of football they played is quite difficult.”
“It was difficult break them down.” “In fairness to them, we didn’t really create much. Our talent and hard work came through at the end.”
“It’s always nice when the strikers are banging them in like that.” “At the same time, he’s getting great deliveries from midfield – everyone’s playing a part.”
“Dwight’s up there to do that and he’s doing his job. He’s got to keep his feet on the floor and keep working hard.”
We probably need to keep a clean sheet tomorrow against Ipswich Town if we are to get our 5th win in a row and then we play Preston North-End on Tuesday night at home in the 4th round of the EFL Cup.
Games are coming thick and fast after the International break.