Rafa Benitez had rested his captain Jamaal Lascelles last week against Derby to give the 23 year-old a rest and he had also put in some so-so performances of late.
After the game yesterday Rafa had said it was to protect the 23 year-old after some of the fans had been giving him a bit of a hard time of it, because of his average performances recently.
It shows what a great man-manager Rafa is, because Jamaal had a terrific game for us in the 1-0 win at Wolves with the defense looking very strong and well-drilled.
Ciaran Clark and Jamaal Lascelles – superb yesterday
So it was a great comeback success for the captain and he made sure he celebrated with the traveling fans at the end of the game, before they went back to Newcastle very happy.
Newcastle are back on top of the league with 65 points from 30 games which includes a phenomenal 21 wins.
Lascelles was actually second in the voting in our Man of the Match poll yesterday with 35% – and he is edged out by his central defense partner Ciaran Clark (36%) who had another excellent game for us.
Ciaran finished as the 3rd best Rafa signing last summer behind only top goalscorers Dwight Gayle and Matt Richie in first and second place respectively.
Ciaran is turning out to be an excellent buy for Newcastle at just £5M from Aston Villa, who continue to struggle this season.
Villa are in 16th place on 36 points a full 29 points behind Newcastle – their fans must feel really sick since they hoped to come straight back up – but we’re sure Steve Bruce can get the job done – but it will have to be next season.
Just imagine how we would feel if we were in Villa’s position now – sick.
If our defense can be as solid as they were yesterday for the rest of the season, we will be able to keep a lot more clean sheets and get a lot more wins.
But special praise this week to our two center-backs – Jamaal Lascelles and Ciaran Clark – they were both superb.