It’s hard to argue with the notion that Fabian Schar has been our best player this year. Since breaking into the first team last November, the Swiss defender has been absolutely superb for Newcastle.
He finally got the call last season and just seemed to get better and better before finishing the season on a high with his magnificent performance at Fulham in the finale. Schar continued where he left off this season and has been Newcastle’s best player in the early months.
Schar is one cog in what is Newcastle’s deepest position. With the team most comfortable in a back three, there are six quality players to fight it out for the three places. However, there are two of the six who seem to be cemented as the first names on the team sheet.
Fabian has been a constant in the team since last November, but Jamaal Lascelles’s place has been secure since being appointed captain three years ago.
In their weekly Q&A, the Chronicle were asked who they thought would start in central defense at Stamford Bridge on Saturday. Newcastle writer Ciaran Kelly had this to say:
The Newcastle head coach has been very impressed by Fabian Schar, a straight talker who is emerging as a key figure in the dressing room, and greatly values what he can do on the ball as well as that resilience he has shown in recent weeks with some crucial clearances and interceptions.
Jamaal Lascelles is skipper so, personally, I can’t see him dropping out either so it is that third slot that is still up for grabs.
Paul Dummett was a colossus at Spurs in August but struggled at left-back when Newcastle reverted to a back four at Leicester and lost his place to Ciaran Clark against Manchester United.
Considering it was his first league start since January, I was impressed by Clark, who made some big headed clearances, and I would stick with him for the trip to Chelsea.
While we agree with Kelly’s assessment that Bruce should keep the same back three at Chelsea, we don’t think that Jamaal Lascelles is necessarily undroppable just because he is the captain. Or at least he shouldn’t be.
As we saw against Manchester United, change can often lead to improved performances. Bruce’s introduction of Ciaran Clark, DeAndre Yedlin, Allan Saint-Maximin, and Matty Longstaff proved to be masterful.
We think these players should get another shot at Stamford Bridge. However, we don’t believe that any player’s place should be considered untouchable.
Places should be based on performances. That will help keep the whole squad on their toes and ready to come in whenever their name is called.