We’re into November now and it looks like Newcastle have finally kicked off their season with a surprise win against opponents Watford last Saturday.
Their first three points of the season isn’t the only positive that’s happening in the Newcastle camp either, as Florian Lejeune looks to be making a shock return next month after picking up a serious injury in July.
The Daily Mail have reported that Lejeune’s miraculous revival can be traced back to the skill of renowned surgeon Professor Paolo Mariani, whom Rafa Benitez familiarised himself with during his time as Napoli manager (the technicalities of this operation can found in the linked article).
The signs are certainly positive at Newcastle now, who already have a fairly decent looking defensive record despite their league standing, and are set to see the premature return of their starting centre-back.
Here are two reasons why Lejeune’s return could secure Premier League survival for the Magpies…
Very simple one – Florian Lejeune is a quality defender.
Although stand-in centre-back Federico Fernandez has done an alright job at the back for Newcastle, the club are undoubtedly missing the sheer quality of their preferred choice Florian Lejeune.
At 27-years-of-age, the Frenchman plays with the experience and tactical know-how of a veteran defender, and his ability in the air is next to none.
It’s not that the club have been particularly bad in defence this season because they haven’t. Indeed, the 14 goals they’ve conceded so far ranks amongst the lowest in the bottom half of the table. However, there’s always room for improvement and Lejeune would bring that.
The best teams maintain a consistent defensive lineup to encourage solidity, chemistry and awareness.
You need only look at the likes of Juventus who have stuck with their two veteran centre-backs Georgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci (bar a short hiatus) for quite some time now to appreciate the benefits of longstanding partnerships.
It would be hugely beneficial for Newcastle to follow this model, using Lascelles and Lejeune, and build from the back. Especially considering how poor they’re currently doing in the attacking positions.