BBC Sport pundit Garth Crooks has hailed Fabian Schar as being a ‘major’ factor to why Newcastle United were able to take a point against Watford in their Premier League encounter at St. James’ Park on Saturday.
Steve Bruce’s Magpies went into the game having beaten Tottenham Hotspur away from home in their last top-flight fixture, but tasted defeat to Premier League opposition in the Carabao Cup during the week after Leicester City triumphed on penalties.
Watford, on the other hand, were still chasing their first point of the league campaign, yet took the lead in only the second minute when Tom Cleverley’s deflected effort fell kindly to Will Hughes to tap home.
Schar later pulled the hosts level when Isaac Hayden’s header dropped into the Swiss centre-half’s path following a cross by Emil Krafth, in what was the 27-year-old defender’s only effort on target, according to data collected by WhoScored.
His composure to find the back of the net resembled Newcastle’s performance throughout the game in the eyes of Crooks, who had questioned if the Magpies could stand up to the test of attacking in the same manner they defended in North London.
“This was a very different test to the one facing Newcastle last week against Spurs,” Crooks wrote, as he named Schar in his Team of the Week for BBC Sport. “I posed the question ‘could the Magpies attack with the same conviction as they defended at White Hart Lane?’ Well, the performance wasn’t quite as convincing, but good enough to contain a Watford side desperate for points.
“Schar played a major part in this controlled, professional performance by Newcastle. They didn’t panic when they went 1-0 down and he took his goal with great composure. Not bad for a centre-back.”
Schar’s goal was his fifth of the calendar year, more than any current Newcastle player has achieved in that period (BBC), and came as one of only five shots on target recorded by a Magpies player against Watford.
The 6 ft 1 defender also ranked second for aerial duels won (3) on Saturday to teammate Paul Dummett (6), while his two tackles won and two interceptions were only second to Jetro Willems’ three and Dummett’s three respectively.
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