After riding on a high for the past few months, Newcastle United were cruelly brought down to earth by Arsenal.
Indeed, the Gunners displayed ruthlessness in exposing their frailties, running rings around their defence and putting on an absolute masterclass for their fans as they chase Champions League qualification.
Wouldn’t that be nice, Newcastle fans? Oh, memories.
For the Magpies, it was anything but pretty. They were barely able to get the ball up field and were really rather poor defensively. However, the most shocking display came from captain Jamaal Lascelles, who was terrorized by Arsenal’s menacing flurry of hugely talented attackers.
On a day when his teammates needed someone to rely upon, he failed to be the influential leader they required and, to be fair, had become accustomed to.
Rather than making strong challenges to get his side forward, the England defender cramped up in a shell to invite pressure, looking a shell of the rock-solid star who had established himself as the club’s best captain in years. Eventually, it cost Newcastle, who were made to pay for being too defensive with Lascelles’ poor error leading to Lacazette’s goal, where his poor reading of the move allowing the French striker to lob past Martin Dubravka.
It wasn’t the first time he’s made consequential errors for the Magpies. He’s done it time and again this season, costing Newcastle points with his poor decision-making and, sadly it’s looking as if he’s believing his own hype.
Lascelles might be a strong, hard-tackling defender who can neutralize opponents on his day but crumbles up too often to be a captain. Linked with big moves to Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham following his exploits last season, has it gone to his head? It’s certainly looking like it.
Rafa Benitez should reevaluate his decisions on who should represent his side’s spirit on the field. He has more than enough options in central defensive areas and, more symbolically, he should give the captaincy to a more influential, stronger figure, as Lascelles is still too inexperienced and shaky to lead his side to stand up to intimidating opposition.
Newcastle fans, who do you want as the Magpies captain? Join the discussion by commenting below…
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