Jermaine Jenas blasted Jamaal Lascelles for his poor defending in Newcastle United’s 1-0 defeat to Arsenal at St James’ Park on Sunday.
Although the Magpies limited the Gunners from having too many chances at goal, there were moments when the Magpies’ backline looked suspect and was unable to contain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who ended up scoring the winning goal in the second half.
Jenas was less than impressed by Newcastle centre-back Lascelles for getting caught in two minds when having to deal with Aubameyang and claimed that his defensive positioning was too easy to attack against for the Arsenal forward.
“These are the problems that Lascelles found himself in,” said Jenas on Match of the Day 2 on Sunday night [11:00pm].
“He wanted to get close to Aubameyang but he’s scared about the run in behind.
“He gives him a little bit to say ‘I’m going to go in behind’ and immediately Jamaal Lascelles drops off.
“At this point, he’s at Aubameyang’s mercy because he can go anywhere he wants. Jamaal Lascelles doesn’t know where he is. It’s a great touch and a great strike at goal.”
Lascelles did not have the best of games for Newcastle but there was not really anyone in that defence who covered themselves with glory for their performance against Arsenal on Sunday afternoon. Steve Bruce needs to take a lot of the blame for the way the defeat went as a lack of organisation and sensible substitutions led to the Magpies conceding what turned out to be the match-winning goal. Lascelles is still one of Newcastle’s best centre-backs and he will have much better performances over the course of the season than he did against Unai Emery’s side. It looks like him, Paul Dummett and Fabian Schar might be his go-to back-three this campaign after they were the three selected to start against Arsenal. It might be tempting to rip that up and add in someone like Federico Fernandez or Florian Lejeune at some point. But the key to a strong defence is consistency. They will get better and hopefully that will happen in time for next weekend.