There were many positives for the Newcastle United supporters in the team’s 1-0 victory over Premier League giants Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.
However, the most surprising one might have been the much-improved performance of right wing back Emil Krafth, who had struggled immensely in the defeat to top flight newcomers Norwich City last time out.
The Sweden international, who joined the Magpies from French side Amiens earlier this summer, grew in confidence as the game wore on at The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, and made a number of vital challenges to keep his team in the contest.
Spurs were lethargic and far from their best, that’s true, but it was a sterling effort from Steve Bruce’s team, and Krafth’s performance, coming as it did after his shocker against Norwich, was indicative of Newcastle’s overall effort on Sunday.
While wing back Matt Ritchie contributes more so in an attacking sense on the opposite flank than Krafth, whose role is more of a defensive one alongside the attack-minded centre half Fabian Schar.
That was borne out on Sunday, where – as per WhoScored.com – he registered two tackles, fewer only than the aforementioned Schar and combative midfielder Isaac Hayden.
His tally, too, of nine clearances was also third best on the day behind centre backs Jamaal Lascelles and Paul Dummett. So he is someone who balances out Ritchie’s natural attacking tendencies with a more conservative approach.
That’s what is needed to provide the Newcastle defence with balance, and Krafth fulfilled that obligation on Sunday in a way he failed to do against the Canaries. He surely sent a message to any fans doubting him with his display against Mauricio Pochettino’s side.