Clark and Fernandez highlight defensive strength

Image for Clark and Fernandez highlight defensive strength


The cup competitions always bring along chances for Newcastle United to rotate their squad.

That positive can also bring along the potential that Steve Bruce can have a selection headache for Premier League games in the near future.

Although the Magpies crashed out of the Carabao Cup on Wednesday night with a penalty shootout defeat to Leicester City – there are still plenty of questions that Bruce will need to answer in the next few days.

Sky Sports journalist Keith Downie revealed on his personal Twitter account before the game that as many as seven players could miss out on the game.

That meant that Bruce had to switch around his side, and gave opportunities to players such as Federico Fernandez and Ciaran Clark to come in and stake their claim.

First-team regular Fabian Schar kept his place alongside the experienced duo, with all three looking solid – a deflected effort the difference between a clean-sheet or not.

According to the Chronicle, Clark, in particular, stood out from the Leicester clash – making seven clearances in all and having 50 touches of the ball, a stat only bettered by Jonjo Shelvey.

When you compare some of Newcastle’s defensive options from last season via WhoScored, it only makes for good reading for all involved at the Magpies, who can be confident no matter who lines up at the back.

Clark particularly impressed out of the so-called second-string defenders at the club, averaging the most tackles out of four defensive options available at St James’ Park.

Although the stats don’t prove that Fernandez excelled compared to his teammates, he wasn’t far behind – averaging the second-most interceptions, as well as the second-highest number of clearances per game.

Captain of the club, Lascelles, led by example averaging the most clearances and blocks out of the four, as well as winning more offsides.

The cup defeat to Leicester gave Bruce a selection problem and one that will lead him scratching his head for answers before the Watford clash.

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