Jamaal Lascelles delivered a captain’s performance as Newcastle United made it back-to-back wins against Swansea City on Sunday. The centre-back was awarded the man-of-the-match award for his contribution at both ends of the pitch. It was important that the club captain was at his best against the Swans as Rafa Benitez wasn’t in attendance of the match. The Magpies’ manager missed the game as he recovers from a recent surgery. The skipper needed to step up and replace that leadership, which he did with great effect.
Before the match, the talk was centred on Wilfried Bony and Renato Sanches as both players signed for Swansea on deadline day. Newcastle weren’t fancied by many to take the three points, but they were fully deserving of their win at the Liberty Stadium. Lascelles started the season out of the first-team, but he proved on Sunday why he should be a regular starter as he continues to grow into the captaincy.
This was a tight game and Lascelles made a major contribution at both ends of the pitch. The first of which came when Tammy Abraham got in behind the defence and rounded the goalkeeper. It looked like he would open the scoring, but the Magpies’ defender didn’t give up and got back to the goal-line to make an incredible block. The determination that the 23-year-old showed here was indicative of the entire team performance and as skipper, he set the tone throughout.
The overall defensive performance was encouraging from the centre-back, especially after the criticism he suffered at the end of last season. He was often seen as the weak link in the Newcastle defence, but he was the standout player on Sunday. Lascelles made four ball recoveries, competed well in the air and made ten clearances. It great to see the captain put it all on the line and he will be hoping that he can continue to perform to this high standard.
The captaincy role can be overlooked in the modern game, but Lascelles proved the importance of having a leader on the pitch. He stepped up in the absence of Rafa Benitez and led by example with an excellent defensive performance. It will be his efforts at the back that will have impressed his manager most, as he is proving that he is good enough for the Premier League. The goal was an added bonus and it will give him the confidence to push on over the coming weeks.