Newcastle United fans will already be aware of the gigantic difference in results and performances between when captain Jamaal Lascelles is and isn’t in the starting XI.
In fact, the Magpies are yet to win any game in any competition without their skipper centre-back this season, all six of their Premier League clean sheets have been in the Englishman’s presence, and they’ve only conceded three goals on two occasions when Lascelles has started – both coming against Big Six opposition in Chelsea and Manchester City.
Newcastle hosted another Big Six side this weekend in the form of Manchester United, but with Lascelles at the heart of defence it was the home side who unexpectedly came out on top in a huge 1-0 win for the relegation-threatened Tyneside outfit, the 24-year-old playing a key part.
Indeed, an impenetrable and imperious ninety minutes saw Lascelles – who Transfermarkt value at just £6.8million – record the second-most tackles, clearances and aerial duels of any Newcastle player as United desperately tried to break through, while blocking the most shots with a whopping three.
There’s no question that Newcastle will need to score goals to come out on top in what is proving to be the most competitive relegation battle in Premier League history, but clean sheets at the other end will be vitally crucial too. Bearing that in mind, is Lascelles now Newcastle’s most important player? Let us know by voting below…