Valentino Lazaro started his first Newcastle game against Arsenal and it was certainly a game of two halves.
The Austrian enjoyed an impressive first 45, getting high up the pitch and causing the Gunners some problems. He was confident in possession, showing composure that has rarely been seen this season.
However, the second half was somewhat disastrous for the loanee.
The finger was pointed at Lazaro for Arsenal’s opening two goals, although some criticism is harsh.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang rose above Lazaro to head home the opener, but it seemed naive of the experienced Federico Fernandez to pass the lethal forward onto his somewhat shorter teammate.
As for the second, Lazaro didn’t do enough to stop Bukayo Saka. But then again, neither did Nabil Bentaleb.
Lazaro was replaced in the 74th minute, and a lot of fans think he’s being used in the wrong position.
It’s clear that he has a lot to offer offensively, but his defending certainly left a lot to be desired.
Steve Bruce must be aware of his new recruit’s struggles in defence. If he wants to get more out of Lazaro, he needs to play him higher up the pitch.
That way he can influence the game in the right areas whilst having a more reliable defensive option behind him.
A mixed bag from Lazaro, but is he really a defender?
Lazaro looked good in the first half, but ultimately he was exposed defensively for the first 2 goals. I’d be happy to see him operating further up the pitch, but that will never happen because, you know, 5 at the back is all we can play. #NUFC
— Andrew White (@Andy_White92) February 16, 2020
Shocking 2nd half performance mate. Complete shambles. 1st half we played quite well, 2nd pffff #nufc. That Lazaro is a winger not a full back, again he played decent 1st 45 then had a mare 2nd
— Andy taggart (@andytag85) February 16, 2020
Also Lazaro ain’t a Right Wing Back so why are we playing him there 🙈 #NUFC
— Arun⚫⚪ (@alakhani) February 16, 2020
– Nabil Bentaleb needs time to settle. It’s not the end of the world that he was poor today.
– the same can be said for lazaro and rose. Lazaro was a winger playing wingback and he looked like that exactly today
— Coming Home Newcastle (@ComingHomeNUFC) February 16, 2020
This formation has to change, get Almiron at CAM, ASM and Lazaro on the wings and we instantly become way more of a threat going forward #NUFC
— Harry Wilding (@HarryWilding_) February 16, 2020
And now we know why Lazaro’s time at Inter didn’t go so well. The lad looks interesting going forwards but is a liability when he’s defending. #NUFC
— 𝑫𝒂𝒛𝒛 𝑲𝒏𝒐𝒘𝒍𝒆𝒔 (@dazzknowles) February 16, 2020
It’s clear Lazaro is NOT a defender!
— Toonarmist (@NUFC_Scotty) February 16, 2020