Despite helping Newcastle to a 2-1 win against Bournemouth on Saturday, some fans remain unconvinced by the displays of new centre-back Fabian Schar.
The Swiss international was brought into the starting line-up to replace Jamaal Lascelles and gave a good account of himself, particularly in counter attacks.
The defender is known for his passing ability and was unlucky not to bag himself an assist against The Cherries.
His through ball to Ayoze Perez at 2-1 was the pass of the game, and put the Spaniard one-on-one with Begovic. But the striker drove his shot agonisingly wide.
Aside from creating chances, Schar’s long balls were also consistently fast and accurate, allowing Newcastle to quickly and effectively launch attacks.
And he again showed his ability to drive forward with the ball, which is a great asset for this Newcastle side. It takes pressure off the rest of the defence and allows the team to push up the pitch.
In previous games Newcastle have had a tendency to play deep and get boxed in by their opponents, but Schar has the ability to alleviate such pressure.
He’s the sort of attacking minded defender the Toon have lacked since Philippe Albert in the 1990’s, an ever popular figure on Tyneside.
But some fans have highlighted that attacking ability is not an asset most look for in their centre-backs.
Schar has shown repeatedly there are defensive errors in his game.
Against Bournemouth, his late challenge on David Brooks led to a free kick that The Cherries were unlucky not to capitalise on. Martin Dubravka made a fantastic save from a Steve Cook header but it led to a corner, which Bournemouth then scored from anyway.
It was an incredibly cynical challenge from the defender, and given Newcastle’s awful record at defending set-pieces, staying on your feet is a must.
His defensive positioning was also questionable on occasion. Federico Fernandez was seen berating the player several times after Bournemouth repeatedly got in behind the back line.
But despite all that, Schar should be being praised.
He has his faults, but is also undeniably an incredibly exciting player. He promotes a style of football that the fans have been starved of under Benitez and it will be a shame if he finds himself benched on Lascelles’ return.
With more time to adapt, Schar could easily become a reliable and dangerous Premier League defender.
Split opinions on Schar
Good points,but Schar had a range of passing I’ve not seen from a defender since Beckenbaur…I love @Lascelles16 he’s a fantastic defender,but today showed he’s got competition.Great team performance! #NUFC https://t.co/QSJt1Vrtuy
— Toon Army Thailand (@ThaiToonArmy) 10 November 2018
Can’t believe that! His job is to defend; not create chances, he was beaten easily twice by Fraser and once by Ibe. Looked unconvincing. Fernandez cleaned up his mess twice today and went ballistic at him afterwards.
— NUFC 360 (@NUFC360) 10 November 2018
I was at the game and he struggled when called to action on the floor and in 1v1 caught square. Looked good with the ball at his feet but it was clear to see Fernandez was over covering and not happy! I’ll reserve judgement but just what I saw yesterday & suspect from set pieces!
— The Mag Pint (@themagpint) 11 November 2018
Schar was very inconsistent. Brick wall at times, Bambi on ice others. He can play football of that there is no doubt but he’s prone to going in too early at times. Fernandez on the other side, never been so surprised by a signing in my life, absolute wall.
— Dean Toth (@GeordieT0FF) 10 November 2018
In my lifetime of supporting #nufc I’d say we have as good a defence as we’ve ever had. Especially the centre backs. Only seen Woodgate and prime Coloccini that are better than Fernandez and Schar. They’re absolutely solid
— Chris Steele (@ChrisSteele90) 10 November 2018
— Dean Burns (@deanoburns) 10 November 2018
Disagree about Schar, thought he was weak in the tackle and let Bournemouth in behind a bit much for me. Fernandez though, immense.
— Andy Burnham (@aj_burnham) 10 November 2018