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.
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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.