Newcastle United will head to Merseyside for their Premier League clash with Everton at Goodison Park this evening and Eddie Howe will surely be going into the game with confidence.
The Magpies were back to winning ways at St James’ Park last weekend, delivering an incredible 6-0 thriller against top-four rivals Tottenham Hotspur and are now six points clear of the north Londoners.
The dream of Champions League football is looking more and more likely to become a reality for Newcastle and they could even further cement their spot by taking another three points away from home tonight.
Unfortunately, Howe has had some injury issues to contend with over the last few weeks, with key players like Allan Saint-Maximin and Miguel Almiron sustaining issues.
Now, Fabian Schar could be set for a spell on the sidelines too, after sustaining a fresh hamstring concern in the latter stages of the Spurs game.
Howe took to his pre-match press conference to reveal an update on the centre-back’s condition yesterday, confirming that he remains a doubt: “Fab is one we have to check on and make a late call.”
As a result, it could be the perfect opportunity for the Newcastle boss to unleash club captain Jamaal Lascelles in place of Schar.
Will Lascelles start vs Everton?
There is no doubt that Everton have played their best football at Goodison Park this season with five of their six victories secured on home turf.
However, the Toffees have struggled to trouble their opponents in front of goal, with only two scored in their last four games, as well as having the lowest goal tally in the entire Premier League at present.
Under those circumstances, it would seem that losing Schar for the outing on Merseyside tonight may not be the worst outcome, as Lascelles should be able to use his experience and 6 foot 1 presence to handle Everton’s goal-scoring talisman, Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
The £40k-per-week titan – hailed as “heroic” by Howe – ranks in the top 9% of his positional peers across the top five European leagues for aerial duels won, blocks, clearances and touches, proving that he has some of the best physicality on offer when it comes to defensive play.
Not only that, the Newcastle boss has previously heaped praise on Lascelles for the importance of his leadership skills on and off the pitch, despite only making two Premier League starts this term so far:
“His attitude has been spot on. He’s obviously our captain and he’s led like a captain even in a difficult moment for him because he would want to play every game.
“I always think that’s a true test of a leader is in the difficult moments and I think Jamaal has been absolutely superb – he’s been positive in the changing room before the game, during training – I cannot speak highly enough of his reaction to that.”
With that being said, there is no doubt that Lascelles can comfortably work alongside Sven Botman to form a brick wall against Everton tonight and will deservedly earn some much-needed minutes in the starting XI.
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