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Swansea 0-1 Newcastle: In Benitez’s absence captain Lascelles steps up for Newcastle

In a week where Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez was unable to stand in the dugout as he recovered from surgery, captain Jamaal Lascelles stepped up with a big winning goal.

In a match that was void of much action in the first half, one concerning moment was Mikel Merino’s apparent dive in an attempt to win a penalty.

The Spaniard has been a revelation in the Newcastle midfield, and an admirable stand-in since Jonjo Shelvey’s moment of madness against Tottenham on the opening day.

One of the best parts of his game has been is assured touch and passing, as well as his much better discipline compared to Shelvey. Elements to his game such as simulation are not elements we want to see emerge within his game.

For Swansea, the best chance of the half came from an Alfie Mawson header, who somehow missed from close range with a header.

If the second half was a dull affair mostly void of chances, then the second half exploded into life in comparison.

For Newcastle, we needed a figure to step up and put in a commanding performance to inspire the rest, and captain Jamaal Lascelles did just that – in both defence and attack.

The defensive moment came first, as Jamaal Lascelles denied what should have been a certain goal for Tammy Abraham.

The Chelsea loanee striker, possibly with a point to prove against the side he turned down a loan offer from, was played onside, skipped around Rob Elliot and thinks its a certain goal as he slots it back towards goal.

Magpies captain Jamaal Lascelles thinks otherwise and somehow slides back to block it on the line.

The ball hits his ribcage and then his arm – but there was no penalty appeal from the men in white. It would have been harsh if it was given.

From there Newcastle pushed on, and from a corner in the 77th minute, the deadlock was broken. Captain fantastic Lascelles rose highest from a corner and thundered a header into net.

It was a monumental performance from the captain, and one that silenced a lot of his critics – myself included – who have questioned just how capable he is to lead a Premier League side at the age of 24 years old (the youngest captain in the league).

He was guilty of a number of mistakes and defensive weaknesses last season but the tutelage of Rafa Benitez is once again proving remarkable in bringing a rough, young talent and turning them into a quality Premier League player.

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