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Opinion: Fabian Schar continues to impress in auxiliary deep-lying playmaker role

Opinion: Fabian Schar continues to impress in auxiliary deep-lying playmaker role

Newcastle United came within seconds of clinching a huge win in the race for survival at Molineux on Monday evening but they were cruelly denied by Willy Boly in the final seconds of the game.

Wolves have proven to be a quality outfit at this level following their return to the top-flight this season, so a win for the travelling Magpies would have been huge in the context of the fight for survival.

But, despite the last-gasp equaliser, there were plenty of positives for Benitez to draw from the game, one of which was the excellent performance of Fabian Schar in central defence.

The Spanish tactician has deployed a system incorporating three central defenders on many occasions this season and he opted for a similar set-up on Monday evening, with Schar, Jamaal Lascelles and Florian Lejeune all named in the starting XI.

The former, though, appears to be encouraged to play as something of an auxiliary playmaker when Newcastle are in possession, spraying the ball from deep in a bid to rapidly turn defence into attack.

But the Swiss defender also took the chance to drive forward with the ball at his feet when an apt opportunity presented itself, and Newcastle reaped the rewards of his vision as he slotted the ball into Isaac Hayden’s path to provide the assist for the opening goal of the evening.

It was a deserved assist for a player who has often provided a creative presence from defence this season.

His defensive contribution was also highly commendable, with four interceptions, four clearances and six aerial battles won to help add some much needed solidity to the backline.

The niche role which Benitez has created for Schar has provided Newcastle with an unlikely secret weapon in a number of fixtures this season, and his latest showing against Wolves has vindicated the manager’s tactical approach.

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