The stats that prove Newcastle Lejeune defender neutralised Lukaku and Sanchez

Matt Ritchie of Newcastle United and Florian Lejeune of Newcastle united at the final whistle during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Manchester United at St. James...

Florian Lejeune may have been out for two months but he was key to Newcastle beating Manchester United.

Newcastle defender Florian Lejeune in action during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur at St. James Park on August 13, 2017 in Newcastle upon Tyne,...

Newcastle picked up their first home win since October after stunning Manchester United thanks to a Matt Ritchie goal.

While Rafa Benitez's side may have looked threatening going forward, it was at the other end of the pitch that they should take the plaudits.

With Martin Dubravka on debut and missing Ciaran Clark from the starting XI, it looked like Sanchez, Lukaku and Martial were going to have some fun at the hands of the Magpies' defence.

However, the returning Florian Lejeune once again showed why he was the Benitez's first choice centre-back signing in the summer.

Luis Antonio Valencia of Manchester United leads his team out before the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Manchester United at St. James Park on February 11, 2018 in...

The Frenchman has been impressive whenever he has featured for Newcastle this season.

In fact, the pairing of Jamal Lascelles and Lejeune has managed just one goal conceded in 207 minutes across three appearances against top-six sides.

Incredibly, it was the 26-year-old's first game in more than two months following a two-month spell on the sideline.

However, you wouldn't have guessed it, because his performance against Jose Mourinho's mega-bucks side was absolutely excellent.

And we absolutely have the stats to back this claim up.

Aerial duels

Coming against one of the best target men in the league, Lejeune had it all to do.

However, out of the nine aerial duels, Romelu Lukaku was only able to win two of the battles, losing out on six others and fouling Lejeune on the third.

In fact, only Chris Smalling won more aerial battles, but he was only coming up against the likes of Dwight Gayle and Ayoze Perez.

  PositionTeamMatchTotal ClearanceTotal TackleFoulsOutfielder BlockDuel WonMins Played
Florian Lejeune DF Newcastle Newcastle vs Man Utd 10 1 1 2 8 90

Clearances

With Newcastle being pegged further and further back by the visitors, Benitez needed to Lejeune to put in some huge clearances for the team.

In fact, he made a brilliant clearance come block to deny Alexis Sanchez from an almost unmissable chance.

Following Lukaku's excellent pass which ripped apart the Magpies, Sanchez was left with basically an open goal before the French defender swooped in to clear.

Overall, Lejeune made a whopping 10 clearances in the game, with seven of those coming via headers and four of the clearances coming in the last few minutes of the game.

Alexis Sanchez of Manchester United shoots during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Manchester United at St. James Park on February 11, 2018 in Newcastle upon Tyne,...

Possibly his clearances were the most important part of Newcastle's win – not only helping his debuting keeper but help cover for the overlapping full-backs who put constant pressure on United's wing-backs.

With Rafa Benitez's side now up to 13th in the Premier League and coming up against Bournemouth and Liverpool in the coming week, Lejeune could be a huge part in keeping the Magpies out of a relegation battle.

 

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