Sven Botman, Fabian Schar, Dan Burn: Newcastle United fans make clear defensive call before Fulham
Newcastle head coach Eddie Howe has played a number of different combinations at the back so far this season.
Fabian Schar has been the most regular starter at centre-back – starting six of United’s seven Premier League games so far. The one match he missed with a knock saw club captain Jamaal Lascelles come into the side in his place.
Dan Burn has featured in every Premier League match this season but has only started three matches at centre-back while £35million summer signing Sven Botman has started four league games.
Each of the four centre-backs feel they work well regardless of who their partner is at the back.
Schar previously said: “We train the whole week and everyone knows what we have to do.
"Obviously you need to communicate a lot between each of us but I think it doesn’t matter who plays because we work quite well in general and our defending is a lot better than it was a few months ago. We’ve got a lot of quality in this position I think and whoever plays there, will do a good job.”
Botman added: “We have a big squad at the moment so we can fill the gaps and we’ve done a pretty good job.
"It’s just a good squad, it’s not just the first 11, it is everybody.”
But Newcastle fans have had their say on Twitter when asked who the club’s strongest defensive partnership is.
In total, 1,128 users voted – a very small portion of the fan base overall – but the final results were fairly conclusive.
With a convincing 70-per-cent of the vote, fans named Botman and Schar as Newcastle’s strongest defensive partnership.
The pair have started four league games together, including on the two occasions Newcastle have kept a clean sheet this season against Brighton and Crystal Palace. All four of the matches ended in a draw.
One fan said: “Thank god my faith is restored, 70-per-cent of people who voted on this get it.”
Burn and Botman were the second most popular with 17-per-cent of the vote despite having never started a Premier League match together.
In third, with 13-per-cent of the vote, was Burn and Schar – the partnership that brought Newcastle plenty of success last season and they climbed out of relegation trouble. Although it was the least popular amongst fans, it could be argued that this is Howe’s preference at the moment.
Another supporter argued: “I know we lost but Lascelles and Burn looked solid against Liverpool.”
And as Newcastle prepare to face Fulham at Craven Cottage this Saturday (3pm kick-off), it remains to be seen which players Howe will name at the back.
Botman was dropped from the line-up against AFC Bournemouth last time out with Howe hinting Burn is slightly above the 22-year-old in the defensive pecking order.
"[The Bournemouth match] was bringing Dan back,” Howe said after the 1-1 draw at St James’s Park. “Sven’s going to be an outstanding player, and will play many, many games for this club. We love him to bits, but Dan just gets the nod at the moment.”