Our old friend Robbie Savage claims to have spotted a major weakness with star signing Jonjo Shelvey.
Savage claims that plenty of people have taken a good look at and praised his range of passing…but nobody has really looked at another side of his game.
Shelvey was Newcastle’s man of the match against both West Brom and West Ham, helping to set up all three goals that brought a six point return.
At Watford and Everton he looked as bad as the rest of the team as United racked up yet another two away defeats.
However, on Saturday at Stamford Bridge he did look Newcastle’s best bet going forward as he continued to ask for the ball and helped set up pretty much any decent move Newcastle had when they attacked.
Robbie Savage though claims that Jonjo Shelvey’s lack of effort getting back to help his defence has been overlooked.
There were comments from Swansea fans and former player Leighton James that tackling and defensive work wasn’t Shelvey’s strongest point and so as time goes on maybe more will be expected from the midfielder, if he is to be a long-term solution to Newcastle’s central midfield problems.
However, surely even more worrying is the state of the centre of defence as seen on Saturday, plus Cheick Tiote struggling for pace, much like Taylor and Coloccini.
When you do look at four of Newcastle’s midfield five on Saturday, with Wijnaldum, Townsend, Sissoko and Shelvey (if Robbie Savage is to be believed), there is barely a tackle amongst them.
In the past, Newcastle fans have been spoilt by having the likes of Gary Speed and Rob Lee who could do it going forward and defensively, whilst Yohan Cabaye had a very good 18 months/two years alongside Cheick Tiote.
The last thing we need though is to go back to playing two out and out defensive midfielders, certainly at home, as we have suffered all this season.
However, away from home, maybe there is a case for sacrificing the (away from home) ineffectual Wijnaldum and then give Jonjo Shelvey more freeedom going forward to influence the game.
Hopefully these are issues that as we speak are being hotly debated on the sunbeds…sorry, training grounds, of La Manga.
Robbie Savage speaking on Radio Five Live after watching Chelsea 5 Newcastle 1:
“Jonjo Shelvey has done well and a few people have done the analysis on the way he passes the ball.
“…but I tell you what, they don’t need him doing that – they need him defensively.
“I watched the (Chelsea) game and, at times, his running back towards his own goal was at times non-existent.”