The past week has seen Newcastle fail to score in consecutive 90 minutes for the first ever time under Rafa Benitez.
The dismal one goal defeat at home to Blackburn followed up with another two halves of football at the Kcom Stadium, when once again Newcastle rarely threatened to score.
Of course extra-time saw United eventually score through Mohamed Diame but little doubt that the Championship’s top goalscorers are backfiring a little at the minute.
Mitrovic and Perez were anonymous against Blackburn and the Hull game ended with Gayle & Diame joined on the pitch by the rarely seen Daryl Murphy. So no shortage of options but a conundrum for Rafa.
On the positive side, Tuesday’s away trip made it only three goals conceded (away from home) in 10 lots of 90 minutes, suggesting that there isn’t a lot wrong with Rafa’s reputation of building formidable defences.
Goals win matches though and all eyes will be on both team selection and formation against Nottingham Forest, at his pre-match press conference on Thursday the Newcastle boss says that it is essential you ‘rest players’.
Jonjo Shelvey has pulled the strings all season but maybe his energy levels are dipping, only Ciaran Clark and the midfielder playing every minute of these two games in recent days.
Can Newcastle find a way to potentially create and score without the playmaker?
With potential suspension looming and possible injury always just around the corner, maybe time for Jonjo Shelvey’s teammates to step up and show they can find other ways to get back on track.