Jonjo Shelvey was one of five changes that Rafa Benitez made to his team that had lost 3-0 to Watford on Saturday.
A vital match at West Brom and a big call for the Newcastle boss to make, the widespread changes sure to come in for major criticism/analysis if it all went wrong.
With the Baggies at 2-0 up it looked disastrous, even at 2-1 it appeared to have backfired, whilst the equaliser on 83 minutes saved the day/point and Newcastle almost won it in the end.
If you are glass half full then you will be thinking a great fightback but if you are of the other persuasion then no doubt you will wonder if a different team had started, then would Newcastle have the match?
Jonjo Shelvey encapsulated that and Tony Cottee says that ‘If Jonjo Shelvey is fit he should play’.
The Sky Sports pundit impressed with what he saw once Shelvey came off the bench with around 15 minutes to go including injury time.
Cottee adding ‘He gets in that midfield, he strolls around, he has got a fantastic range of passing and he was involved in everything going forward (in the final stages). Newcastle looked a better team with him in that side.’
So is Tony Cottee right and Rafa Benitez wrong, when it came to Shelvey being left out.
Obviously the midfielder has got ability but like the rest of the players recently, he hasn’t been great. After the Watford match, nobody could really have complained if they’d been dropped at The Hawthorns.
Obviously, we will never know what would have happened if Jonjo Shelvey (and others) had started against West Brom, though you would hope that whatever team Rafa had put out they wouldn’t have lost to a poor Baggies side who hadn’t won a game in over three months.
We’ll never know if Newcastle would have not been behind if Shelvey had started but likewise, if he had been selected, would he have been able to make such a difference as an impact sub at the end against a tired opposition, helping to inspire the equaliser and Newcastle to almost win it at the end?
Like all other managers Rafa Benitez will be judged on results in the final analysis (within the limitations of whoever owns Newcastle United) and last night was neither a win or a defeat for him and the team. A draw leaves everybody wondering if they are right….or wrong.
Interesting to see how Rafa sets his team up at Chelsea, I’m sure Jonjo Shelvey will be back in the team, but will it be at the expense of Isaac Hayden or Ayoze Perez?
Tony Cottee talking to Sky Sports:
“Jonjo Shelvey came on in the 79th minute.
“I haven’t followed Newcastle enough to know whether he’s been injured, whether he is out of favour, whether his performances have been bad.
“I know he got sent off at the start of the season.
“But for me, if Jonjo Shelvey is fit he should play.
“He gets in that midfield, he strolls around, he has got a fantastic range of passing and he was involved in everything going forward (in the final stages).
“Newcastle looked a better team with him in that side.”
Stats from BBC Sport:
West Brom 2 Newcastle 2
Newcastle: Clark 59, Evans (OG) 83
West Brom: Robson-Kanu 45+1, Field 56
Possession was West Brom 48% Newcastle 52%
Total shots were West Brom 8 Newcastle 14
Shots on target were West Brom 4 Newcastle 4
Corners were West Brom 1 Newcastle 6
Referee: Lee Probert
Darlow, Yedlin, Clark, Lejeune, Mbemba, Ritchie, Hayden (Shelvey 80), Merino, Murphy (Aarons 64), Perez, Joselu (Mitrovic 73)
Elliot, Manquillo, Gayle, Diame
Crowd: 25,534 (Newcastle 2,600)
(Read what Rafa Benitez said after the 2-2 draw HERE)
(Gary Megson refuses to give Newcastle any credit for fightback – Read HERE)
(Read the reaction from NUFC fans/writer to the West Brom match HERE)
(Alan Shearer ‘Feared the worst’ – Read HERE