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Opinion

One thing I can’t fault Steve Bruce on…

11 months ago
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When Steve Bruce arrived, he quickly made Jonjo Shelvey his key player.

The team set up around the midfielder in the pre-season.

The Premier League kicked off and after two games Steve Bruce had dropped Jonjo Shelvey.

The opening day had seen a poor performance from the midfielder and his teammates as Arsenal arrived missing most of their best players, Newcastle not forcing the Gunners keeper into a serious save.

Next followed a real shocker, Newcastle losing 3-1 at Norwich when it could have been five or six.

Jonjo Shelvey actually scored the late consolation but that didn’t hide the fact he had been woeful, as Norwich completely dominated Newcastle.

Steve Bruce had totally changed Rafa’s formation to accommodate/suit Shelvey, instead of 5-2-3/5-2-2-1, the new NUFC Head Coach playing instead 5-3-2, which in reality was 5-3-1-1.

Joelinton totally isolated, with Almiron having to cover a massive space in behind, whilst Jonjo Shelvey was given a lot of freedom off defensive duties as a third central midfielder, protected by the other two more defensive midfielders.

The tactics were a disaster and Steve Bruce said so himself, reverting back to Rafa’s formation and dropping Jonjo Shelvey.

Moving forward to the present day and it is a very different story, Jonjo Shelvey has suddenly become Newcastle’s most dangerous goal threat, showing far more desire than we ever previously seen, to get into the box and put the ball in the net.

When you look at his career history in the Premier League you can see this season’s stats are a real stand out (all Jonjo Shelvey Premier League goals and assists stats via whoscored.com):

(2010/11) 0 + 1 (Liverpool)

(2011/12) 1 + 0 (Liverpool)

(2012/13) 1 + 0 (Liverpool)

(2013/14) 6 + 6 (Swansea)

(2014/15) 3 + 5 (Swansea)

(2015/16) 1 + 5 (Swansea and Newcastle)

(2017/18) 1 + 3 (Newcastle)

(2018/19) 1 + 1 (Newcastle)

(2019/20) 5 + 0 (Newcastle)

In 852 minutes and only 10 Premier League starts (plus one sub appearance), Jonjo Shelvey has scored five goals.

Quite remarkable it seems now that only two months ago Steve Bruce chose to give 19 year old Matty Longstaff his first ever minutes in the Premier League rather than rely on Shelvey.

Even more remarkable that before this season, Jonjo Shelvey had scored only three Premier League goals in the previous four years and four months.

As an attacking midfielder and somebody who can strike the ball so well, his goal stats are pretty shocking overall. As is the fact that this season’s goal at West Ham, was his first ever in the PL direct from a free-kick.

He has the ability to do so much more, he should score far more goals AND get many more assists.

Only four in these past two and a half seasons in the Premier League is woeful.

So congratulations to Steve Bruce on this one, finding the key to Shelvey’s goalscoring.

Now he just needs to get the midfielder adding assists…

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