If Jonjo Shelvey’s FA charge of allegedly abusing Wolves’ Romain Saiss by using abusive language about his race, ethnicity or nationality is upheld – he is likely to get a five match ban.
And we wonder how much a loss Jonjo would be to the Newcastle side, since he provides most of the creativity coming from central midfield.
Newcastle have won their last eight games straight and Jonjo has started every game in that wun so what can Rafa do to minimize how much we’ll miss the England International?
Jack Colback – central midfielder
We think that Rafa will publicly say the loss of Jonjo can be managed and that we have other players who can play in that role and need to step up to the plate.
Newcastle have played before with Jack Colback and Isaac Hayden as the two holding midfielders although neither player has the vision of Shelvey.
Another player who can play there is Vurnon Anita who has been playing right back for Newcastle, but he could revert to his more normal central midfield position.
Two other players who may be able to provide some level of creativity there are Mohammed Diame and even Yoan Gouffran – with Diame being the more obvious choice.
Yoan has been playing extremely well on the left wing this season and e’s scored four goals and maybe Rafa will check out the Frenchman in training to see if he could play that role in Jonjo’s absence.
Yoan played there last season at the Etihad Stadium against Manchester City when we were 1-0 up after 41 minutes, but the team completely collapsed and lost 6-1 with all six goals coming in a short 20 minutes with Sergio Aguero getting five.
Yoan will not have happy memories of that game but he has renewed confidence this season under manager Benitez and may be able to do a job there for the team.
Maybe the four players to choose from are Colback, Hayden, Anita and Diame and of course we also have Cheick Tiote but most of them are defensive midfield players.
The two tough games we have in the next five games are at Leeds United and Hull City in the 5th round of the EFL Cup.
The other games are against lower placed sides in the Championship.
Here are the next five games.
November Sun 20 13:15 A Leeds United Sat 26 15:00 H Blackburn Tue 29 17:45 A Hull - EFL Cup December Fri 02 19:45 A Nottm Forest Sat 10 15:00 H Birmingham
Who do you think could play in Jonjo’s place?