It’s clear over the last two games that Newcastle are missing Jonjo Shelvey, but there are only three game left of his suspension and two of those are in the league so hopefully we’ll not drop too many points while he’s out.
But it does point to Newcastle being short of creativity when Jonjo is not part of the side and we have to get somebody in next month to take some of the creative pressure of Jonjo.
Chelsea’s Ruben Loftus-Cheek on loan and Alan Judge from Brentford are two players who could add to the creativity in central midfield and we’re sure Rafa will bring in some cover, since Jonjo may get injured and we must have somebody who can come in for him.
Dwight Gayle – got another two goals last night
Rafa’s also had good news that our three players who are off to the African Cup of Nations – Mohamed Diame, Christian Atsu and Chancel Mbemba – are all available for the game at Ewood Park on Monday night before they travel to link up with their national squads.
Benitez was asked after the game how many would be available for Monday night’s game:
“All of them. They are here until January 3.”
And Rafa was also asked about Jonjo Shelvey and he had this to say about the frustrated play-maker:
“He’s training as usual,” “He’s training hard. He has the same training as the others, but he’s not taking part in the tactical work.”
“He’s training very well. “The official position is very clear. He’s frustrated, because he has to be away from the team and he’s not happy with that.”
“If you think about how many games, and how many days, he’s suspended, it’s not many days in all.”
Newcastle did well last night to get all 3 points in what wasn’t an easy game and we didn’t play very well either, but we were helped by the sending off of Matt Mills after 60 minutes.
It’s strange how things tend to even themselves out over a season – we lost two players with red cards four weeks ago at the City Ground with the red cards then being rescinded.
So it was some level of justice that Forest had a player sent off last night and we don’t think Matt Mills’ red card will be rescinded – he got a yellow and then protested so much he was given a second yellow card and sent off.
That was really daft of the Forest player and it did seem to help us, although Rafa indicated after the game he thought at that point Newcastle were already taking control of the game.