These Are The Two Indispensable Players At Newcastle

We have seen how Newcastle are just a shadow of the side when Jonjo Shelvey isn’t in the line-up and some proof of that has been the last three games when Jonjo has been out because of his suspension.

We have failed to score twice in two 1-0 defeats to Sheffield Wednesday and Blackburn Rovers which has let our closest challengers for promotion –  Brighton and  Reading – gain 3 points on us over those three games.

That’s even though each of those clubs have only played two of those games with one of their games being postponed.


Jonjo Shelvey and Dwight Gayle – indispensable

That’s not good if we want to get an automatic promotion place, so it’s good that Jonjo will only miss one more league game – away at Brentford on 16th November – which could prove to be another tough game for Newcastle.

But the other player we cannot be without if we are to be promoted this season is striker Dwight Gayle, who has already scored 19 goals for us so far this season and is a natural goalscorer.

This lad can score goals out of nothing as he did to wrap the 3 points up against Nottingham Forest last Friday – but that win came with the help of the referee who sent off Matt Mills after 60 minutes with the score at 1-1.

It’s hardly surprising that Rafa Benitez – who was shocked at the 1-0 defeat yesterday afternoon at Blackburn because we were so dominant – wants to bring in a playmaker and a striker in the January transfer window.

It could be our failure to do that could have serious repercussions on our promotion chances in the event that either Shelvey or Gayle are injured or suspended in the run-in to this season.

We simply must get promoted this season – there is simply no room for failure.

What do you think?

Comments welcome.

22 comments so far

  • Bobbybee

    Jan 3, 2017 at 1:25 PM

    Comment #1

    77Bobbybee // Jan 3, 2017 at 1:21 PM

    Not going to get over excited by yesterday’s game. We dominated and lost. Happens regularly in football. Burnley v Liverpool – 29-71% for example. Celtic V Barcelona even less.
    My only problem is what I highlighted the other day. Without a like for like replacement for Shelvey we need to try a different formation. Colback with Shelvey is fine, but without him? Don’t work. Anita and The Gouff have lost that early season shine. Now we’ll lose Atsu and Diame and that’s a worry. Haven’t looked back at the post match comments because I don’t fancy throwing up. Bad run, that’s all. Rafa will put it right because he’s forgotten more that the entire blog put together will ever know. Keep the faith. Long way to go yet.

  • LGFUAD21

    Jan 3, 2017 at 1:25 PM

    Comment #2

    I think it is nonsense that we cant sign any decent players this season.

    Lets face it. It’s highly unlikely that we will go up and then be challenging for Europa League.

    There are decent players in the Championship that just need a chance in the Premier League. So this notion that any players we can sign now will be useless next year is stupid to me.

    Knockeart is one (though doubtful that)

    Ritchie and many of his Bournemouth colleagues are proving that players can make the step up.

    Not to mention players that have yoyo’d with their clubs like Snodgrass (yes he’s played for a very glamorous Hull and Norwich but he’s contributed more for both teams in the Prem than any of our recent foreign imports)

    We have it ingrained in us that players have to come pre-made for this league because of the money side of things but its nonsense.

    I’d rather see us go up with some proper P155 and Vinegar players like we had Nolan and Barton last time than simply go up, discard the efforts of our best players to recruit gambles from the continent.

  • LGFUAD21

    Jan 3, 2017 at 1:28 PM

    Comment #3


    I agree with Bobbybee.

    Without Shelvey’s creativity, we’re impotent.

    Better of switching to a 442 and playing more direct. And by direct I dont just mean hoofing balls.

    In Ritchie we have one of the best wingers in this league who we arent getting the best out of.

    Sadly Atsu is off but he’s a direct winger.

  • Tsunki

    Jan 3, 2017 at 1:28 PM

    Comment #4

    Lindisfarne – that’s a big danger with stats, yes we created loads of chances, but here’s a difference in the way those chances develop – by the time we have fashioned an attacking move, the opposition has got itself bedded in and organised while we pass and faff about. When Shelvey creates a through ball chance it usually catches the opposition in forward momentum, disorganised, back pedalling. Same when we win a tackle or intercept a loose ball in midfield and someone like diame or Gayle get onto a run. Our midfield is carving out slow momentum forward, no cutting edge.

  • LGFUAD21

    Jan 3, 2017 at 1:36 PM

    Comment #5

    Also re transfer links.

    I like the look of Hogan and Wilson. Both very smart team players even if they dont make headlines.

    But I would be sad if we let Mitro go for one of them.

    Mitro offers something different. Those 2 are very much in the same vein as Gayle and I think we are seeing how our lack of Plan B is hurting us.

  • Lindisfarne

    Jan 3, 2017 at 1:40 PM

    Comment #6

    If there was a vote for the worst player on the pitch, I would go for Diame who was for ever acknowledging his mistakes. Probably 8 out of 10 times he either miss-placed a pass or lost possession, he drives forward effectively but that does not make him a #10. Colback made his regular unnecessary and stupid foul which lead to the goal, but that is just like a goalkeeper making a mistake and giving a freebe.

    Our possession was so high because thats the way Rafa likes to play and it suited Blackburns gameplan, not because Colback / Hayden were particularly bossing the midfield. I despair at the quote Cathro gave about Rafa quickly seeing the intricacies of the game and adapting, half time was the obvious opportunity to address the fact that the quality of our shots and assists was not good enough. Both of the non-goals were actually derived from set pieces and the lack of supply was not aided by Diame, Gouffran, or Colback and although the fullbacks provided some passes/crosses they lacked the quality to provide real scoring chances.

  • LGFUAD21

    Jan 3, 2017 at 1:42 PM

    Comment #7


    Spot on.

    We do not have any tempo to our game.

    Who cares that teams are happy to let us pass it around the back 6.

    We created very few clear cut chances yesterday.

    We look terrified of playing in tight spaces so we advance only to pass backwards.

  • Lindisfarne

    Jan 3, 2017 at 1:43 PM

    Comment #8

    I am not sure we need a like for like replacement for Shelvey because that just leaves us continuing to rely on one player, the other forward / attacking players need to be better and be able to create chances themselves.

  • JamesToon

    Jan 3, 2017 at 1:43 PM

    Comment #9


    Shelvey is such a key player to this team, because as you say, he can spot a pass or opportunity where it is going to be a clear cut chance.

    This is why players like shelvey are such luxury players. Hes arguably the best english player in terms of vision and passing accuracy. He is essentially like an english xabi alonso.

    But surely then that means every team needs a shelvey esc player by the way we’re talking him up, how do brighton get by?

    Brighton play more direct, they concede possession, and rely on getting the ball in the box with the strikers, and getting the ball down the flanks for the wingers/full backs to cross, and also rely on Knockaert creating something out of nothing.

    Without shelvey i think rafa does need to change the style up a bit. With shelvey/ritchie/hayden on their day, we’re the best team to watch in the league, the passing is slick, crisp and at a high tempo, we create chance after chance, and we close down the ball out of possession, we dont allow the opposition to settle in. Examples of this are 3-0 v ipswich, 6-0 v qpr, 6-0 v preston, 4-0 v birmingham, 3-1 brentford.

    But as i said without shelvey, i think rafa needs to sacrifice the nice free flowing football a bit, maybe go 2 up top or at least have gayle behind mitro or murphy, concentrate on getting bodies in the box, getting the ball out to the wingers and crossing it.

  • Nufc-83

    Jan 3, 2017 at 1:44 PM

    Comment #10

    I cant believe Coldback is recieving so many votes for MOM! He was a disgrace yesterday playing lots of 2 yard balls but offering nothing going forward and giving away silly fouls constantly to take the pressure off Blackburn.

    It is clear that we cant play with Hayden and Coldback as our CM as they both dont have an attacking bone in their bodies so I am not sure what Rafa is doing. Simple answer would have been to drop diame into a cm role and then put Murphy/mitro up top with Gayle. We really needed a sloppy goal yesterday as its clear we had no space with blackburn sticking 10 men on the line and mitro/murphy would have helped get that.

    Looking at the team in terms of premiership ready then my god Rafa will have to purchase 9-10 prem quality players to allow us to even compete with a mid-low table prem teams.

  • Charlie in the Gallowgate

    Jan 3, 2017 at 1:44 PM

    Comment #11

    previous post
    posada @64


    Aye need a new striker or play with two to take the weight off Gayle – fear he is going to miss a few games as the opposition have cottoned on to him and in the last few games have been kicking lumps out of him.

    First signing for me of players I have seen in the Championship would be Wildshutt from Wigan – took Dummett to the cleaners

  • Rotonda heights

    Jan 3, 2017 at 1:44 PM

    Comment #12

    Mag 52

    It certainly would worry me if it wasn’t you who called me it. If you really didn’t then I do apologise. Somebody did and I thought it had been you. I apologise unreservedly if it wasn’t.

  • Rotonda heights

    Jan 3, 2017 at 1:45 PM

    Comment #13


    wums voting for colback.

  • JamesToon

    Jan 3, 2017 at 1:46 PM

    Comment #14


    I very much trust rafa will change and adapt, we saw a different kind of nufc against bristol, derby, second half v wigan and v burton, however that was when the opposition was attacking us more, so there was more space for us, however i still trust rafa will find a formula where we will create more chances against teams who park the bus at SJP and when we dont have shelvey.

  • JamesToon

    Jan 3, 2017 at 1:47 PM

    Comment #15

    Lets just think about the fans reaction though if we did win that game 2-1 and the goals disallowed were allowed. People would just be saying, we dominated so much we should have had more anyway etc.

  • clinath@ed

    Jan 3, 2017 at 1:48 PM

    Comment #16

    I too thought Rafa would “TWEAK” his formation to accommodate Shelvey’s absence. Unless you count another holding midfielder coming in, bit negative for me…
    Lilongwe put forward the notion that Rafe wont move away from 4231 and that it is “forcing” the players to adapt and prepare fr next season.

  • Toonfan8

    Jan 3, 2017 at 1:48 PM

    Comment #17

    Mag52 // Jan 3, 2017 at 12:12 PM

    A number of bloggers are expressing their frustration on here at Rafa’s formation and tactics. Understandably so following another loss, as our rivals closed the gap for the automatic promotion places.
    We’re all top managers in our own minds, and this criticism doesn’t mark them out as mackems, trolls, wums, or any other derogatory epithets.
    Rafa has ticked every box a fan could have since taking over here.
    On the pitch he gets most things right, but he also gets things wrong, and he is usually amongst the first to accept this ( the losses around the time of the cup match v Hull).
    The idea that we should all wear the same rose coloured spectacles through which Rafa can do no wrong and that any criticism of him is a hanging offence is plainly ludicrous.
    If the last nine matches have shown anything it is that, with five losses, our dominance of this league is, hopefully temporarily, over, and we’re now looking over our shoulder at the chasing pack.
    The time to reassert our authority is now while we have a slight advantage over the chasers. If this means giving our opponents something else to think about with a change in setup or personnel, so be it. I’m sure Rafa is as well aware of this as anyone.
    In the meantime I’m sure the bloggers will be happy to continue to give him any advice he may need ( as if he reads this blog).

    I totally agree with this comment, nobody on this blog wants Rafa to do bad, but we are not blind to see, that everything is ok, when its not. Without Shelvey we look hopeless, Gayle is good striker, but he is not the type, that can take a ball on the halfline and score a goal like HBA, he needs support, and this support for his is not exist. Gouffran, Ritchie cannot take on defenders, Diame can, but he is missing stanima and also his first touch is not good enough, Colback, Hayden also can pass only sidewasy or back. Dummett and Anita are too defensive, and when you look at that, you can see, that Gayle is alone, Ritchie can do something, but he looks ordinary now. And what we want to say is that we have options Atsu can change a game, Mitro can change a game, Yedlin and Lazaar can be both threat from full backs, maybee even Mbemba can help to be quicker in feeding our midfield players, because Lascelles and Clark, pass to Darlow too many times…

  • hibbit

    Jan 3, 2017 at 1:52 PM

    Comment #18

    its absolutely amazing how many posters we have on here with years league management experience

  • Bobbybee

    Jan 3, 2017 at 2:00 PM

    Comment #19

    LFG, Knockeart makes Brighton tick. Like Shelvey. But they have others who can step in if required. They have a better balanced team than we have and it shows. I said this the other day. Sadly we look distinctly like a one man team and that’s scary.
    We need another little striker for when Gayle goes off form, yet the best is on loan. If we lose Arma due to lack of interest, I guarantee we’ll live to regret it. Looks like Roberts is going to Kilmarnock on loan at the same time we lose Atsu – along with Woody. I would never dream of telling Rafa how to do his job, so I’m assuming he sees what we see. We can’t afford to bungle through until Shelvey gets back or Brighton will be out of sight. 4231 works with Shelvey pulling the strings, but clearly it’s not working without him. Perez, The Gouff and Anita are too inconsistent to keep picking. You can’t carry one player, let alone three.
    So, I expect Rafa to buy. Roberts could’ve stepped into Atsu’s shoes but he’s away on loan. Rafa is also against playing youth in this league as he stated at the start of the season, so he won’t bring Arma back. I just hope to God he doesn’t leave him at Barnsley because hoof ball isn’t helping his game one bit. We clearly lack creativity in the team and it needs to change rapidly.

  • Toonfan8

    Jan 3, 2017 at 2:01 PM

    Comment #20

    we are just talking what is best from our point of view, we are fans, who follow football for years and I think that we can say, that player I like, that I dont…sorry, but if you think, that only manager can say something, then why you were arguing against Pardews team selections? or Carver or McClaren, they are in a game longer than any on this blog, but that doesnt mean that their decision is the best one…

  • Lindisfarne

    Jan 3, 2017 at 2:07 PM

    Comment #21

    Here are some stats:

    Although Hayden had a comparatively low pass completion, he supplied by far the most accurate passes and beating Colback by a third more.

    Diame and Dummett actually supplied the most key passes but the latter had twice as many attempts.

    Haydens number of touches and possession were twice as much as Colback or Diame.

    Goufran had 5 shots with only one on target, Ritchie 4 shots off target.

    NUFC attempted twice as many dribbles but all of Bburns were successful.

  • Moonraker15

    Jan 3, 2017 at 4:12 PM

    Comment #22

    We all have opinions about players, team selection etc., but none of us has the skill, knowledge and experience of Rafa and NO ONE has a greater desire for promotion than him! So please let him get on with it ffs!
    I’ve said before that I would have brought on Atsu and Murphy at 60 mins but if One of those chances had gone in then it would be different; it’s easy to say that when the game is finished!
    Please lay off Rafa; he loves the Toon supporters , city and club and if he leaves we are in deep sh1t!


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