Since we beat Burton Albion 2-1 to get our third win in a row on 17th December we have played four games and lost two games in the Championship 1-0 to both Sheffield Wednesday and 3rd bottom Blackburn.
We did beat Nottingham Forest 3-1 at home, but were helped with a sending off of defender Matt Mills after 60 minutes when the score was 1-1.
At Birmingham City yesterday, who are not doing very well this season – we could only draw 1-1 in the 3rd round of the FA Cup and the second half was boring and Newcastle seemed to lack urgency.
Jonjo Shelvey – is poor form completely due to this player being missing?
So it’s been a lapse in form that has seen Brighton overtake us at the top of the Championship and Reading close the gap in 3rd place.
Of course all of this coincides with Jonjo Shelvey being out of the side through suspension and he has only one more game to serve in his five game suspension – the game at Brentford next Saturday and then he’s back.
The general wisdom is Newcastle’s bad form is totally down to Jonjo not playing and we have looked very slow in our build up with the sweeping passes all over the filed that Shelvey can provide simply not there.
If it is due to Shelvey being missing and we do have an uptick in form and results when he returns, it does mean that Rafa Benitez needs to bring in another central midfielder who can do the job when Jonjo Shelvey is not playing.
Certainly we have had nobody who can do that over the last four games.
Heaven help us now if Jonjo picks up an injury and is out for any length of time – and that has to be a real worry for Benitez.
As well as being slow in the build up in attack Newcastle have also missed chances.
We should have had the Blackburn game won at half time, but missed too many of our chances and even yesterday in that first 20 minutes after Daryl Murphy had put us 1-0 up we still should have scored more goals.
But we didn’t and Birmingham came back into the game and they could have even won it yesterday.
With Newcastle missing so many chances, the conventional wisdom is that we must bring in another striker who can put the ball in the back of the net when a chance arises.
If we cannot get any reinforcements in this month then our chances of promotion would seem to be a little dodgy and too dependent on players like Shelvey and Gayle staying fit and being available for the rest of the season.
It’s been a down turn in form for Newcastle since Shelvey has been out and we have looked an ordinary team and certainly the results have been ordinary too.
Hopefully Benitez can fix the problem this month by getting at least two players in – a playmaker and a striker.
What do you think?