Newcastle United eased off their relegation fears on Sunday by beating Chris Wilder’s Sheffield United 3-0, giving them a rather vital three points that should secure them another season in the Premier League.
There were some top displays across the whole of the team, and it would perhaps be harsh for Steve Bruce to change any of the side and go again with the same starting line-up against Dean Smith’s Aston Villa.
However, one man who may drop out is Jonjo Shelvey. Out of the players who started on the pitch, the 28-year old was the worst performing, picking up a 6.7 rating on Sofascore.
Whilst this is arguably not terrible, Shelvey ranked low amongst his teammates for some key stats for a central midfield player, which could be punished for against Villa.
The Englishman won five duels all game, the second lowest out of the midfielders behind Miguel Almiron, and he did not register a single shot on target, successful dribble or key pass.
Shelvey also failed to intercept the ball and lost it 13 times in the match, as per the website.
Nabil Bentaleb may provide a better option for the Magpies, especially if they want to combat Villa’s likely three-man midfield given how they set up against Chelsea.
The 25-year old has averaged more tackles and interceptions than Shelvey so far in the 2019/20 season (via Whoscored), and this may be crucial as they could be an extra man short in midfield.
Who should Newcastle start vs Aston Villa?
Nevertheless, the Toon will be hoping that they can win this battle, and the Algerian international could be key to this given his relatively large stature and physical attributes compared to Shelvey.
Geordies, do you think Bruce will make any changes? Comment below!
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