Jonjo Shelvey made his first Premier League start of 2019 on Saturday against Brighton.

The midfielder was even handed the captain’s armband in the absence of Jamaal Lascelles. Just starting came as a surprise, so getting the captaincy too was a real show of faith from Rafa Benitez.

(Photo by Mark Fletcher/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Shelvey coasted through the first half, with the Brighton players giving him the freedom of the pitch to spray passes about without breaking sweat.

This was both a blessing and a curse for the 27-year-old.

On the one hand, he was able to dictate play and pass at will. On the other, he didn’t do a lot with the ball.

For all his time in possession, Shelvey didn’t carve open the Brighton defence. In a half where we totally dominated, we didn’t create too many chances.

(Photo by Henry Browne/Getty Images)

Sure we missed out on a couple of penalties, but 1-0 at half time was fair considering the limited number of chances we had.

In the second half, Brighton regrouped and Shelvey was unable to influence proceedings before being replaced by Ki Sung-Yueng.

His performance has received mix reviews from supporters and it’s clear to see why. Some were impressed with the way he ran the first half, while others expected him to do a lot more with his chance.

(Photo by Serena Taylor/Newcastle United)

Shelvey divides opinion yet again

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