Newcastle United were poor against Bournemouth on Saturday, and missed the presence of Jonjo Shelvey in midfield.
The Magpies drew 1-1 at St James’ Park, making it five draws from their opening seven games. It was a disappointing afternoon for Eddie Howe’s side, who failed to make the most of their dominance.
The result leaves Newcastle with eight points from their opening seven games, but it could have been so much more.
But while performances have largely been decent, that was not the case against Bournemouth. Howe was without a fair few key players, and one absentee was a huge miss.
Newcastle missed Shelvey
While Callum Wilson and Allan Saint-Maximin would have been welcome additions to the Newcastle XI, it’s Shelvey who was missed the most.
The 30-year-old hasn’t played a single minute all season, having undergone hamstring surgery after picking up an injury against Benfica in a friendly.
In his absence, Bruno Guimaraes has played in the ‘six’ role, operating in the middle of the midfield trio. He returned from his own injury against Bournemouth, but was nowhere near his best. The Brazilian clearly wasn’t fully fit.
However, he would have been better used further up the pitch. His passing could have helped break the Bournemouth lines and create more chances on what was a frustrating afternoon inside St James’ Park. And that would have been possible if Shelvey, who was previously called a ‘Rolls Royce of a player’ by Isaac Hayden, had been available.
The former Liverpool midfielder was a huge miss. His quality at the base of midfield could have unlocked the stubborn Bournemouth defence, and his presence would have allowed Bruno to play in a more advanced role.
Instead, Newcastle had Joe Willock and Joelinton playing higher up, with neither providing the moment of magic required to secure all three points.
Shelvey has previously polarised opinion on Tyneside, but it is clear that we are missing him in his absence. Hopefully it isn’t long before he returns.