After Jonjo Shelvey was handed a five-match ban for racially aggravating misconduct, the fans’ immediate thoughts were on how to replace the instrumental midfielder who has been so key this season for United.
Shelvey originally denied the claims that he said abusive comments towards an opponent in the game against Wolverhampton Wanderers earlier this season. However, he was proven wrong and handed a hefty fine of £100,000, whilst also being ordered to attend an education programme.
How will we replace Jonjo? We have three central midfielders on the roster who could fill the void whilst he is unable to play.
The first is Isaac Hayden. Hayden has been impressive in his performances for Newcastle so far this season and he would be the obvious replacement. I’m sure Rafa will be looking at the young midfielder as an option to replace Shelvey. Hayden’s only downside has got to be his creativity. However, he has shown strength and power when he runs through defences and sets up goals. The former Arsenal midfielder will definitely play in the five games.
The other alternative would be Cheick Tiote. The Ivory Coast man has featured on United’s bench in recent games and I’m sure he would be desperate to play on the St James’ turf. Tiote is a defensive style of player and he would help United keep the opposition’s goal tally to zero. The tough anchorman is a skilful player who I would welcome back to the starting eleven in Shelvey’s absence.
The third option is Vurnon Anita. Anita is very versatile. He has mainly played at right back but he would be a safe option for Rafa. He is a sturdy midfielder who very rarely makes a mistake. His versatility has seen him in many positions this season – including at right back or even right midfield. The tactically astute Dutchman could be playing in the middle during the next few weeks.
United could even play Mo Diame in the deeper role. He has been playing in front of Jonjo as the attacking midfielder. The Senegalese powerhouse dropped into midfield late into the Wigan game and could add a creative aspect to this team.
The final option would be to buy in the January transfer window. A name which has been in the rumour mill has been Ruben Loftus-Cheek. Rafa has supposedly shown interest in the young Chelsea midfielder and he would be a good option if we were to replace Shelvey.
In 22 league appearances, Shelvey has scored three and assisted six. – that’s nine goals he has directly contributed to. Only Dwight Gayle has contributed more. His pass completion rate has been 80.6% and he averages 54 passes per game; Newcastle will certainly miss his creativity.
Jonjo Shelvey will be a big miss to Newcastle. We will lose our creative genius and will surely miss his passing ability which has been key to our success so far. However, racial comments are not acceptable and it is disappointing to hear one of our players has dished out some offensive comments on a football pitch. Jonjo deserves his ban and fine; there’s no question about it.