Adrian Clarke looks at six players who could be instrumental to their side’s hopes of staying in the Premier League.
It suits Shelvey, who was outstanding in the 3-0 home win over Saints, to have fast players in front of him.
The 26-year-old loves to try long-range passes behind defenders, so he needs willing runners.
|Forward passes||Succ. final third passes||Accurate long balls||Through balls|
|Lascelles, 397||Ritchie, 209||Shelvey, 99||Shelvey, 12|
|Shelvey, 383||Shelvey, 167||Lejeune, 67||Perez, 10|
|Clark, 348||Merino, 164||Clark, 61||Merino, 6|
No one else in Rafael Benitez’s side can deliver pinpoint passes or crosses from distance like Shelvey.
He can be frustrating, losing possession frequently as he ignores the easy option and attempts something more ambitious, but his ability to split defences is second to none at St James’ Park.
Shelvey is ranked second behind Matt Ritchie for chances created at Newcastle this season, having produced 27 key passes in 17 starts, but he can improve upon that ratio.
He could also chip in with more goals as he is yet to score in 2017/18. And, boasting a 32 per cent accuracy rate from crosses, he should try to bend more balls into the box from wide areas, too.
He is a fabulous crosser but has delivered just 19 from open play this term.
Shelvey is a man in form and having a game-changer of his talent improves Newcastle’s prospects of preserving their top-flight status.
Part 1: Tadic creativity key to Saints' destiny
Part 2: Assured Mawson Swansea's shining light
Part 3: Why Milivojevic is central to Palace's hopes
Part 4: Unfamiliar role adds to value of Cresswell
Part 6: Schindler has strength for Huddersfield's tests ahead