Newcastle United were handed yet another defeat in the Premier League with a disheartening 2-0 loss against Arsenal at The Emirates Stadium thanks to goals from Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli.
Despite conceding two goals and not managing to give the travelling Toon supporters a goal of their own to celebrate, one player managed to stand head and shoulders above the rest of his teammates on the day and put in a solid display for the Tyneside club – Jonjo Shelvey.
Before being replaced by Isaac Hayden after 89 minutes, Shelvey had a total of 56 touches of the ball, more than any other Newcastle player on the day and managed to complete 40 of the 42 passes he attempted including four accurate long balls.
The midfielder also managed to prove himself to be a bit of a nuisance for Arsenal’s defensive players by having four shots at goal with three on target as well as managing to the woodwork.
Shelvey additionally played his part defensively as well by making three interceptions, three clearances and blocking one shot in the process.
This latest performance for the Toon earned the 29-year-old an overall match rating of 7.5/10, making him the highest-rated player on the day according to SofaScore, higher than Fabian Schar who was the only Newcastle defender that managed to not pick up a yellow card.
With this in mind, it’s safe to say Shelvey was Howe’s only shining light on this occasion in terms of individual performance.
Also, given how the newly appointed Newcastle manager previously said that he thinks Shelvey will be an “important” player for the Toon going forward, his performance today certainly backed that up.
Considering how Shelvey also managed to put in a solid display during Newcastle’s 3-3 draw against Brentford last weekend, it seems as though Howe’s arrival at St. James’ Park has revitalised the midfield man, which will be a big positive for everyone at the club.
Moving forward, with Newcastle’s next game putting them up against Norwich City in midweek, who are also fighting for their survival in the Premier League, if Shelvey can make it three impressive performances out of three and the players in front of him can get some goals while the defenders behind him can keep a clean sheet, this could give the team a great chance of picking up their win of the campaign.