Newcastle United returned to Premier League action with a 2-1 victory at home to West Bromwich Albion on Saturday afternoon for the first time in over two weeks.
Miguel Almiron opened the scoring after Joelinton took advantage of a poor clearance from West Brom defender Branislav Ivanovic.
However, Newcastle were caught unawares when Darnell Furlong scored at the start of the second half, with Jamal Lewis at fault for the equaliser.
But Bruce would have the last laugh as ex-Baggie Dwight Gayle came off the bench to score against his former club, having spent a spell on loan at the Hawthorns.
Almiron showed flashes of his overall brilliance, Gayle looked back to his very best during his brief cameo, but Jonjo Shelvey was the real hero as he marked his second consecutive start for the Magpies with an assured display in the midfield.
SofaScore gave the 28-year-old a high grade of 7.5 out of ten for his efforts – the highest out of any Newcastle player on the pitch. He won four out of his six duels, had one shot blocked and was fouled once, whilst he made two tackles, two interceptions and one clearance, which suggests that he contributed defensively as well.
Shelvey took 72 touches of the ball and clearly made all of that possession count as he bossed the midfield, spraying passes left, right and centre, as he made two key passes and provided 47 out of 54 passes (87%).
He received an even higher rating of 8/10 from ChronicleLive, who claimed he was ‘Newcastle’s pass master in the middle’, whilst 90min were also effusive in their praise for the midfielder, insisting he ‘made the most of the time he was afforded on the ball by a lacklustre West Brom and made some crisp vertical passes.’
Having been beaten by Chelsea at home, Bruce’s side have now won two games on the bounce, including a 2-0 win away at Crystal Palace. With Shelvey back in the mix, the midfield finally looks solid, as Newcastle have now scored four goals in their past two games in the Premier League.
In nearly 150 appearances for the club, Shelvey has bagged 15 times and 21 assists in all competitions, including a goal against Newport County in the EFL Cup earlier this season.
With Newcastle currently eleventh in the top flight, we suspect that the midfielder may have a part to play as they seek to cement their place further up the table.