Shelvey, 27, was taken off early in the second half to be replaced by debutant Jetro Willems, which led to tactical issues and resulted in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scoring the Gunners’ winner on a wet and windy Tyneside.
However speaking after the game, Magpies boss Bruce ruled out a long-term spell on the sidelines for the former Liverpool midfielder.
“We don’t think it’s serious,” he said, as quoted by Chronicle journalist Lee Ryder via his personal Twitter account on Sunday afternoon.
— Lee Ryder (@lee_ryder) August 11, 2019
Newcastle were looking quite comfortable up until the point Shelvey went off. The central midfielder was decent in possession, had a couple of shots at goal and even caused Arsenal’s attack some difficulty by winning two tackles, according to stats by WhoScored. However as soon as Shelvey was replaced by Willems, that is where all the problems started for Newcastle. It took a couple of minutes for Bruce to get his players playing in the right position as Matt Ritchie came inside to replace Shelvey and Willems moved into the left wing-back role. Those few minutes where the Magpies were at sea allowed Arsenal to get into the game and led to a couple of mistakes by the home side’s defence before the winning goal. Bruce is an experienced manager and he will know that he should be managing games better than he did. It also begs the question as to why there wasn’t a central midfielder on the bench to replace Shelvey. Where was Ki Sung-Yueng? Even Yoshinori Muto could have come on for Shelvey because he’s more adept at playing centrally than Ritchie.