Phil Thompson has heaped praise on Newcastle United midfielder Jonjo Shelvey for his recent form, but doesn’t believe it will be enough to prevent his side form losing to Burnley on Saturday.
“A load of confidence will be seeping through Newcastle at the moment. They will not blow teams away, as I don’t think Joelinton and Miguel Almiron will score a bag full of goals. Allan Saint-Maximin will give them pace and strength and they will miss him, so the midfield has to chip in somewhere.
“The centre-backs are the leading goalscorers so set pieces will be vital for them.
“I think this will be a difficult test for Burnley, but I expect them to just come through this one.”
Thompson predicts a 1-0 Burnley win.
Shelvey has been magnificent of late, to be fair. The midfielder was struggling to get a look-in last season under Rafa Benitez, admittedly partially due to his injury issues, but ever since he was reinstated by Steve Bruce, he has been superb. Donning the armband in the absence of the injured Jamaal Lascelles, the 27-year-old has really stepped into the breach of late, and has been a large factor in the Toon Army’s recent run of good form. Three goals in his last three games is an eye-catching stat, but beyond that, Shelvey’s all-round game has been admirable too. A Whoscored rating of 7.17 so far this season, plus a match rating of 8.23 against Southampton last weekend, show that he is really hitting his stride and beginning to repay Steve Bruce’s faith in him. Hopefully he can keep that going against the Clarets on Saturday, and help to keep this Toon hype train rolling on.