Soccer / bournemouth
NUFC - JonJo Shelvey & 3 Amigos The Key To Pick Cherries Off On Dean Day
Newcastle United head into their Gameweek 31 encounter with Bournemouth at Dean Court on the back of a memorable 3-2 comeback against Everton knowing that a first Premier League away win of 2019 will put them level on 37 points with The Cherries. Rafa Benitez's Magpies have dramatically turned around the season this calendar year as disappointing early season form at St. James' Park has transformed into five straight home victories yet their normally better away form has evaporated with just one solitary point from four games on their 2019 travels so far. A good chance to register that first away win of the year exists against Eddie Howe's men, whom Newcastle beat comfortably 2-1 at St. James' Park in November thanks to a Salomon Rondon brace although the red and blacks have enjoyed good home wins against Chelsea and West Ham of late despite a 1-0 reverse against Man City last time. To achieve that aim, Newcastle need to be on their mettle defensively but also carry serious threat on the counter-attack and the return of playmaker JonJo Shelvey is key. Ki Sung-Yeung replaced the injured Sean Longstaff in the engine room alongside the in-form Isaac Hayden yet starting his first Newcastle game since The Asian Cup against Everton, Ki looked sluggish and it was no coincidence Newcastle's 81st minute equalizer and 84th minute winner came after Shelvey was introduced for him in the 79th minute. Playing like a man inspired, Shelvey raced around the St. James' Park pitch with the urgency of a man with a clear point to prove and a game to win and he switched up Newcastle's game to attack mode with 6 pinpoint raking passes and it was his corner that led to United's winner, finished with aplomb by man-of-the-moment Ayoze Perez. A mouthwatering prospect for any Toon fan is the sight of JonJo Shelvey with the ball at his feet and The Three Amigos - Miguel Almiron, Rondon and Perez ahead of him - with The Magpies' £20M record signing helping to drastically improve his new club's form: Fully fit and on form, Shelvey is arguably the best midfielder in England nevermind at Newcastle, a view echoed by his coaches with NUFC Coach 'Paco' Moreno saying: “He’s one of the best we have worked with technically. “We have worked some very good players too. “He has those attributes and he is a very good player technically, but also with other things. “In general we know that his level is good. “He knows he has to improve, but knows exactly what he needs to do to achieve that.” Any lingering doubts about Shelvey's temperament have to be offset by the fact he hasn't received a card of any colour in The Premier League since an unfortunate dismissal against Everton in late 2017 despite playing over 25 games since. Saturday's game is due to be officiated by Mike Dean, the referee who sent off Newcastle's DeAndre Yedlin for a yellow card offence at best and failed to send off Willy Boly for a clear elbow on Ayoze Perez when he refereed Newcastle's defeat by Wolves in December, prompting strong calls from manager Rafa Benitez for VAR technology 'now': "We need VAR right now," he said. "So if you see the incidents today. It's so obvious - the red card and the elbow in the face of Ayoze Perez. We need the VAR right now." Dean, who hails from the Wirral looked nonplussed (see video below 35 seconds in...) that Merseyside club Everton had seen their first half lead overturned by a scintillating second-half performance by Newcastle leading some Newcastle fans to speculate that 'Celebrity Ref' Dean was saving the dishing out of the 100th red card of his refereeing career for Newcastle. Yet with Newcastle, Shelvey and The Three Amigos in the mood they ended the game on Saturday, the Toon Rollercoaster can extend its momentum with back-to-back wins.