Both Andy Carroll and Jonjo Shelvey have been ruled out for Newcastle in their trip to the Emirates on Sunday.
There can’t be many clubs more unlucky than the Magpies with injuries so far this season, and there’s no doubt that they could seriously do with Shelvey as they go into this match.
The winter break has meant that both players have had a bit more time to get to fitness, but it proved to be too soon for both.
Carroll has been ruled out with a hip injury, and despite Bruce being hopeful of the number 7 returning for this game, he has been handed another setback, with the manager stating his hip as a ‘concern’ and a ‘frustration’.
Shelvey, on the other hand, has been ruled out with a hamstring injury since his side beat Chelsea in January, and was expected to have a chance for this game, but he will have to wait until they face Palace on February 22 for his next game.
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While Carroll and Shelvey are both experienced and valuable players of the squad, it is the latter who they will miss more.
Even if they have been unbeaten since his injury, they are undoubtedly missing one of their key attacking threats in Shelvey, even if he is a central midfielder.
Despite only playing 15 Premier League games this season due to a few injuries, he has picked up five goals – more than double any other player for the Magpies.
With Bruce tending to play a 5-4-1, it often leaves the striker isolated and rarely having goalscoring opportunities. This is proven by the fact that Joelinton averages just 1.5 shots per game, whereas midfielders and wingers such as Allan Saint-Maximin and Jonjo Shelvey average 1.7, proving the need to have midfielders who are capable of finishing.
Of course, like any match, let alone one away at the Emirates, the club will be expected to give up possession and chances are likely to be on the counter. But with the opportunity of leapfrogging Arsenal in the league, Shelvey will be a particularly big miss for this game.