Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez has delivered some exciting news heading into the clash against Arsenal on Saturday with Jonjo Shelvey and Matt Ritchie in the squad.
The Magpies, who sit third bottom in the Premier League, are looking to pick up their first win of the season after four games, and will do so with the services of the midfielder and winger after missing them through injury in the 2-1 defeat to Manchester City before the international break.
Confirming the major attacking boost, journalist Mark Douglas quoted the Spaniard as saying: “Shelvey & Ritchie are training. No injury issues- Shelvey & Ritchie are in the squad for Arsenal.”
Rafa: 'Shelvey & Ritchie are training. No injury issues- Shelvey & Ritchie are in the squad for Arsenal.'
— Mark Douglas (@MsiDouglas) September 14, 2018
This is massively significant for Newcastle, because Ritchie and Shelvey are perhaps the most influential players in the first team squad. They are both the designated set piece takers, and they are two who the rest of the side will rely on when needing a creative spark. Ki Sung-Yeung has not filled the central star’s boots while Ritchie’s quality down the flank has been sorely missed. The likes of Salomon Rondon should flourish with the pair back in the reckoning against the Gunners, and if the back line can stay resolute then Benitez will be confident about sneaking a draw, if not a surprise win, out of Unai Emery’s men, who simply are not of the same quality that Manchester City or Chelsea – Newcastle’s last two opponents – are. Still, everyone will have to be on their game because the Gunners are no pushovers, and if anyone slips up they have the attacking prowess to put you to the sword.