The month of December was decent for Newcastle United as a team, but there were a few players who enjoyed a great run of form and developed consistency for the Magpies last month.
Newcastle United ended the month of December with back-to-back losses against Manchester United and Everton, but victories against Sheffield United, Southampton and Crystal Palace enabled Steve Bruce’s side to end the month in 11th place with 25 points. In total, Newcastle United scored seven goals in six games and claimed two clean sheets – one at home and one away.
The team struggled collectively against Manchester United and failed to play with urgency for 90 minutes against Everton, but a few players did perform at elite levels in the other three games. That being said, here are our selections for December’s Player of the Month.
Carson A. Merk
Player of the Month: Martin Dubravka
Jonjo Shelvey would have been my selection because of his impact when in the lineup, but he didn’t even appear in 1/3 of the matches in December. A similar case could be made for Miguel Almiron, but he also missed a match and had some glaring misses. All of that to say, my choice is Martin Dubravka, who still has not missed a Premier League match since arriving at Newcastle United.
Across the six matches in December, he allowed eight goals. Those numbers aren’t elite, but the blowout against Manchester United surely distorts things a bit. He finished the month with right around 30 saves and won three matches, including two clean sheets. Even in some of the defeats, the only thing keeping the match close on the scoreline was a big save from Dubravka. A perfect example being the early double save against Everton a few days ago.
Player of the Month: Jonjo Shelvey
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Newcastle United’s stand-in captain was a true leader for the team in the middle of the park last month. Shelvey scored two important goals against Sheffield United and Southampton, and he did well to orchestrate the majority of attacks from midfield in other games as well. Shelvey was on the bench against Manchester United and his creativity was certainly missed in midfield seeing that the Magpies were defeated by a three-goal margin.
Shelvey was also one of the only players, along with Isaac Hayden and Joelinton, who tried to string multiple passes together on the ground. The rest of the team would look to boot the ball 40 yards up the field and this led to wasted possessions in multiple games. Overall, Shelvey put his football acumen on display last month and we as fans can only hope that his trend of scoring goals continues in January.