Nottingham Forest have signed more than 25 players in their return to the English Premier League. They were looking to make a mark on their return and build a team that could help them stay in the top division for more than one season. However, things have not gone as expected, and Nottingham Forest are struggling in the bottom half of the table. They did some transfer business in the recent window to further improve the squad. One of the signings was former Liverpool and Newcastle United midfielder Jonjo Shelvey. The 30-year-old holds 273 games of experience in the English Premier League. As Nottingham Forest looks to battle relegation, we look at some of the stats of Jonjo Shelvey that show what the player could add to this Forest team.
One of the reasons behind this move was the lack of playing time for Jonjo Shelvey at Newcastle United. The Magpies have a pretty settled squad and are competing for European places. Jonjo Shelvey made just three league appearances, all coming off the bench.
Last two seasons at St. James’ Park
In the 2020–21 and 2021–22 seasons, the midfielder was a regular part of Newcastle United’s squad. He made 30 appearances in the 2020–21 season and 24 in the next. The above two visuals show the pizza chart from these two seasons. The pizza chart shows the percentile rank in comparison to other defensive midfielders in the league. In the 2020-21 season, the player was highly ranked for taking shots, xG and winning defensive duels. In the following struggle, he had a good rank for shots but struggled in every other department of the field. Jonjo Shelvey has an aggressive nature and is not a defensive midfielder who likes to sit in the back. He looks to get involved in attacking plays and takes a shot whenever possible. He can also deliver dangerous passes and break the opposition’s defence. The player gave decent performances in a Newcastle United shirt.
The creative side
Jonjo Shelvey provided four assists combined in the past two seasons. Of these four assists, three came in the 2020–21 season. The player is active on set-piece duties and can be handy in delivering corners or wide free-kicks into the opposition penalty box.
In the 2021–22 season, Shelvey averaged 34.85 passes per 90 minutes and had an accuracy rate of 83.5%. These included 7.05 passes to the final third (67.6% accuracy) and 1.45 to the final third (48.6% accuracy). The 30-year-old delivered 12.53 forward passes in the previous season.
The 2020–21 season saw Shelvey make more appearances and spend more minutes on the field. Shelvey averaged 40.71 passes per 90 minutes, but his accuracy rate was a bit low at 78.3%. The passes to the final third averaged 8.8 per 90 minutes (59.6% accuracy), and the average number of passes delivered to the penalty box was 2.22 (41.4% accuracy). The forward passes also averaged more, at 13.78 per 90 minutes.
The first visual above shows all the progressive passes made by the player in the past two seasons. It can be observed that these passes have been attempted from both sides of the field. However, the midfielder prefers to deliver such passes mostly from the right side. The progressive passes that have landed in the penalty box have been long and attempted from a distance. This shows that Shelvey likes to dictate the play by sitting in the middle of the park.
Jonjo Shelvey is not known for making progressive runs with the ball. However, he could be the key to breaking the opposition’s attack and building a counterattack from that break in play.
One of the primary duties of a defensive midfielder is to become a shield in front of the centre-backs and help their side defend the goal. Jonjo Shelvey will also be expected to play a similar role. However, there have been a few disciplinary issues, and that will be a bit of a concern for the Forest manager.
The above viz shows the defensive territory of the player in the 2020–21 season. Shelvey contested 4.48 defensive duels (60.3% win rate), 1.81 aerial duels (43.9% win rate), and 2.06 loose ball duels (47.7% win rate) per 90 minutes. He averaged 3.97 interceptions, and a few came inside his team’s penalty box. The player was decent at winning duels but gave away some fouls in the defensive third. These free kicks tend to put pressure on the team’s defence.
Last season was a bit different for the defensive midfielder. He contested 3.73 defensive duels (50% win rate), 0.91 aerial duels (40.9% win rate), and 1.7 loose ball duels (63.4% win rate) per 90 minutes. The interception rate was a bit similar at 4.11 per 90 minutes. His defensive discipline also improved. The player averaged around 0.9 fouls per 90 minutes in the last season, and in the 2021–22 season, the average is around 0.7 fouls per 90 minutes. Steve Cooper will expect him to show the same amount of discipline for Nottingham Forest.
Threat from outside the penalty box
Jonjo Shelvey is not known for scoring goals, but when he does, those goals are usually bangers from outside the penalty box. In the last two seasons combined, the player had three goals to his name. In the 2020-21 season, the midfielder averaged 1.3 shots per 90 minutes with a 24.4% accuracy rate. In the last season, he averaged 1.2 shots and had an accuracy rate of 48.3%. The xG map above shows that the player attempts most of the shots from outside the penalty box. It will be interesting to see how Shelvey scores his first goal for Forest.
The 1×2 odds are likely to have a minor effect from Shelvey’s signing. He wasn’t a regular this season and lacks game time. As for the over/under lines, the underlines could thrive. Shelvey has more of a defensive mindset, which means that the matches he plays in can turn out to be low-scoring.
Nottingham Forest will rely on the experience of this former Liverpool and Newcastle United midfielder. He is an aggressive player and also has a bit of creativity in his game. Shelvey will look to make full use of the minutes he gets in a Nottingham Forest shirt and help them to ensure safety this season.
Visuals via TFA data viz engine