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Martin Dubravka or Jonjo Shelvey - who has been Newcastle's player of the season?

:Headline: Martin Dubravka or Jonjo Shelvey - who has been Newcastle's player of the season?:
The Sports Mole team select who they believe has been Newcastle United's player of the season so far - will it be Martin Dubravka or Jonjo Shelvey?

It has been a strange season in many ways for Newcastle United; the general feel around the team is arguably worse than it was last season, despite them actually being four points better off than at the same stage of the 2018-19 campaign.

A lot of that may be down to the perception of the manager, with former Sunderland boss Steve Bruce proving less popular than his predecessor Rafael Benitez, but the Magpies are now only five points adrift of the 40-point mark.

Newcastle went into the coronavirus shutdown sitting 13th in the table, and during the break the club have moved much closer to a long-awaited takeover.

Any departure of Mike Ashley will be celebrated by the fans - even if their prospective new owners are controversial in much more serious ways - and the 2019-20 season could therefore be a seminal one in the club's history.

But who has impressed most on the field for the Magpies? Here, the Sports Mole team select who they believe has been Newcastle's player of the season so far.

Barney Corkhill, Editor: Martin Dubravka

It has been quite a bizarre season for Newcastle - overall they will be happy with how things have gone, but no single player has stood out. Their problems in attack have been well documented and their defensive record is not particularly great either, which makes selecting their player of the season a difficult task.

No team in the entire division has scored fewer goals, and considering that Jonjo Shelvey is their top scorer with five and the next highest has two, while no-one has contributed more than three assists, the player of the season has to come from their defensive unit.

The one area that Newcastle have impressed is in clean sheets, and so Martin Dubravka gets the nod for me. Only four goalkeepers have kept more shutouts than the Slovakian this term and, while that can also be attributed to those in front of him, no keeper has made more saves than his 117 either.

Dubravka certainly hasn't been faultless, though, making more errors leading directly to goals than any other Premier League player this season, and so his selection here is really only down to a lack of other options.

Matt Law, Football Editor: Martin Dubravka

For me, this is not a difficult decision. Dubravka has been in excellent form for Newcastle during the 2019-20 campaign, keeping nine clean sheets in 29 Premier League appearances.

Only Kasper Schmeichel, Alisson Becker, Dean Henderson and Nick Pope have produced more shutouts in the top flight this season, and Dubravka has been consistently impressive for the Magpies.

The 31-year-old has also made more saves (117) than any other goalkeeper in the Premier League this season, some way ahead of Bernd Leno (104) and Aaron Ramsdale (103) in second and third respectively.

Steve Bruce's side have struggled for consistency this season but Dubravka has been excellent.

Darren Plant, Senior Reporter: Jonjo Shelvey

No Newcastle United player has stood out this season, so Jonjo Shelvey edges this for me. The midfielder has five goals from his 17 Premier League appearances, four of which have contributed to an important result for the Magpies.

While his stunner against Manchester City at St James' Park will live long in the memory, Shelvey has also scored in victories over West Ham United, Sheffield United and Southampton respectively, results which have ensured that the North-East outfit remain clear of the relegation zone.

Dan Lewis, Senior Reporter: Martin Dubravka

Newcastle are expected to undergo a facelift of sorts over the next few transfer windows should their Saudi-led takeover go through, but in Martin Dubravka they already have a fine goalkeeper for Premier League level.

No goalkeeper has been called into action more often than the Slovakia international this term, having made a whopping 117 saves to date. Despite being kept busy, he has a more than respectable nine clean sheets and has established himself as a leader on the pitch.

Ben Knapton, Reporter: Martin Dubravka

Martin Dubravka has been a cut above the rest for Newcastle United this season, and for me, he's one of the Premier League's most underrated goalkeepers.

The Slovakian has made a staggering 117 saves this term and has kept an impressive nine clean sheets for Steve Bruce's side.

One could argue that Allan Saint-Maximin's dazzling style of play and attacking prowess would see him be a worthy recipient of this award, but Dubravka's importance to Newcastle cannot be overlooked. body check tags ::

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