Newcastle United are facing a crucial period in their season as their next run of fixtures could shape their season. One problem for Rafael Benitez to solve is their central midfield partnership.
Jonjo Shelvey and Mohamed Diame formed a good relationship during the second half of last season, but it hasn’t had the same effect this campaign. The latter hasn’t offered the tenacity and energy that he had previously displayed.
Against Manchester United, he missed a great chance at 2-2 and conceded the free-kick that started the home side’s comeback.
It could be time for Benitez to bring Ki Sung-Yueng into the team to partner Shelvey. The pair have both spoken about how much they like to play with each other and they performed well at Swansea City.
They would offer Newcastle control in the central areas, as both are good on the ball. The Magpies need to impose themselves on teams more and a ball-playing central midfield pairing would help them do that.
Ki was seen as a shrewd addition during the summer, but he has played just two Premier League games. It is time for Benitez to be less conservative and starting the South Korean would be a positive move.