Newcastle United supporters in the Transfer Tavern are reasonably satisfied at present after seeing their side pick up their first point of the 2018/19 Premier League season on Saturday.
Rafa Benitez’s men were beaten 2-1 by Tottenham on the opening weekend of the campaign but grabbed a 0-0 draw from their trip to newly-promoted Cardiff City on Saturday, although they did have the chance to win all three when Kenedy stepped up to take a late penalty, only for Bluebirds goalkeeper Neil Etheridge to deny the Brazilian star. Nonetheless, the Magpies are up and running for the new season, and will seek to take that positivity into their next clash against Chelsea on Sunday.
As such, there are some happy and some frustrated Newcastle fans up and down the country at present, some of whom have taken to Twitter to demand manager Benitez axes Mohamed Diame from the starting eleven this weekend, in favour of new signing Ki Sung-yueng.
And while the former hasn’t exactly made the greatest of starts to the new season, his efforts last time round suggest that the £4.5 million-rated star (as per Transfermarkt) deserves another chance in the first team against Maurizio Sarri’s Blues this weekend.
Rewind 12 months, and things really didn’t look good for the 31-year-old given he failed to start any of Newcastle’s opening nine Premier League games last season, what with the likes of Jonjo Shelvey, Isaac Hayden, and summer signing Mikel Merino clearly ahead of him in the pecking order.
However, the former Senegal international slowly but surely earned more appearances and eventually starts in Benitez’s side, before becoming a regular alongside Shelvey over the Christmas period and into the New Year, featuring in every single Magpies league game in 2018.
And that was because Diame had re-discovered his best form and was producing the goods in the middle of the park to help Newcastle finish tenth in the Premier League last term – he was a far cry away from the midfielder that seriously struggled at the start of the campaign.
In fact, the 31-year-old was arguably one of the Magpies’ best performers in the second half of the season to underline his credentials in the middle of the park, and while he hasn’t quite got up and running this time round, he has earned the opportunity in the midfield such were his exploits last season.
Yes, Ki is a very fine player and has proven his worth at Premier League level before, but one mustn’t forget that Diame was excellent for the North East giants last season, and as such it is surely just a matter of time before he produces his best form once again – it took him time last season to really get into his stride.
So while some Newcastle fans are calling for Benitez to make a change, they are wrong to suggest that Diame should be dropped, as he certainly deserves another opportunity in the Magpies midfield.
Newcastle fans… what do you think? Let us know!