Newcastle United supporters have been pretty despondent in the Transfer Tavern this week after seeing their side go down 1-0 to Burnley on Monday night, in turn suffering their fourth Premier League defeat of the campaign.
Rafa Benitez’s men went into their clash with the Clarets off the back of a three-match unbeaten run, having drawn with both Liverpool and Southampton before narrowly edging past Crystal Palace 1-0 in their preceding outing. But they were unable to keep their momentum going as a Jeff Hendrick strike 16 minutes from time sealed a deserved 1-0 success for Sean Dyche’s side, and in turn moved them above the Magpies and into seventh place in the Premier League table.
Thus, our resident Newcastle fans have been very quiet in the Tavern this week but many have sought to work out what went wrong for Benitez’s side on Monday night, given they face another crucial encounter against Eddie Howe’s struggling Bournemouth on Saturday.
And one man who didn’t cover himself in glory at Turf Moor earlier this week was midfielder Mo Diame, who was given a rare start by Benitez ahead of 22-year-old Isaac Hayden, who had up until that point started eight of their nine Premier League matches.
However, the former did very little to suggest that he deserves another start against the Cherries, with the 30-year-old struggling to impose himself on proceedings in the centre of midfield having been dispossessed more than any other Newcastle player (four), and committing more fouls than his teammates (three).
Thus, the former Senegal international didn’t do anywhere near enough to command another starting berth, and that is why Hayden has to come straight back into the side against Bournemouth given that he arguably offered more in his 14-minute cameo than Diame did in 83 minutes on the field.
The 22-year-old played a key part in helping the Magpies return to the Premier League last season and has done equally well in helping them make a fine start to this campaign, having appeared in all ten of their league games, of which he has started eight.
And having someone as dependable and solid defensively in the centre of midfield, two things Diame was not on Monday, is exactly what one needs at Premier League level, and it also gives the likes of Jonjo Shelvey slightly more freedom to launch and get involved in attacks.
At times, Diame’s physicality certainly helped Newcastle on Monday, such are Burnley’s strengths in that department, but against a Bournemouth side more technically gifted than the Clarets, it’s difficult to make a case for the 30-year-old to retain his place.
And given how underwhelming he was at Turf Moor, and how impressive Hayden has performed in the Premier League so far, the 22-year-old must come back into the starting line-up against Howe’s Cherries this weekend.
Newcastle fans… what do you think? Let us know!