Ki back in the Newcastle team

Newcastle United, South Korea

Ki Sung Yueng had lost his place in the Newcastle United starting eleven since he left for the Asian Cup in January. The emergence of academy graduate Sean Longstaff meant Ki, along with other senior midfielders Jonjo Shelvey and Mo Diame found themselves out of the squad. However, Ki got a chance to stake his claim to win his spot back in the game against Everton yesterday. 

Back in Newcastle's starting eleven

Sean Longstaff injured his knee in the defeat against West Ham last week, which meant that Rafa Benitez had to decide which of his three senior midfielders would replace him against Everton. He had to choose between Ki Sung Yueng, Jonjo Shelvey or Mo Diame.

Rafa decided to pick Ki, from that trio and maybe he reckons Ki is a more suitable replacement for Longstaff. Longstaff has been playing in the middle with Isaac Hayden with both them winning their place due to their form. Longstaff the one keeping the possession ticking over with his good range of passing and Hayden as the destroyer winning the ball back. Therefore Ki most likely was picked over Diame because he can do a similar job.

Shelvey likely wasn't considered as he is continuing his return from a long term injury and it would be daft to rush him back, because they did rush him back at the start of the season and it made the injury worse, which in the end has prolonged it. That likely meant Ki was Rafa's only option to play in the middle and keep possession ticking over.  

Not much wrong, but 2-0 down

Ki didn't do much wrong during his time on the pitch, he kept possession and played good passes around the field, but he still found himself 2-0 down at half time. Some shocking refereeing decisions, coupled with Everton being very good with the ball in the first half meant Newcastle struggled. When they did have the ball they passed it around ok, but things were falling apart in the final third.

So it's possible that being 2-0 down in the game might go against Ki for future selection even though you wouldn't necessarily say all the blame was down to him, or even the rest of the players really. The team in general looked extremely hacked off at how bad the refereeing decisions were.

Newcastle amazingly went on to win the game 3-2 in the end, with Salomon Rondon and Perez getting the goals to turn the game on it's head. At them time Ki had been taken off and replaced by Shelvey, so I wouldn't be shocked to find Ki back on the bench and Shelvey in the squad for the next Newcastle match, as Shelvey reaps the benefits of being on the field and playing a part in the comeback win.

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