Date: 11th May 2019 at 11:52am
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OPINION

Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez will have to change his starting XI due to Ki Sung-yueng injury as his side face already relegated Fulham away from home. 

The Magpies are hoping to bounce back from their last fixture, in which they suffered a 3-2 defeat at home to Liverpool courtesy of a late but perfectly timed Divock Origi header.

This fixture seems like the perfect way to finish the season for Benitez, but he will have a few decisions to make regarding team selection due to the absence of Ki and DeAndre Yedlin, who are both out with injuries. (Source: BBC)

Miguel Almiron, Sean Longstaff and Florian Lejeune are also unavailable, and are continuing their rehabilitation from injuries.

In defence, an unchanged back line would be the best option for Benitez, and although this lineup conceded three goals against Liverpool, the likes of Jamaal Lascelles and Fabian Schar are the best that Newcastle have to offer. Matt Ritchie and Javier Manquillo will again look to add width from the wider positions.

The wide midfielders in Ayoze Perez and Christian Atsu are the preferred choice again for the game, after showing what they’re made of against Liverpool in their last outing.

With Ki on the sidelines due to an injury, Jonjo Shelvey is likely be the player to step in and create chances from midfield, although the 27-year old has been sparingly-used this season at St. James’ Park.

Shelvey has only featured in 15 games throughout the entire Premier League season this year, and has recently been benched in four of Newcastle’s last six league fixtures, including the tie against Liverpool.

However he seems the best candidate to replace Ki after his injury blow and Benitez is expected to give him a chance to impress.

Mo Diame is also likely start the final fixture of the season in the heart of the midfield in place of Isaac Hayden. The 31-year old could be playing his last game for the club after being a loyal servant, as his contract comes to an end in the summer. Hayden could also be potentially playing his final game for the club, so it wouldn’t be too surprising if he makes a substitute appearance at some point.

Salomón Rondón will no doubt start again up top for the Magpies, after an impressive display against Liverpool. Yoshinori Muto made an appearance against the Reds, however the Venezuelan will most probably get the nod for the final game of the season at Craven Cottage.