Date: 2nd October 2019 at 9:30am
Written by:

OPINION

The only thing that could have made Newcastle United’s 5-0 defeat to Leicester City on Sunday afternoon worse than it already was would have been a sending off for a key player. 

This being the Toon Army they did, of course, endeavour to ensure they got one, and Isaac Hayden was rightfully dismissed for a reckless and dangerous follow through on Dennis Praet in the second half.

And that leaves them with an issue.

With the side performing as poorly as they are at the moment, they can ill-afford to have players serving suspensions and missing games all over the shop, especially when the player in question is as integral as Hayden is.

The most pertinent concern is, of course, who will step into the breach to replace him, and with Jonjo Shelvey missing last week’s game through injury, don’t be surprised to see Ki Sung-Yueng get the nod.

If that does happen, then the 30-year-old is going to have to up his game, and quickly.

So far this season, he has averaged fewer tackles, fewer interceptions, and has a lower Whoscored rating than Hayden.

The Magpies are leaking goals as it is without taking their best defensive midfielder out of the equation, and if they are to respond to their humbling at the hands of the Foxes against Manchester United this weekend, then they need to be more solid in central areas.

As such, Ki is going to have to pull his finger out and adapt fast, or he could find himself chasing shadows.