Newcastle lost another three players last week, out for the season.
Cheick Tiote – unbelievable goal
Those were Kevin Nolan, who had an ankle operation, Steve Harper, who has a minor knee operation, and Cheick Tiote who will not be risked in the final two games because he currently has 14 yellow cards, and another caution will see him get a 3 game suspension.
Cheick has been banned for 6 games this season, his first in the Premier League, because of his yellow cards and that one sending off in the FA Cup 3rd round disaster at Stevenage.
The Newcastle manager Alan Pardew will not try to change Tiote’s combative style on the field, but thinks the 24 year-old has to learn when to make a challenge and when to simply jockey the other player, and not dive in with a tackle.
Pardew talked about Newcastle’s top defensive midfielder today:
“I’m not going to change his game, it’s not about that,” “It’s not about changing his attitude or his approach to the game. With the experience he has got this year, we can teach him not to get involved sometimes.”
“Why make a challenge there? Why not jockey him?” “With his great speed he doesn’t sometimes need to go into a challenge, it’s just little adjustments that could make a big difference next season.”
“I had a chat with Steve McClaren about him and he was highly competitive in Holland, but I don’t think he had issues with suspensions.” “I think the player’s reaction when he got booked last weekend said it all really and that was the same reaction I had.”
“I was desperate for him to get through these three games without picking up a booking, just to see if he could do it. He needs to learn.” “I thought he was so unlucky against Birmingham because it wasn’t a bad challenge.”
“It’s not acceptable for him to miss so many games because of suspensions. We are going to talk about it and we are going to work on it.” “We’re going to modify how he responds to certain situations. Some of those bookings could have been avoided.”
For the record Tiote has played 28 times for Newcastle this season with one stupendous and unforgettable goal against Arsenal, and without those suspensions the 19 times capped Ivory Coast International could have made 36 appearances for Newcastle.
There’s no doubt he’s been one of Newcastle’s very best players, and will likely figure high in our Player Of The Season annual poll, which we’ll put up after our final game against WBA on May 22nd – we hope the lads can win that game.
Newcastle are now in a little bit of a quandary for the last two games of the season, with so many first team players being out for the season.
We expect Joey Barton to be brought into central midfield, and maybe young Haris Vuckic will get a run out there too, but other than that we have no idea who will be replacing Nolan and Tiote on Sunday in the center of the park at Stanford Bridge.
And with Newcastle’s top scorer and captain out for the season, we wonder where the goals will come from, so if Newcastle can indeed pick up 3 points in their final two matches, it will be job well done.
That’s what we are hoping for.
What do you think the team will be for Sunday?