We have no idea why the African Cup of Nations is every two years rather than every four years, and of course it takes place again next January as they have decided to switch to play in the odd years from the even years.
Cheick Tiote - wore the number nine shirt for the Ivorians
So with Newcastle being linked with Zambian striker Emmanuel Mayuka, maybe that would be too many African strikers at the club – three – because who would score the goals when they were away next January?
Our other African player, Cheick Tiote is now back on Tyneside but after his action at the African Cup of Nations, where the Ivory Coast lost the final on penalties 8-7 to Zambia, he’s been given a few days off by manager Pardew, since we don’t have a game until a week on Saturday.
Alan has talked to the Ivorian and we’re sure he’s a little disappointed they couldn’t have won the African Cup of Nations – certainly they were big favorites before the final.
Cheick will report back to training on Monday along with Ryan Taylor, who is now fit from his ankle injury, to prepare for the important home league game against Wolves.
Alan Pardew talked about Cheick today:
“It’s about the next game now, and we’ve got Cheick coming back, and Yohan Cabaye available again,” “That’s a boost for everybody. The players are focused on putting the last game behind them.”
“We’ve given Cheick some time off. He’s had a daunting run of games but he’ll be back on Monday.” “I’ve spoken to Cheick, and he’s OK. He did a really good job out there, but unfortunately they got beat in a penalty shoot-out.”
“They came out with a lot of credit. Cheick will have another chance in the African Cup of Nations in 12 months time, and he’ll be focused on Newcastle United now.”
“He’ll be ready to go again next week, after a rest. He’ll be focused on helping his team.” “We’re in a better league position than when he left.”
“Who would have thought that we’d lose Cheick and Demba Ba, and when they returned we’d be in a better position?” “That’s credit to the players we have here.”
We expect both Yohan Cabaye and Cheick Tiote to start in central midfield against Wolves, and that will be a massive boost for the side, as both players will want to show how much they have been missed.
Although Danny Guthrie has again done very well in the middle of the park for Newcastle ion their absence, but you have to wonder if we’d have done any better with our two top central midfielders in action at Spurs.
The defense in that game was hopeless, and they didn’t wake up until after the half time break, but we were already 4-0 down, and while Spurs were very good, we were not – and we looked a poor defense in that first half, as the players were dragged all over the place.
Surely Newcastle will now bring in a top center-back and a top full back in the summer, who can challenge for starting positions in the back-line next season.
That’s what we’re hoping for, and of course Steven Taylor will be fit again from his Achilles injury.
We wonder where we’d be now in the league, if Steven had been playing all season?