Newcastle United’s central midfield of Cheick Tiote and Yohan Cabaye were not at their best against Wolves at St. James’ Park on Saturday afternoon.
Yohan Cabaye – will be better against Sunderland
But maybe we’ve been a bit harsh ion the tow of them, because they have been out for a while, and it takes a little timer to get back in the swing of things in England’s top Premier League.
Indeed with Cheick Tiote having been at the African Cup of Nations since 5th January, it was the first time they had played together since the Manchester United 3-0 win on January4th.
And it’s encouraging that while Cheick and others were away, Newcastle were able to keep picking up the points, and we now have 43 points from our 26 games.
And that’s a full 11 points better than we had after 26 games played last season, when we finally finished up with 46 points total in 12th position.
Unfortunately Tiote has had to travel to the largest city and former capital of the Ivory Coast, Abidjan, for tonight’s friendly game against Equatorial Guinea.
Let’s hope he comes through the game okay, but he’s going to be knackered when he gets back to Newcastle, after over a 3,000 mile trip each way.
Alan Pardew seems to have no concerns at all that his top midfield duo will come good for Newcastle:
“I think we all know that those two, Tiote and Cabaye, have put in fantastic performances.” “We’ve got 43 points because they’ve been so good in that area.”
“We’ve dominated midfield battles because of those two, but not against Wolves.” “That might have been down to the fact they haven’t played a Premier League game for a while.”
“Cheick for about eight weeks, or whatever it’s been, and Yohan for three and a half.”
Newcastle’s failure to beat Wolves was the first game this year that we have not won in five games at St. James’ Park, and we don’t expect the draw against Wolves to be repeated on Sunday afternoon.
We expect Newcastle to win, and we need all 3 points against our local rivals, and nothing less will be good enough.