Tiote’s mixture of creative passing and dominant defensive play make him a rarity for a modern midfielder, and what makes him even more rare is his aggression and physical play – something the Premier League has been lacking in recent years.
But is the Ivorian too aggressive?
With 11 yellow cards, Tiote ranked amongst the Premier League’s top three in terms of poor discipline last season, behind only Joey Barton and Lee Cattermole – two players you shouldn’t want to be compared to in that regard.
Tiote is simply too important to the Toon Army to risk missing games, and in a season where Newcastle will be challenging for not only the domestic league and cup competitions, but the Europa League as well, he’ll be needed on the pitch as often as possible.
That said, we wouldn’t want to regulate Tiote’s game. His aggression is what makes him such a good player, it just needs to be controlled in a way that won’t backfire with yellow cards.
In the modern football world, filled with diving and refereeing that favours attackers, it’s not going to be an easy task for Tiote to avoid being carded, but if he works at it, it can eventually be done.
One positive to take is that Tiote has at least never been red carded in two seasons in the Premier League, which shows that he does know how to control himself once he’s received a warning.
If he can adopt the style of play he tends to take once being yellow carded from kick-off, that should be enough to keep him both effective and well-disciplined at the same time.