In recent times, many would say that I have been overly critical of an awful lot of players, and have decreed a number of them to simply not be good enough for the Newcastle United first team. Such players to come in for this criticism in the past have been, Jonas, Williamson, and Cheick Tiote.
With this in mind, it saddens me to hear the Newcastle United manager sing Tiote’s praises in the media, and it is almost certain that the Ivorian will be returning to first team duty when Newcastle United take on Everton on Monday night. Here is what Pardew had to say about Tiote,
“He was back to near his best. He was a lot more comfortable in possession than last year. He looks more like himself and I am hoping for a big season from Cheick.
“I didn’t think last year went well for Cheick in terms of the player he is, and that coincided with the team.
“When he’s at his best, I think we are at our best and defensively on Saturday (against Hull) he could have made a difference.
“He gave us a little lift at Villa when he came on, so the signs are good. He has been unlucky to be out of the team because of injury and he has a chance now to reaffirm the quality he has.”
When I read comments like this, it makes me realise how little that Alan Pardew actually understands about football. He failed to mention that through Tiote’s inability to hold on to possession, pick a pass, or simply by dawdling on the ball he cost us more games than he saved last season. The manager also failed to mention the number of times Tiote has been suspended because he collects yellow cards like they are going out of fashion. He neglects to mention the red card he received against Sunderland last season which could have seen us walk away with a win there. He fails to mention that Tiote is, at best, an average player.
The fact that he even mentioned that Tiote could have made a difference on Saturday is worrying indeed. What would have made a difference Alan, is if you had set out your back four to actually defend. What would have made a difference is if you told Hatem Ben Arfa to take his head out of his buttocks and cover the long ball over the top that was killing Debuchy. What would have made a difference is if you had set out the team in the second half to positively affect the game instead of being rolled over by a newly promoted team. Are you claiming that Tiote could have been the difference between winning and losing that game Alan? If so, then how so? We had enough attacking flair to win that game twice over, all we needed to do was to defend a lot better. Tiote may have contributed, but he certainly wasn’t the difference.
Unfortunately, what I feared would happen is soon to come to fruition. We reverted to a 4-2-3-1 against Leeds midweek, and I foresee the same formation on Monday night. Anita and Tiote may start side by side come Monday, but I fully expect Anita to be dropped when Cabaye is fit and for Cabaye to take his place. Tiote will then remain in the team week in week out regardless of form.
Many fans were signing the praises of the manager when we went 4-3-3 and were playing fluid attacking football against Villa. It is not the formation that defeated us last weekend, rather it was the idiocy and lack of reactionary ability of our manager that was the foundation of that defeat. The same mistakes are being repeated over and over again. Will Taylor come waltzing back into the team as soon as M’biwa has an off day? Will Jonas come into the team if Remy has a dry spell? Sounds ludicrous? Yes. Does it sound beyond our manager? Not on your life.
What do you think? Should Tiote be given the benefit of the doubt purely because he looked decent against a Championship team? Is Tiote key to our side? What do you think Tiote brings to the first team that we need? I’d love to hear your views.