How do we cover Cheik Tiote?

Cheik Tiote
Tiote - A massive miss?
It seems that every match we play now is a “massive game” for us. Two fantastic wins away to Wigan and home to West Ham have deservedly pushed us up the league towards our own personal heaven – safety!

Now we must turn our attention from heaven to hell as the lads face the trip over the Tyne and into the land that time and soap forgot. The forthcoming match against the mackem tramps is also the first of three matches in which we will be without the suspended Cheik Tiote.

Tiote must sit out the next three matches after the appeal against his red card was unsuccessful. Which now leaves Alan Pardew with a major selection headache. Just how does he fill the big boots left by Cheik? The most likely option, in my opinion, is to play Wayne Routledge on the right, assuming we have not signed anybody else in the meantime, with Joey Barton dropping back into the holding midfield role.

This of course raises a number of talking points. Is Wayne Routledge good enough? Is Joey Barton too hot headed to play this role? Will it be made twice as difficult by the card happy nature of referee’s towards Joey Barton this season? It would also mean moving our main provider of assists inside.

A different option would be playing Fabricio Coloccini in the holding role and recalling Mike Williamson to centre-back. Fabricio has played this role many times for club and country, although I can’t recall him playing this role in his time at Newcastle. Would you be happy for our best centre-back to leave the position in which he has done so well this season? Would a Williamson and Taylor partnership at the back leave us a bit exposed? Would this be outweighed by being able to keep Joey Barton out on the right of midfield?

The final option in my opinion is to play Alan Smith as the holding midfielder, but is he good enough at this level? A yellow card in the first 15 minutes and I will be living in fear for the rest of the match. The plus point of playing Alan Smith is a big one though, because it will be the move that causes less disruption to the rest of the team. Does that make it a worthwhile thing to do?

So positives and negatives with regards to shuffling the pack. I am sure there are plenty of arguments to be had over who should play where, and of course that’s what makes ‘blogs interesting. In our case it’s our differing opinions on all things black and white that makes this place tick.

So then, who would you like to see as holding midfielder?

152 thoughts on “How do we cover Cheik Tiote?

  1. Jill @ 8 50 am
    I think the in the photo Saylor is texting AC,s girlfriend.Raylor is saying “Oh not again”
    and the two in the backrow are protecting there “Crown Jewels” for when AC kicks off!! 😀


  2. I’ve already said on .org that we need to think outside the box.

    The issue surrounding who plays where would be easily resolved by Pardwho adopting a 3-5-2 (5-3-2) formation for Sunday.

    Makems will probably play 4-4-2 with Bent and Welbeck or Gyan up front. As the last time they played 4-3-3 at home they got stuffed by the Hammers in the Carling Cup and the last time they played 4-5-1 guess what happened 🙂

    So 4-4-2 against 3-5-2 means we play two “man for man” marking defenders plus a sweeper with two wide defenders/wingbacks.

    The midfield three (with no Tiote 🙁 should be more concerned with supplying balls for the front two so you could pick Barton, Nolan and Gosling plus two forwards from three (no Lovenkrands I’m afraid) so Shola, AC or Best (wash my mouth out with soap and water).

    The full/wing backs tuck in and generally defend but take the opportunity to move forward when the opportunity arises. However their key role is to prevent any Makem widemen from using the wings and supplying crosses.

    There is no doubt an impassioned crowd can get the home team up for it but if we suffocate their midfield they’ll lose the impetus and eventually go backwards 🙂 . At some point during the game we will get a chance or chances and its up to the players to respond.


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