One of the key performers for Newcastle is undoubtedly Cheik Tiote.
In short, when he plays well the whole team seems to play well. Consequently when he has a more subdued game the rest of the team seem to follow.
This may be cause for concern given that Tiote will be away with Ivory Coast at the turn of the year as the African Cup of Nations gets underway. However it seems that plans are already in progress in terms of finding an able replacement for Tiote, and that replacement will come from within our own squad.
Now don’t panic. Alan Smith is not the one who has been earmarked to replace the temporarily departed Tiote. Instead we will apparently be looking to young Mehdi Abeid as cover for Tiote.
“He’s in my thinking when Cheik goes away. I’m gearing him up for that period,” Pardew told the Sunday Sun.
“His progress continues. He scored two for the reserves the other day and he could find himself jumping ahead of one or two others, we’ll see.”
Abeid started the game against Nottingham Forest in the “Tiote” role, and I imagine he’ll be doing much the same in midweek when we face Blackburn in the Carling Cup. In fairness he played rather well against Forest, although he did tire towards the end, and I can see why he is being groomed as a stand in for Tiote.
To me it makes sense. Abeid is highly rated and is impressing behind the scenes, more so than the likes of Dan Gosling and Danny Guthrie it would seem. Personally I thought that one of those two would be the top candidate to fill in for Cheik.
Is Mehdi the right man to replace such an important player? Do you think it should be somebody else? As ever let us know your views.