Cheik Tiote is starting to cause a few headaches at NUFC thanks to his love of picking up yellow cards.
The booking he picked up on Saturday was his 14th of the season, which is a poor disciplinary record in my view. One more caution in these final two games and Cheik will be forced to sit out another three games which can carry over to the start of next season, which leaves us with a bit of a dilemma.
What do you do? Do you rest him so he starts next season with a clean slate? Or do you play him with the hope of finishing higher up the table this season?
I’ve read a few opinions on this to be honest and so far it’s 50/50, which is understandable as even Alan Pardew is unsure whether or not to risk Tiote in the final two games. When asked about leaving Tiote out, Pardew responded with:
“I will have to consider it. He would miss three games at the beginning of next season and he is very important to the team.”
“I have to look at Manchester United and Chelsea and our result at Chelsea could be critical. I have to do what is right for football and play my best team so I have a really tough call. I have a commitment, not just to this club, to field my strongest team so it will me an emotional pull for me and the club. We will have to sit down and talk it through.”
Thing is, Tiote is not a dirty player. The majority of his tackles are well-timed but he seems to carry some aggression which needs tempered. Then again, if you start doing that then you end up changing the game of the player. It’s a tough call.
As I’ve said before though, can you really do without a player for near on 20% of the season? Not just any players, but one of our better players? What Tiote needs to focus on are his silly bookings. If he can cut them out then he’d be fine.
I genuinely don’t know what to suggest here. The cynical side of me is thinking that we should play him against Chelsea and if he gets booked, try and get him to get another booking and the resultant red card which would mean only a one game ban. But that’s cheating so I couldn’t possibly suggest that!
A lifelong Newcastle fan and current webmaster of this very 'blog who has the sole aim of creating a place by Newcastle United fans, for Newcastle United fans.