Cheick Tioté and Yoan Gouffran deserve to be dropped
Another trip to the Emirates Stadium and another pitiful performance. As per usual, the trip to Arsenal saw Newcastle United beaten by a three goal margin. This time Olivier Giroud and Santi Cazorla teamed up to tear our defence asunder – the former seemingly finding world-class form against us Magpies to chip in with two top quality goals. Cazorla’s first was a thing of beauty, delicately piercing the top corner from an acute angle, leaving NUFC’s third choice keeper Jak Alnwick stranded, a position in which he remained throughout the remainder of the 90 minutes. It wasn’t the awful defending or the poor goalkeeping on show that really caught my eye when watching the game, rather, the incredibly poor standard of passing on show from a certain Cheick Tioté, and the lack of contribution on display from Alan Pardew’s best friend, Yoan Gouffran.
Pardew’s decision to start Gouffran had most Newcastle fans shaking their head before a ball had been kicked in London. The Frenchman, who arrived on the scene in considerable scoring form this time last season has been transformed into a defensive winger, or a full-back when in his element. November’s Manager of the Month opted to bench Rémy Cabella in favour of a more conservative approach from the first whistle. Although Papiss Cissé and Ayoze Perez both started, the were both assigned different roles, with Perez also given the task of chasing around in search of loose balls. Cissé occupied the role of centre-forward, backing into Mathieu Debuchy and Per Mertesacker to little effect.
Despite the obvious shape we deployed, Pardew suggested that his side were a tad optimistic going into the game. Any side starting Yoan Gouffran is not an optimistic side, I can tell you that. Gouffran spells containment and a rare counter-attack. But enough about Gouffran, because he is only doing what is asked of him to be fair to the Frenchman. Cheick Tioté, however, may as well have sat in the dugout on Saturday evening because he was non-existant in midfield. On countless occasions he sprayed passes to nobody, running around like a headless chicken, committing a foul when the opportunity presented itself. Don’t get me wrong, Tioté can be unstoppable when on form, but he hasn’t been near that form for quite some time. In fact, his replacement of past, Mehdi Abeid, often showed Cheick the way, with simple passing, smart tackling; a generally neater approach to the game.
I’m not sure whether Tioté deserves a starting role in this side when Abeid returns, I’d prefer to have a midfield of Jack Colback, Abeid, and Moussa Sissoko as you know what you’re getting with that trio for the majority. Saying that, this is Alan Pardew we are talking about and as soon as he has any options available to him whatsoever, he usually finds a way to messing things up and over-complicating. As a defensive coach at heart, Pardew finds it difficult to opt for a real menacing, attacking line-up home or away, and sadly this won’t change any time soon. In a fully-fit setup and myself as manager, Tioté and Gouffran would be both resigned to the bench. At the time of writing, neither Yoan or Cheick offer anything on the pitch in the current setup and I’d much rather see them replaced, as soon as possible. Comments welcome as always, and feel free to follow me on Twitter @KevinDoocey.
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