Cheick Tiote is a player who has split opinion.

His injuries haven’t helped and when on the pitch, many cast doubt on what he has actually given to the team in recent years.

On Saturday he put in an excellent shift and then against Manchester City everybody had to accept that he was a/the key figure in the performance, plus for the first time in a long time, he also kept up his level right to the final whistle.

The question revolves around – are Newcastle United better with or without Cheick Tiote in the team?

I think the Man City match tells us that injury permitting, he has to play these last four matches.

I had a quick look to see if the stats backed this up, if anything you would have accepted them to be made worse by the fact he hasn’t had a proper run in the team for the past couple of seasons.

However, this season Cheick Tiote has started 12 Premier League matches and Newcastle have only lost four of them, winning and drawing four times as well.

This represents an average of 1.33 points per game and over a season would give you 51 points. In the other 22 matches where the Ivory Coast midfielder hasn’t played, Newcastle have managed only 13 points at an average of only 0.59 per game, working put at only 22 points over a full season.

Last season was a similar story;

With Cheick Tiote, Newcastle picked up 12 points in the 10 games he started at 1.2 points per game – which works out at 46 points over a full season.

Without Cheick Tiote, in the other 28 games NUFC picked up 27 points at 0.98 per game, working out at 37 points over a full season.

Strong indications that with Cheick Tiote Newcastle aren’t a relegation candidate but if he is missing – we are likely to have relegation form.

Tiote has also been speaking about the Manchester City match and his own form, this is what he had to say to the official club website:

“When you play you need to enjoy yourself but also work hard in the right way, I was just doing my job, just doing my best to help the team stay in the Premier League.

“That is what we are all doing, working together and doing everything we can to have a good end to the season.

“I think it was a good point. We would have preferred to win but we weren’t able to, so we will take the one point and focus on building on it at Liverpool on Saturday.

“Before the game there probably weren’t many people outside who thought we could get anything, but we knew we could.

“We conceded a poor goal. Right then we didn’t know it was offside, we were just angry at conceding.

“But we put it out of our minds and tried to come back into the game as soon as possible.

“We didn’t let our heads go down, we kept working hard and scored a great goal. We then pushed and pushed for a second, we created some good chances but we couldn’t take them.

“We played together as a team, we worked hard and that is what we have to do until the end of the season if we want to stay up.

“It is good. We do a lot of tactic work and you can see that in our performances,we didn’t give them (Man City) many chances, we are compact as a team and if we continue like that we have a chance to stay in the Premier League.

“If we play like today, I think we have a good chance.”