Cheick Tiote was back to something approaching his best at The Emirates but things looked bad when he limped off with ten minutes remaining.

However Alan Pardew put a more positive spin on it when talking to the Evening Chronicle;

“Cheick had cramp. We had no subs left, and we were losing bodies. Demba Ba, for example, could hardly move. We’re just hoping it was a bit of cramp” . 

Tiote’s all action style is essential to the team and can’t believe the odd comment I hear along the lines of putting Guthrie or even Vuckic in ahead of him.

Even when he’s well below par he needs to be in the first eleven, at times he tries too hard and ends up with some wayward passing. Rather than Derek Llambias talking up the prospects of Cheick leaving in the summer, they should be talking up the intention of bringing in similar calibre players who will complement Tiote rather than him having to run around like a nutter to make up for other players’ inadequacies.

On Monday night we saw how, especially in the second half, we struggled to get both Tiote and Cabaye further up the pitch where they can do more damage. If they had more confidence in certain players around and behind them then we’d be a far more dangerous team.

Tiote is a player to build a team around, not sell and replace with pale imitations.