Saturday 21 April 2012 3pm
Newcastle United 3 (Cabaye 14, 57, Cisse 18)
In the lead up to the game, Stoke captain Ryan Shawcross was quoted saying how much he was looking forward to playing against Papiss Cisse…hope he swapped shirts at the end as that would have been the first time he’d got close to meeting him!
Today’s win made it six in a row but even though the wins against Liverpool and Bolton were great in their own ways, I think this was the home performance that really says to everybody, Newcastle United have most definitely arrived.
Recent draw against Manchester City and Tottenham, yet United just blew them away today.
A messy opening ten minutes was about as good as it got for the Potters as Newcastle just left them trailing in their wake.
Ben Arfa is just a dream to watch at the minute and the drop of his shoulder as he beat his man for the first goal was very special. He was away from his man and I thought an early cross was the wrong move but an excellent Cisse header loped onto the bar and Cabaye got his reward at last for regular forays into the box in recent times.
Four minutes later, some lovely controlled possession eventually fed the ball to Cabaye in the final third, his clever ball behind the back four only had Cisse as a possible target and he scooted across the line and cleverly slotted it past Begovic with his left foot.
The next seventy minutes must have been the most comfortable this season for the team, pass and pass and pass with at times over elaboration but they’d earned that right with puttingthe game away early.
The real pessimists might still have had Wolves in mind and just before half-time Cisse made it three, only to be denied by a dubious offside, those still worrying had little to…worry about.
Everywhere you looked there were top performances, Cabaye and Cisse of course but Tiote was immense on his return, while Santon had arguably his best game so far in black & white.
Cabaye and Cisse took early curtain calls as they were substituted with no doubt Wigan in mind, on this evidence we could well be looking at a magnificent seven next week, the confidence is flowing swifter than the river Tyne.
Newcastle United: Tim Krul, Danny Simpson (Dan Gosling 82), Mike Williamson, Fabricio Coloccini, Davide Santon, Cheick Tiote, Jonas Gutierrez, Hatem Ben Arfa, Yohan Cabaye (James Perch 60), Demba Ba, Papiss Cisse (Shola Ameobi 69)
Subs not used: Rob Elliot, Shane Ferguson, Ryan Taylor, Leon Best
Stoke City: Asmir Begovic, Marc Wilson, Robert Huth, Ryan Shawcross, Andy Wilkinson (Dean Whitehead 33), Ryan Shotton, Glenn Whelan, Wilson Palacios (Cameron Jerome 55), Matthew Etherington, Jonathan Walters, Peter Crouch
Subs not used: Thomas Sorensen, Matthew Upson, Jermaine Pennant, Ricardo Fuller, Kenwyne Jones
Referee: Andre Marriner (West Midlands)
Attendance: 52,162 (900 Visitors)