With a strong nucleus in place, the transfer window needs to see Newcastle resisting offers for any of their star men. Aside from Coloccini, who seems likely to depart for personal reasons, Pardew needs to retain the services of individuals like Ben Arfa, Cabaye and Cisse, who provide a strong spine with which to work with. Lessons need to be learnt from the sale of Demba Ba.
While he was never likely to become a fan favourite such as Ben Arfa or Cabaye, it’s baffling to see a player like Anita constantly on the sidelines when the team has been lacking composure in possession all season long. Industrious and comfortable on the ball, he seems the most logical replacement for Tiote in the first eleven.
However, in an eerily similar showing to the performance at Villa Park earlier in the season, Newcastle disappointingly failed to maintain the first half standards and were lucky in the end to escape with a point.
With Sissoko naturally accustomed to a more defensive role and Cabaye looking limited in the more withdrawn position, perhaps it would be wise to switch these two to try and ignite some sort of spark in their games.