Well, as meagre and miserable as it might sound, local bragging rights mean a lot. Especially in a city like Newcastle where the club is so closely connected to the people’s hearts and minds. If Sunderland go down, it may be a long time before they come back up and then we will lose two of our most eagerly-anticipated fixtures of the season.
Cabaye may well leave in January but the transfer window is shut for now and it’s in his best interests to maintain his current level of performance – regardless of whether his motives are honourable or not. His goals against Everton and Liverpool were outstanding, while his all-round performances in recent weeks have been equally impressive. Long may it continue.
His behaviour in January was greedy and disrespectful but Newcastle’s fans will forgive his past misdemeanours if he gives his all for the cause. What is certain is that he has the talent to become a cult hero on Tyneside. It’s up to Rémy now to earn the fans’ adulation.
Pardew needs to stamp his authority on a team that looks increasingly clueless, unimaginative and one-dimensional. He can no longer afford to rely on moments of brilliance from match-winning mavericks like Ba and Ben Arfa.