Newcastle Club Focus – Magpies left frustrated in stalemate

Despite dominating the game for long periods Newcastle were unable to get back to winning ways against Swansea City. The result extended the club’s winless run to five games although they will feel unfortunate not to have ended that sequence on Saturday. The Magpies hit the woodwork on two occasions and were also denied by some fine saves by the Swans’ Michel Vorm.

Newcastle were boosted by the return of two of their most influential players – Fabricio Coloccini and Cheik Tiote. The return of the Argentine instantly had a galvanising affect on a defence that conceded four goals in the previous game. In truth they had little to trouble them against sporadic Swansea attacks but Coloccini still made his presence felt. Tiote also helped give the midfield a more balanced look following his prolonged absence through injury. The African continues to be linked with some of England’s biggest clubs with the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United in need of midfield reinforcements.

Although he did not score Demba Ba offered Newcastle’s biggest threat all game with his pace and power. The biggest dilemma for Alan Pardew these days is who to play alongside the Senegalese forward. Over the past few games the manager has tried a number of different combinations with different levels of success. Leon Best was recalled at the weekend but failed to make much of an impact on the game and was eventually subbed on 70 minutes. His replacement Shola Ameobi looks quite sharp at the moment and may feel he is due a run in the team after causing problems in the last few games. Another option is Hatem Ben Arfa who has been largely ignored by Pardew since being subbed at half time against Chelsea. Before then the enigmatic Frenchman had looked lively against the two Manchester clubs but for whatever reason he has since been left sidelined. The chances of Mobido Maiga joining now appear slim after the striker failed a medical earlier in the week.

Before the game the club paid a belated tribute to former player Gary Speed. A Welsh hymn was sung which was then followed by a minute’s applause. Members of the popular number 11’s family were in attendance at the game which was aptly against Welsh opposition. Throughout the game both sets of fans paid tribute to the former Newcastle player at regular intervals.

Newcastle will hoping to give their fans an early Christmas present with a much needed home win against West Brom on Wednesday night. French midfielder Yohan Cabaye will miss the game after accumulating five cautions so far this season. Despite his reputation as a classy operator Cabaye has shown he is not afraid to make challenges since joining in the summer. With a lack of options his place in midfield could go to either Mehdi Abeid or Harris Vukcic who made a late appearance on Saturday.

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