Newcastle failing because Tiote’s passing statistics don’t Cheik out

When Cheik Tiote made his Newcastle debut against Everton in September 2010, few in the Goodison Park away end knew much about him. He was from the Ivory Coast, he was defensively minded, and he looked like he could crush a Coke can with a stare. ThatâÂÂs not quite enough to justify a playerâÂÂs inclusion in a side, but over the course of 90 minutes, the travelling Newcastle fans witnessed the kind of display that became synonymous with TioteâÂÂs debut season in English football.

Incredibly strong, his bullish frame was matched with a high level of composure that allowed him to calmly distribute the ball when under pressure. His ability to neutralise attacks and dominate midfield was head-turning for a man with a mere ã3.5m price tag.

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