Midfield Partnership of Cabaye and Tiote Is Best in Premier League, Says Malcolm Macdonald

Newcastle United legend Malcolm Macdonald says the club’s central midfield partnership of Yohan Cabaye and Cheick Tiote is the best in the Premier League.

French international Cabaye is enjoying a successful first season in English football following a summer move from Lille for a reported £4.3m. Ivorian Tiote joined the Magpies in August 2010 and has made a big impression on Tyneside.

Macdonald believes the pair have proved they are the best in the division, and he says their differing styles complement each other’s game.

“You look at Manchester United at the moment and they can’t find a pairing that suits them,” claims Macdonald.

“Chelsea are also chopping and changing and Arsenal’s midfield now isn’t as good as it was a season or two back but Newcastle’s is absolutely brilliant. He [Cabaye] and Tiote have forged the most fabulous midfield partnership and Newcastle know when one of them is missing. I would take these two any day of the week. Cabaye makes goals, he scores goals, he gets both widemen playing, they both give brilliant coverage to the back four and I don’t think there is a better central midfield pairing.”

The Magpies are currently without Tiote and top goalscorer Demba Ba, both of whom are on international duty at the African Cup of Nations with the Ivory Coast and Senegal respectively.

Macdonald netted 138 times in 257 appearances for the Magpies between 1971-76, and he says owner Mike Ashley must keep players like Ba if the club want to build for the future, even if that means he offers the striker an improved contract.

“When you’re scoring goals on a regular basis like Demba Ba you pay them more because they’re rare,” says Macdonald – nicknamed SuperMac for his own goalscoring pedigree.

“It’s a matter of going with the market rates. If you don’t go accordingly then you’ll keep losing your better players.”

Ba has surprised Macdonald with his 15-goal haul this season, form which SuperMac believes makes him a serious contender to win the PFA Player of the Season award.

“When the PFA get all their members to vote I would expect Demba Ba is the one who has impressed all the players round the country the most. He had a phenomenal 2011 when you consider what he did at West Ham who were bottom of the table and now what he’s doing at Newcastle. I would love him to score another 15 and hit that magical figure of 30. It’s a very high target and very few players get there, but if you’re going to be hugely successful in football you have to set your targets ridiculously high.”

13 thoughts on “Midfield Partnership of Cabaye and Tiote Is Best in Premier League, Says Malcolm Macdonald”

    1. it’s debatable. Modric/Parker is not clearly better. Both Modric/Parker and Toure/Barry are surrounded by loads more talent, so their job is a lot easier. They don’t have to pull as much defensive weight as Cabaye/Tiote and it’s easier for them to move the ball b/c they have better teammates who make better runs to provide easy outlets for their passes.

      1. If you haven’t seen it google cabaye spearing. One of the most blatantly intentional dirty tackles I’ve ever seen. Not a liverpool fan btw.

  1. Tiote – yes. He does what he’s expected to do extremely well. He does the job of an additional center-back, and a holding midfielder.

    Cabaye – not so sure. I think anyone that is in that position on the Newcastle squad looks better due to Tiote doing the job of two men.

    1. I think Cabaye has been one of the most consistent midfielders this season. His free kicks, especially, are fantastic.

      The Gaffer

      1. I have nothing against Cabaye at all – he’s a decent player.

        My point is more geared towards the fact that Tiote is one of the most complete holding / defensive midfielders I’ve seen in the last 10 years, and he makes everyone playing next with him better. The back-line has an incredible, additional line of defense, and the midfield can push forward knowing they’re covered.

        I think that Tiote is the vital part of this partnership, not Cabaye. Any creative / passing midfielder would do well in there with Tiote.

        If I owned a club, I’d buy Modric and Tiote first. You could build a squad around those two without spending much at all.

  2. Really good partnership and great finds in the transfer Market but definately not the best partnership in the league. That’s not to say they won’t be… If Newcastle keep their progression going like it is the who knows?!

  3. It is a very good and effective partnership for Newcastle. The partnership has given the team staibility in midfield. Not sure however that I would call it the best partnership in the EPL. Parker and Modric or Toure and Silva/Barry are better partnerships in my opinion.

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