Tiote to return for Newcastle Utd’s clash with Arsenal

LEAD ROLE ... Cheik Tiote.
LEAD ROLE ... Cheik Tiote.

ALAN Pardew will change a winning Newcastle United team for Arsenal’s visit to St James’s Park – with Cheick Tiote guaranteed a return to his starting XI.

Pardew’s side recorded their biggest victory of the season on Boxing Day.

Newcastle beat Stoke City 5-1 at St James’s Park without the suspended Tiote, who was serving a one-match ban for picking up his fifth booking of the season.

In his absence Pardew handed Hatem Ben Arfa his first start for almost two months.

“Cheick’s a tough cookie to replace and he’ll come back into the team for Arsenal, for sure,” Pardew said.

“He’ll play against Arsenal, I make no bones about that.”

Pardew must now decide who Tiote – who scored a memorable equaliser in the infamous 4-4 draw between the two sides at St James’s Park three years ago – will replace in his team.

Meanwhile, Moussa Sissoko will be free from the threat of suspension – if he can avoid a booking against Arsenal.

Sissoko is a booking away from a one-game ban, but his four yellow cards are wiped out after December 31.