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Toon ball winner gives Alan Pardew a selection headache

Cheick Tiote's return to fitness is not good news for Vurnon Anita.

The Ivory Coast international put in a commanding display against Leeds United on Wednesday night, in a bid to win back his first-team place.

Ahead of Monday's trip to Everton, Alan Pardew has one big decision to make - to start with the ball winner Tiote, or the ball player Anita.

Dutchman Anita has quietly gone about his business. His simple pass and move tactics, along with accurate distribution have been an asset for the team. 

On Wednesday, however, Tiote's return to the team brought back much needed steel and cover in front of the back four. 

"On transition when we were attacking and we turned over the ball, we were more solid, and Tiote had a lot to do with that.

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"He was back to near his best. He was a lot more comfortable in possession than last year. He looks more like himself and I am hoping for a big season from Cheick.

"He has been unlucky to be out of the team because of injury and he has a chance now to reaffirm the quality he has," Pardew said

The Newcastle manager was also positive about Anita, who has been able to slot into a midfield with Moussa Sissoko and Yohan Cabaye effectively.

"Vurnon is under pressure to play well because he has Cheick Tiote, one of the best in the last few years in the Premier League, breathing down his neck.

"But it's his economical use of the ball which has been beneficial to us in recent games."

With Cabaye and Sissoko expected to start at Goodison Park, one of Tiote or Anita would have to drop to the bench.

So, should Pardew stick with Anita, or would you bring Tiote back into the team? 

Let us know your thoughts.

image: © mikebrown59

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