Newcastle move up to fourth after win

NEWCASTLE UNITED moved up to fourth in the Premier League table after a comprehensive 3-0 win over Stoke City at St James’ Park.

 

NEWCASTLE UNITED moved up to fourth in the Premier League table after a comprehensive 3-0 win over Stoke City at St James’ Park.

 

A brace from Yohan Cabaye and a customary strike from Papiss Cisse mean the Magpies now occupy the final Champions League spot with four games left to play.

 

That could change this evening if Tottenham beat Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road, but a sixth consecutive win for Alan Pardew’s men sees their late season push to sneak into the Champions League continue.

 

With Arsenal and Chelsea involved in a lunchtime stalemate, Newcastle had a magnificent chance to close the gap on the Gunners and increase their advantage over Chelsea, and Pardew’s men got off to a scintillating at St James’ Park.

 

Hatem Ben Arfa, operating as part of a deadly front three alongside Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse, was the architect for Newcastle’s opener, drifting across to the left and leaving Marc Wilson for dead.

 

He sent in an inviting ball to the back post where Cisse was waiting to head his effort off the bar, but Cabaye was on hand to finish off the rebound from close range.

 

Looking for their sixth win in as many games, the Magpies weren’t hanging around and less than four minutes after Cabaye’s opener, the Frenchman turned provider for the second.

 

He collected the ball midway in the visitor’s half and played a sublime, defence-splitting pass in to Cisse, who finished first time with a low shot on the turn.

 

It was the Senegal man’s 11th goal in ten games, making him the first Premier League player to score in six consecutive starts since Cristiano Ronaldo in 2008.

 

The early double had clearly rocked Stoke, who had barely got out of their own half in the opening 20 minutes.

 

Such was Newcastle’s domination, the closest the Potters came to pulling a goal back saw Ryan Shawcross glance his header across goal from a Matthew Etherington free-kick, but even that was a good few yards wide.

 

The hosts’ domination continued into the second half and any possibility of a Stoke comeback went out the window when Newcastle scored a third in the 57th minute.

 

Some neat interplay between Cisse and Ba saw the ball fall to Cabaye on the edge of the area, the Frenchman sending his first time curling shot into Asmir Begovic’s far corner.

 

To Tony Pulis’ frustration, his attacking players rarely testing a strong Magpies back line and with that Fabricio Coloccini saw his opportunity to go forward in search of a goal.

 

Ben Arfa floated a dangerous corner in from the right to Coloccini, who was unmarked in the middle, but his header whistled past Begovic’s post.

 

Cheik Tiote saw a thunderous long range effort pushed over the bar by Begovic with the midfielder testing the Stoke keeper with a similar strike moments later.

 

Newcastle: Krul; Simpson (Gosling 83), Coloccini, Williamson, Santon; Tiote, Cabaye (Perch 61), Gutierrez; Ben Arfa, Cisse (Ameobi 70), Ba.

 

Subs (not used): Elliot, Ferguson, R Taylor, Best.

 

Stoke City: Begovic; Wilson, Huth, Shawcross, Shotton; Wilkinson (Whitehead 32), Whelan, Palacios (Jerome 55, Etherington; Crouch, Walters

Subs (not used): Sorenson, Upson, Pennant, Fuller Jones.

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