Newcastle 3 Stoke 0: Cabaye double boosts Champions League bid as Toon tide washes Potters aside
16:03 GMT, 21 April 2012
Yohan Cabaye produced a midfield masterclass as Newcastle cruised past Stoke to edge themselves closer to Champions League qualification.
The France international scored twice and provided the glorious pass from which striker Papiss Cisse took his tally to 11 goals in 10 games in a stunning individual display.
His contribution helped to claim a sixth successive Barclays Premier League victory for the Magpies which leaves them four points clear of Champions League semi-finalists Chelsea with just four games to play.
Strolling: Yohan Cabaye helped fuel the fires of Newcastle's quest for the Champions League
That man again: Papiss Cisse continued his rich vein of form in front of goal
Newcastle: Krul, Coloccini, Santon, Simpson (Gosling 82), Williamson, Cabaye (Perch 60), Ben Arfa, Gutierrez, Tiote, Cisse (Sh Ameobi 69), Ba
Subs not used: Elliot, R Taylor, Ferguson, Best
Goals: Cabaye 14, 57, Cisse 18
Stoke: Begovic, Huth, Shawcross, Wilkinson (Whitehead 32), Shotton, Whelan, Wilson, Etherington, Palacios (Jerome 55), Walters, Crouch
Subs not used: Sorensen, Upson, Pennant, Jones, Fuller
Booked: Shawcross, Palacios
The sides meet at Stamford Bridge on May 2 when victory for either could prove decisive.
Alan Pardew's men were simply too good for Stoke and having gone ahead through Cabaye's 14th-minute header, never looked back.
Cisse made it 2-0 with a cool finish
four minutes later, but Cabaye's second, an inch-perfect curling shot 12
minutes after the restart, was the pick of the bunch on an afternoon
when the bulk of a crowd of 52,162 headed for home dreaming of Europe.
Newcastle ran out knowing victory
would take them into fourth place, for a few hours at least, but perhaps
more importantly, give them a healthy advantage over sixth-placed
The return of Cheick Tiote provided
added steel in the midfield, but what promised to be a battle developed
into something of a stroll.
Stoke started brightly and they might have gone ahead with just 10 minutes gone.
Double delight: Cabaye bagged two goals in a strong Newcastle display
Unit: Newcastle's signings this season have combined superbly
England striker Peter Crouch, who had
got little change out of his early duels with Mike Williamson, climbed
high above the defender to head down Marc Wilson's long ball, but
Jonathan Walters volleyed high over.
But the game changed within four minutes as Pardew's men flexed their muscles to go ahead.
More precisely, they showcased the
individual talent of Frenchman Hatem Ben Arfa who, having spent most of
his time until that point wide on the right, turned up on the left to
bamboozle Wilson and chip an inviting cross to the far post.
Cisse's eyes lit up as he powered a
header back across keeper Asmir Begovic and waited for the net to bulge,
but his disappointment at seeing the ball come back off the crossbar
was short-lived as Cabaye stopped to convert the rebound.
Hallowed turf: Newcastle have been formidable at home
Graft: Jonas Gutierrez has worked hard all season long
Roles were reversed four minutes later as Stoke were carved wide open by the brilliance of the former Lille midfielder.
Cabaye collected Jonas Gutierrez's
pass in the middle of the field and, having spotted Cisse's run, slid an
inch-perfect ball into his path for the Senegal international to
dispatch it left-footed past the helpless Begovic.
The Frenchman's individual display was
a joy to behold as he ran the game in front of the combative Tiote with
Stoke threateningly sporadically from set-pieces, but without forcing
keeper Tim Krul to make a save.
It seemed only a matter of time before
Newcastle added to their lead, and it took a smart diving save by
Begovic to deny full-back Davide Santon after he ran on to another
Pardew will no doubt have warned his
troops to be prepared for a backlash in the wake of opposite number Tony
Pulis' half-time team talk, but they might have extended their lead
within seconds of the restart.
Hustle: Cabaye tackles Stoke's Wilson Palacios
Good times: Newcastle's form has been nothing short of remarkable and every win is a step nearer to Europe
Ben Arfa slipped effortlessly past
Matthew Etherington on the right before floating another teasing cross
to the far post, where leading scorer Demba Ba, without a goal since
February 5, chose to chest it down rather than head directly at goal and
saw Begovic make a vital block.
Ba and Cisse were proving too hot for
Stoke to handle, and they combined to good effect once again with eight
minutes of the half played for latter to find the back of the net from
close range after Begovic had spilled the former's shot, although from
an offside position.
But they had to wait just four minutes
longer for the third goal to arrive when, after Ben Arfa and Ba had
probed at the visitors' defence to little real effect, Cabaye took
charge to curl an unstoppable shot across Begovic and into the bottom
One winner: Alan Pardew shares a joke with Tony Pulis but only the former would be smiling after the match
Pardew decided Cabaye`s work was done
four minutes later when he replaced him with James Perch to a standing
ovation from an appreciative crowd.
The newcomer distinguished himself within seconds when he hurled himself into the path of Crouch's goal-bound shot.
Newcastle were in rampant mood and Ba forced another save from Begovic before skipper Fabricio Coloccini headed wide.
Begovic had to pull off fine saves to deny Tiote twice within the final four minutes and spare his side further punishment.