Credit to Yohan Cabaye

Posted by Marc Duffy

Richard Sellers/Getty ImagesYohan Cabaye played a key role in Newcastle's 2-0 win last Saturday over Chelsea.

When Yohan Cabaye was pulled from the Newcastle squad just ahead of the season opener at Manchester City following a bid from Arsenal, most Newcastle fans didn't expect to see him in a black and white shirt ever again.

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When it became obvious that the transfer was not likely to happen and rumours emerged that Cabaye was refusing to play for his club, many fans didn't want to see him in a black and white shirt ever again.

What actually happened over that whole period very few people know for sure, although Cabaye dropped some hints in a press conference when he was with the French squad. He said:

"The only person who can explain what happened is Joe Kinnear. If he is honest, he will tell it. Otherwise it will not get out of my mouth.

"Was my failed transfer to Arsenal difficult to swallow? At first, yes. But you have to quickly get focused again, because if you go on thinking about it you have a grudge against a lot of people and that is useless. I quickly forget about it and go back to work."

My interpretation of Cabaye's comments is that the club opted not to pick a 'saleable asset' -- he might have gotten injured. Or perhaps he did refuse to play? What does it matter now?

When Cabaye returned to the team, as a 65th minute sub against Fulham in Newcastle's fourth game of the season, he was met with a mixed response from the Gallowgate faithful -- thousands jeered then thousands cheered. Cabaye just got on with his business.

Since his return, Cabaye has improved in almost every game. He scored an excellent goal in the 2-3 loss to Everton after coming on as a halftime substitute and then five days later he was exceptional as Newcastle beat Cardiff 2-1 in Wales.

He scored another superb goal in the battling 2-2 draw with Liverpool, as well as sending over the free kick that ended up in the back of the net thanks to Paul Dummett.

Cabaye was then one of the few players to perform reasonably well in the derby defeat to Sunderland.

He played an integral part in Saturday's impressive 2-0 win against Chelsea, again swinging in a superb free kick that ended up in the back of the Gallowgate net -- this one converted by Yoan Gouffran.

In short, Cabaye is starting to look like the footballer we watched in the 2011-12 season.

The fans are slowly coming back around too. 'Don't sell Cabaye!' chants have returned to the stands and the Gallowgate corner are once again offering up a standing ovation when he comes over to take a corner-kick.

What is driving this renaissance in Cabaye's game?

It's a World Cup year -- he wants to be on that French plane to Brazil. Perhaps he is hoping to catch the eye of potential new suitors for a January move? Roma are said to be keen, although I can't see him making that move. Or maybe Cabaye wants to play his way back into the favour of the Newcastle fans, knowing that they felt let down?

Whatever the reason, Newcastle United are benefiting and they should be happy about that.

Twitter: @MarcSDuffy


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