Cheick Tiote

Newcastle United fans may have only experienced one win in February but it's a fair bet that the month is one that many will never ever forget.

That's mainly because of the enthralling and historic 4-4 Premier League draw with Arsenal that captured hearts in every corner of the football world as the unbreakable team spirit at Newcastle shone through at St James' Park.

There were also creditable draws with Bolton and Blackburn not to mention the 2-0 win over Carling Cup winners Birmingham City on a night in which Newcastle made the Blues look ordinary at best.

But as Newcastle edge closer to survival, the time has come to whittle down the contenders for the Carling Player of the Month.

Here are Fairs Cup legend Bob Moncur and Chronicle chief sports writer Lee Ryder's picks of February.

 

Cheick Tiote

The battling midfielder's scorching last gasp effort against Arsenal will forever live in the memories of the Toon Army.

But the wonder goal was only part of a positive month for the man who committed his future to the Magpies until 2017.

Tiote was rock solid at Blackburn and Birmingham and also whipped in a lovely cross for Kevin Nolan to grab his 11 th of the season against Bolton.

All in all, Tiote is looking every inch a Premier League star as the season hits the final straight.

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Leon Best

When Andy Carroll left Newcastle in January, he left behind him huge shoes to fill in the Toon strike force.

But inch by inch and game by game Best has respectably put in a series of decent performances that have helped him try to fill the void.

Goals against Arsenal and Birmingham have helped him make a successful start to life in the Premier League with Newcastle and five goals in eight starts have had the Level 7 singing section chanting his name.

Best's hard work and endeavour has proved a few doubters wrong and gave Alan Pardew plenty of food for thought.

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Mike Williamson

When Steven Taylor returned from injury to replace the suspended centre-back in the heart of the Toon defence many may have wondered if Big Mike's number was up for the season.

Yet Williamson's classy displays have made him one of the in-form English defenders in the top flight in 2011.

He played a major part in Newcastle's comeback against Arsenal by winning a penalty against the Gunners and clean sheets at Birmingham and Blackburn followed by some immaculate tackling against Bolton have put Williamson in with a sniff of the February award.

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Jose Enrique

The Bull just keeps on getting better in a black and white shirt and is surely a contender for one of the players of the season once again.

Strong and powerful in the tackle and lightning quick going forward down the left with a range of centring and crossing to die for - Jose Enrique is well and truly the real deal for Toon fans.

And he continued that imposing style of play in February with tip top performances at Blackburn and Birmingham with another master class against Bolton.

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Joey Barton

England's loss is very much Newcastle United's gain when it comes to Wor Joey.

Barton was overlooked by Fabio Capello for the England friendly with Denmark but his outstanding displays on Tyneside just keep coming.

Ice cool from the spot against Arsenal, Joey netted two to dent the Gunners' chances of a famous win at St James'.

He bossed the midfield battles at Blackburn and while there was slight dip in his own high standards at Birmingham he underlined his importance at United this season.

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