Premier League: Newcastle 3 Stoke 0
Newcastle earned a sixth straight Premier League win with a 3-0 result over Stoke City, as they continued to push for the Champions League.
The first half saw a midfield battle that was dominated by the home side thanks to the superb efforts of Hatem Ben Arfa and Yohan Cabaye at Sports Direct Arena, with the latter netting a brilliant brace and providing an assist for Papiss Demba Cisse.
But it was Cisse who set up Cabaye for the first goal, as the Senegalese striker's header came back off the bar to fall to the Frenchman who nodded home successfully.
Cabaye then played a pristine through ball to the Newcastle front man, who finished cleverly with his left boot to the far post of Stoke custodian Asmir Begovic.
The third and final goal was a screamer from Cabaye, who buried a long-range strike at Begovic's far post early in the second half, with the Bosnian helpless to keep it out.
The game began cagily, with the home side enjoying the majority of the early possession, and it was the Magpies who had an early chance as Demba Ba blazed a shot over the crossbar from outside the penalty area in the fourth minute.
The away side then had a similar half-chance through Matthew Etherington, who likewise put his shot well over the crossbar.
Stoke then had a glorious chance to take the lead in the tenth minute through Jonathan Walters.
A diagonal ball from the right found Peter Crouch, who beat Mike Williamson easily in the air and fed Walters, but the Irishman's shot went wide when he could so easily have scored.
However, it was the home side that made their possession tell with their first meaningful chance of the game in the 14th minute with Cabaye's first.
The Magpies looked confident, and quickly doubled their advantage just four minutes later.
Cabaye combined well with fellow Frenchman Ben Arfa, and his superb through ball found Cisse, who stroked the ball home calmly to give the home side a 2-0 advantage inside the first 20 minutes.
The following passages of play were dominated by Newcastle, who were controlling the midfield with a great deal of ease thanks to the work of Ben Arfa and Cabaye.
The away side tried to counter this by bringing on Dean Whitehead into the centre of midfield, but his introduction made little difference to the game.
Meanwhile, Crouch was isolated up front for Stoke, and after Newcastle's Davide Santon saw a skidding shot saved by Begovic, the first half ended with the home side looking comfortable and leading 2-0.
The home side's dominance saw them get a third, when Cabaye struck again before being substituted off at the hour mark to cap a stunning individual performance.