Put under pressure whenever Cardiff had set pieces but showed bravery in coming to claim Whittingham's centers into dangerous areas. Had to be alert to make a couple of saves from range. Couldn't be put at fault for either of Cardiff's well taken goals.
Kept Odemwingie quiet as he matched him for pace and power down Newcastle's right. Tidy in the challenge and didn't show many signs of fatigue following the hectic festive period as he happily worked his way beyond Sissoko on the flank.
Coped with the height difference against Cornelius well by showing some smart movement off the ball to limit the effectiveness of the Dane. Still likes to get forward though and was constantly looking to get on the end of set pieces inside the Cardiff area.
Formed an unfamiliar partnership with Taylor and although the pair coped well in the first half with Cornelius, both looked a little less surefooted against the pace of Campbell, illustrated by a clumsy foul on the edge of the area.
Showed the appetite to get forward and beyond Gouffran and gave McNaughton a headache all afternoon on the flank. Delivered some crosses of real quality despite no one getting on the end of them, the fact he was on corner duties on the left emphasizing his ability to produce a dangerous ball.
Worked hard to put in the mileage on the right for the Magpies but didn't really get into the promising positions that he has managed to find so often in the past. Was played through by Gouffran in the build up to the goal but was taken off late as Newcastle pushed for an equalizer.
H. Ben Arfa
Partnered Cisse up front as Newcastle went with two up top but still favored dropping deep to pick up the ball on occasions. Cracked a wicked effort against the post in the first half but wasn't allowed the same kind of space in the second period as Cardiff's wised up to the playmaker.
Partnered Tiote in the center of the park but rarely managed to assert himself in the tie. Would often come wide and help on the wings with some intricate passing but couldn't fill the massive void left by Cabaye's absence.
Ran the midfield for the hosts and constantly retained and recycled possession with impressive regularity. Tired as the game got on but still willed himself and his teammates to press Cardiff to the final second.
Displayed the odd touch that would suggest that not all confidence has been drained from his game but still strayed offside and frustrated his teammates and supporters with wayward passes and mishit shots. Had the last laugh though as he got on the scoresheet.
Worked tirelessly when not in possession to win it back and constantly put McNaughton under pressure. Worked well with Haidara down the right and played a key part in Newcastle's opener, delivering a long ball over the top for Sissoko.
Not tested for long periods of the game as Newcastle failed to register shots on target. Was forced into a couple of good stops in the second half, most notably denying Ben Arfa from close range.
Back in the team for Steven Caulker, the defender showed strength in the air as he routinely won out against Cisse. Stayed strong at the back as Newcastle forced a late onslaught and produced a number of well timed challenges to keep the hosts at bay.
Was perhaps harshly penalized as his foul in the areas saw Cardiff's early goal chalked off. Dealt well with the threat of Cisse throughout and didn't give the Senegalese striker an inch.
Only his third appearance for the Bluebirds this season and still looks to be adapting to life against top opposition. His lack of pace was often exposed by Gouffran and Haidara, leaving Cardiff vulnerable on the right-hand side.
The youngster showed maturity at the back, not getting caught in rash forward runs and showing great awareness to help out teammate McNaughton when he struggled on the right.
Took over the role of midfield marshal in the absence of Chilean enforcer Medel and meted out some tasty challenges, one on Ben Arfa bringing him a caution. Taken off in the second period for Noone in what proved to be an inspired sub by Solskjaer.
A constant threat for Cardiff, picking up the ball in dangerous areas and running at the defense.
Would have relished the chance of coming up against the relatively inexperienced Haidara but didn't see too much of the ball as Cardiff tended to focus its attacks through the center.
Constantly delivered quality set pieces that caused the hosts all sort of problems, as both goals coming as a result of his quality form dead balls.
Forced into a wide berth as the new Cardiff boss opted for just one up top. Didn't really force the issue on the wing and was subbed in the second period for Campbell in what proved to be a turning point.
Given his chance by Solskjaer, the Dane was left to lead the line by himself but was still able to get some change out of Yanga-Mbiwa and Taylor.