DembaBa14After Saturday’s game vs. City and now the inevitable rumble of speculation surrounding Demba Ba, his famous contract clause, and the will he/won’t he leave debate; I thought I’d weigh in with an opinion.

From the outside looking in, it’s a case of having an educated guess about certain things, but this is how I see it at the moment.

After the arrival of Papiss Cisse last January, Demba Ba was shifted out to the left of a front three and he played there for the remainder of the season. He scored once, on 5th February against Aston Villa and, as we all know, Cisse went and bagged 13!

We played some clinical football during that period; think West Brom, Swansea and Chelsea away. I had forgotten about Cisse’s second goal at Swansea, YouTube it now if you have to! However, off the pitch Demba Ba had a wee grumble and moaned about having to play on the left. Then, in the summer, we all sweated over certain players leaving and Pardew announced Ba would play through the middle, probably “90%” of the time this season.

Now we are where we are, and I think it is there for everyone to see, that there’s an issue between Ba &Cisse, which is proving detrimental to our season. Yes, Ba is scoring goals but clearly the team was, and is, better off when Cisse is played through the middle and Ba plays on the left.

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Pardew promised Ba that he will get his game through the middle and probably didn’t realise just how much it would affect Cisse’s form, and the team as a whole.

PapissCisse46Cisse’s performances this season make it clear he is wasted in a role out wide. He looked well and truly fed up after he was subbed on Saturday, I noticed a few animated shrugs and some arm waving between him and Ba regarding movement and passing, or in Ba’s case, not passing.

There appears to be no joy in playing them as a front two either, only briefly against Stoke and Wigan did it look like there might be a connection.

It’s a bit of a pickle now as the rumours start about Ba moving on; maybe it would be better if he just went? To me, he seems to be getting preferential treatment from Pardew about where he plays, purely because Pardew seems scared to lose him.

To move the team forward, I’m starting to think we would be better off without him. If we did sell him, it would force Pardew and hopefully Ashley’s hand, we would need at least 1 replacement, a proper strike partner for Cisse or a proper winger/wide forward to compliment him in a 4-3-3. If nothing is done then Pardew needs to find a way to fit them both in, or rotate them.

It’s a sad example of player power winning over and it shouldn’t have been allowed to get this far. But then imagine the fan revolt if, in the summer, Pardew had said to Ba he should play where he is told and then Ba jumps ship?

January will be interesting, something has to give, we can’t go on all season playing the two of them in a 4-3-3 and no progress has been made with the two of them playing as a partnership.

Thoughts?

Send in your letters/articles to contribute@themag.co.uk

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10 comments
DownUnderMag
DownUnderMag

Think it is taking longer than expected to iron out the kinks, specifically getting the players used to actually playing football again rather than Pardew's patented hoofball!

It's also worth noting that we are playing completely silly lineups.  The defence against York will be nothing like it will be against Southampton come opening day.  It definitely shows our lack of quality in depth,but when you look at it, we had no Colocini, Taylor, Krul, Sissoko, Gini, Colback or Cisse playing and i'm pretty sure De jong, Aarons and Mitrovic are all just playing to get fitness levels back to where they need to be.  

If we get Mbemba on board and perhaps another defender and a creative player (or another link up forward) I suspect we will have a reasonable first choice team for the season.  

The vast majority of fans also need to realise this is a rebuild season, and that three players aren't going to suddenly see us vying for the title. 

PhilYare
PhilYare

if people dont think this is alarming they are clueless. pre-season games are an excellent indicator of how you are going to start the season... at the moment we are arent better than lower league sides

Nic Mayer
Nic Mayer

I wouldn't risk our big names at York two weeks from the start of the season

mactoon
mactoon

He can use this fixture to see players he hasn't seen in a game situation. He is new to the club and doesn't know what his squad can do. I can't see any problem with playing fringe players and Mitrovic before the weekend game when he can play a stronger 11 close to the ones he will start with. What is the problem?

PhilYare
PhilYare

@mactoon but york city are in the same situation in their preperations yet they can still easily beat us. everyone is trying out new players, formations etc but we keep losing - problem

1957
1957

Another non story telling us things we already know, mainly Carver was an idiot.

But seriously clubs often play 3 games in a week at the end of pre season, it's about giving as many players as possible game time with the intention of sending as near to your best team out in the final one.

geordiedave53
geordiedave53

Its a good idea to play fringe players, especially in a friendly gives McClaren another chance to asses everybody

Hughie
Hughie

Stupid article once again. Mclaren and co are still assessing players, and particularly some of those underused or not tried by the previous managers/coaches. Some people want to latch onto the least glimmer of negativity!! Give up John and stick to the day job if you've got one!!

Artie Fufkin
Artie Fufkin

More whining, they are playing games to get match fitness for the whole squad. Man u & Chelsea are still in the US, still playing the whole squad over there. 


The people who write this have seemingly never seen a pre-season game not played any level of football

jimblag
jimblag

Why didn't SM just play reserves and a few sub appearances for first teamers against sheff United to rest them then play a stronger team tonight? It probably isn't ideal but there's no point in blaming what can't be changed. JC is an idiot but we should just be glad he can't inflict further damage upon us.