After 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.
Cisse’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.
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