Let’s get one thing straight, right off the bat. Papiss Cissé is the best goalscorer on the Newcastle squad.
He is a pure poacher, smart with his movement in the box, and has that killer instinct.
And given what the role of striker entails, for me that’s nearly enough to justify placing him in the starting eleven now that Mitrović is suspended. Nearly enough, but not quite.
The number 9’s build up play is what keeps him out of the line-up. That’s always been the knock on Cissé, so I guess this is nothing new. But compared to the other strikers, it really is obvious how lacking Cissé is in that department.
His touch is often too strong, resulting in loss of possession. His passing lacks precision and creativity. Those type of qualities just aren’t in his skill set.
McClaren states that he wants to play Dutch style football, and has instilled this mentality in his players. If his intentions are honest and that’s the style of football he is gunning for, then Cissé should not start. As an impact sub for the last 20-30 minutes, he still has value. But not as a starter.
A combination of Ayoze Perez and Siem de Jong up top is worth a shot. Perez impresses every time he sets foot on the pitch; he has definitely earned an opportunity to start. Give him a go.
Siem de Jong has been extremely unlucky up to this point with Newcastle. One injury ends, and then another pops up. For the moment though, he looks healthy.
I would urge McClaren to play de Jong and see what he has in the Dutch number 10. At Ajax, he was a classy player that commanded a lot of respect. It’s clear he has captain qualities.
A line-up featuring Perez up top with de Jong playing just behind him is very intriguing.
Wijnaldum could slide back a bit in the formation. Throw in Thauvin and Sissoko on the wings and you have a lineup that won’t be lacking for technical ability and creativity. That’s a line-up that should also have goals in them.
Cissé is the club’s best pure goalscorer, but Perez has never played with the sort of quality that now surrounds him, and de Jong has never been fit enough to get a proper chance.
With the opportunity that Mitrovic’s absence has provided, McClaren should start the two of them and find out what exactly he has at his disposal.
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