Alan Pardew’s Cisse Dilemma
One player who most definitely hasn’t hit last season’s heights is Papiss Cisse.
The player’s lack of goals and a generally held view that both he and Demba Ba want to take up the same positions, means that we have had a less than ideal scenario up front.
Last season proved that, at least for the team overall, a 4-3-3 with Ba out wide can work.
This season, a 4-3-3 with Cisse out wide has been shown NOT to work.
This is the starting point for Alan Pardew’s dilemma.
If Papiss Cisse plays then he has to be the central striker, he is a brilliant finisher but has to play at the sharp end, the player furthest up the pitch who is looking to pounce on any opportunity. Demba Ba is also a great finisher but clearly has a lot more to his game, hence why he could play wide left last season and still make a consistently excellent contribution.
Playing Cisse wide, or as happened against West Ham as one of a front two with Ba, just doesn’t work.
So with our current set of players, Alan Pardew has to play Cisse through the middle and with time the goals will come. However, I don’t think you need to have ‘insider’ knowledge to strongly assume that Demba Ba has no intention of regularly playing wide left and will have made his feelings clear to the manager.
The problem for Alan Pardew and the rest of us is that because of a failure to bring in a desperately needed extra striker in the summer, we don’t have a goalscoring alternative to complement Demba Ba.
Does Alan Pardew risk losing Ba by forcing him to play as Cisse’s wide left man, or should the manager cash in on Cisse to buy an effective partner fro Demba?
I think that’s the choice because I can’t see Mike Ashley allowing Pardew to have the luxury of a third goalscorer.
Send in your letters/articles to [email protected]
If you would like to feature on The Mag, submit your article to [email protected]