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.


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  • Dan B

    Am I the only one who understands that Demba Ba has scored 11 goals so far this season? Take away those match winning strikes and we are as it stands statistically relegated. I’m at every match and he looks hungry, sharp and willing to score. UNLIKE Cisse who acts lethargic and too casual. Most recently with his dreadful miss against City to draw us level this past Saturday. The numbers speak for themselves. This transfer talk is pure speculation. Stop drawing silly conclusions from events that haven’t occurred yet. IF Demba Ba leaves us this January, then we will need to count on Cisse to find form again and hopefully replace Ba with someone who suits the 4-3-3 or who can link up with Papiss successively. Until then, Newcastle United are relying on Demba Ba to find the back of the net as he has done prolifically.

    • disqus_Pw9hBVWSsb

      Cheers for your input Dan, i wrote the piece. I fully appreciate Ba and his goals, and i agree that when he plays, he works his heart out. However, I don’t think Cisse looks lethargic or comes across lazy, yes sometimes he looks lost, or gets caught out due to the role he is having to play, but he’s playing the role of a provider which isn’t what he is. As for the chance he missed against City, i’m sure if he had been playing through the middle regularly, then having that regularity would have helped him in that situation. Calling it a ‘dreadful’ miss is a bit of an exaggeration. It was one chance and it doesn’t mean anything in terms of his ability.
      I don’t buy into any of the speculation, i ignore most transfer rumours because thats what they are. Wait until it comes from the club or the player in the form of a reliable source, not sure where my silly conclusions are?

      • Dan B

        Duncan, first off mate it’s a well written piece. Most of my reactions were carved from the negativity I have been reading about Demba Ba in these last few days solely based from the rumor mill. I support every player who currently wears the badge. Rumors are rumors and words get twisted. You can’t always blame the player (our own) for “the fuss”. I am not disagreeing with selling nor am I opposed to life without Demba Ba. If he does leave, good riddance, life moves on but unfortunately for us all Cisse doesn’t look the player he was last season. It’s in the numbers. You can’t blame that entirely on tactics or formations, it’s in his mannerisms and lack of confidence in front of goal. Even in a 4-4-2 he’s not scoring. So I’m not slagging Cisse off or praising Ba for the wrong reasons. Give credit where credit is due – that’s all I’m saying (which you have done in your reply).

        • disqus_Pw9hBVWSsb

          good man, maybe they’ll both bag 2 goals on saturday and we’ll all have a merry christmas!

  • Agreed!

  • Based on his form in the second half of the season, the constant rumours over his contract, the involvement of all his agents, and the ever present issue of his knee problem, I would have been happy to see us sell Ba in the summer. Some people will no doubt say (as Dan already has) we would be in real trouble without his goals, however I’d argue that we’d have been playing better football and as a result we’d be getting more goals from other players – not to mention the fact that Cisse showed last season that through the middle he can be the deadliest striker and most natural goalscorer we’ve had since Shearer.

    We’ve proved that we can sell first team players and replace them adequately, so I would be happy to trust that Graham Carr and his team can do the same again. The timing now isn’t ideal – though if Cisse finds some form and the scouting team are confident that someone like Remy can fit straight in, I don’t see any reason why we wouldn’t sell Ba in January, considering the fuss he’s starting to cause.

  • Jonathan

    Agree with most of this but would like to add one thing: surely we signed Cisse to replace Ba – I have trouble believing any football man at the club (Carr, Pardew in particular) thought they would work as a duo. It was clear at the ANC last winter they could not. I suspect the club thought they would lose Ba last winter (remember Harry and his outbursts) or at least last summer but clearly no other club was prepared to pay the wages, pay the agent, pay us and pay for the insurance on the dodgy knee or he would have gone. I also suspect not having the money from Ba meant Ashley was not prepared to dip in last summer.
    Totally accept Dans comments about the goals and he is a top notch finisher but I just think the club wouldn’t be unhappy to see him leave – he does not fit young, sell on and I think he is the only purple not on a long term contract.

  • GeordieSpirit

    During the second half of last season, I remember Demba Ba getting goal scoring opportunities in every match (just about anyway). He missed a couple of sitters, he hit the woodwork several times and he could have done an awful lot better with many other chances. What stopped Ba scoring more goals last season was not the fact that he was playing a little wider, but it was more about attitude and not feeling valued by being replaced as number 1. If one or two chances that trickled wide or hit the post had went in, then things may have been different. However, we are not going to progress until we get some kind of resolution to the double Demba situation. Owners, agents or maybe injuries are the primary factors in making a change.

  • BigJB147

    I would definitely sell Ba. Yes, he has 11 goals but these have been achieved at the overall expense of the team. Cisse is a better all round player, links well with others and isn’t above playing his teammates in if in better positions. What summed it up for me was Ba taking weak 40 yard pot shots at Stoke whilst Cisse got into good positions.
    It’s not only Cisse who has suffered due to Ba’s reluctance to play wide left of a front 3. Ben Arfa has been shackled to the right wing where it is harder to impose himself, though he has still done well, whilst Cabaye has been forced into a less advanced role where it is harder for him to make things happen – think how well he played when in a deeper role just off the front 3. Even Jonas out wide is not as effective as he was in the middle of a 3. Add in the constant speculation around his release clause, his reluctance to get a new deal signed with the clause removed and I honestly feel it could be best all round to move him on now.

  • Rowla75

    Ba may have played well for his 11 goals this season but the stat that means a lot more is NUFC have only 19 goals from 17 prem games this season.The fact of the matter is we are failing as an attacking UNIT.

  • Brontosaurus

    The players aren’t the problem, it’s the manager.

  • Mal

    I have difficulty in agreeing with a scenario which suggests that Cisse’s poor form is the fault of Ba. Cisse has missed several reasonable chances of scoring in recent weeks and, had these been converted (as they should have been) then I doubt that you would have written the above article.
    Having said that, I agree that to date they have not formed an effective partnership generally as they don’t feed of each other. Something for the manager and coaches to sort out – watching a few shearer/ferdinand videos might help.