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The Best Use For Moussa Sissoko

6 years ago
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I became a bit of a connoisseur of French club football a little bit ago, while watching Ligue 1 a team I took a shine to was Toulouse FC, clad in purple and white they stood out from the other teams in the league.

They were a joy to watch with the creativity of Etienne Capoue, and the marauding runs of Cheickh M’Bengue from left back, but the jewel in Toulouse’s crown was Moussa Sissoko – the monster in the middle of the park.

He was the centre of the team; his physical presence gave solidity to the team and his drives out from the back quickly turned defence into attack. So naturally when the toon were linked with him I had my fingers crossed, even though I thought someone further up the footballing pyramid would come in for him.

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Eventually we got him “over the line” and for the reported price of £1.8m I thought we had got the deal of the century. Along with the other signings of Jan 13, the place was bouncing and Sissoko inspired performances away to Villa, and particularly at home to Chelsea, made me think the sky was the limit, even though he was playing further forward than he had at Toulouse.

Unfortunately, as we all know that was just the eye of the storm which was the 2012/2013 season for Newcastle United, and Sissoko along with our other January recruits began to fade, they became less effective as the season went on. A lot of people, myself included, put this down to needing time to adapt to the league.

The 2013/2014 season began reasonably well with Moussa again behind the striker; he was then moved to the right wing which coincided with our best run of form as we scaled the dizzy heights of 5th before it all went wrong.

The loss of Cabaye affected everyone and as the season went on there was a lot of concern that a pairing of Sissoko and Gouffran on the wings, would not provide the creativity required to win games and our form in 2014 backed that up. That is despite Sissoko creating more chances than any other player in black and white last season. There were a couple of times he was moved inside but the experiment was always quickly abandoned.

So now onto this season and with the players we have brought in it looks like we could have another season of Moussa the winger, as De Jong/Cabella should compete for the number 10 role and  Jack Colback has come in to add competition to Tiote and Vurn in the 2 more defensive central roles.

For me this would lead to us not getting the best out of a real top player who could get even better if given game time in his proper position. In my view Sissoko needs to play in one of the 2 central more defensive roles. His athleticism and engine are perfect to ensure he can give the required defensive cover while still making the lung busting runs he is renowned for. Also, with him picking the ball up deeper he will have more space to get going, and when he does get going he is very hard to stop.

If we are going to play Sissoko there, who plays next to him? For me it has to be Tiote, even though he has some suicidal moments in possession, when he’s on form he’s truly one of the best at what he does and a partnership with Sissoko could be successful, even if we revert to the type of football we played last season.

Unfortunately, this means that other players would miss out. Colback came in and played his heart out against City but the jury for me is still out on him – if he has 10 games like that great, if not he has to earn a place. The other player who would be affected by this pairing would be little Vurn, I’m a massive fan of his and think he is one of the most underrated players in the squad, but unfortunately, for the physical aspects of the premier league I think Sissoko and Tiote are better suited.

I wouldn’t want Anita to leave though as he gives great cover in those positions as well as at full-back and I’m also of the opinion that he could offer something on the right wing (pacey, can cross and will cover back), or in the number 10 role (clever passer, especially if filling the middle against top teams) if required due to injuries/suspensions.

Overall, I think a solid midfield base of Tiote and Sissoko would give us the platform, thus allowing the likes of De Jong and Cabella to flourish and take us forward.

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