It’s apparent to say that life under John Carver has been, let’s say, less than exhilarating since Pardew packed his bags for South London.

Remember how optimistic we were that day?

I’m not saying we were wrong to be, and I’m certainly not jumping on the ‘Get Pardew back in’ bandwagon. He’s not the man to take us forward, but clearly Carver doesn’t fit that bill either.

The Geordie faithful sit in hope that we avoid an unlikely, but still uncomfortably possible, relegation fight, and that a Frank De Boer or a Remi Garde will waltz through the St. James’ Park gates in the summer to invigorate our once-great football club.

We’ve got some waiting to do before that though and we’re having to make do with what we’ve got. Horrifically negative and mediocre performances against sides like Burnley, Leicester, Stoke and Crystal Palace have seen a wave of criticism fired at Carver, as well as the man at the top.

(To feature like Rhys, send in your articles for our website to [email protected])

Some members of the playing staff have been in the firing line too, with the usual suspects of Yoan Gouffran and Mike Williamson defying belief by retaining their respective places in the Newcastle starting XI.

But there’s one player out on the field that is infuriating me far, far more than those two; and he needs to buck his ideas up.

Moussa Sissoko’s first half of the season was pretty special. So often he would run the show whenever he was involved, with an almost Vieira-esque combination of unstoppable pace and power.

Now? Our so-called ‘£20m-plus star man’ looks about as disinterested as it gets, and is contributing nowhere near as much to the side as he used to.

Once Moussa had been drafted back in to his natural central position earlier in the year, and offered more attacking responsibility, he looked a world-beater. He could pick up the ball from deep within our own half, then burst past 4 or 5 opposition players with ease. When was the last time we saw him do that?

As the January transfer window opened up, Moussa scored in front of the Gallowgate to put Newcastle ahead for the third time that day against Burnley.

It was reasonably late in the day, looked like it could have been the winner (and it bloody should have been too), but his celebration was devoid of excitement.

He jogged along to the corner flag without energy, enthusiasm, or any sort of response that a Premier League goal-scorer usually has when putting his team ahead with 15 minutes to go.

It was unrecognisable. Sissoko has always been one to celebrate his goals for us. He went berserk in front of the away fans after his strike at Manchester City, and sprinted to the dugouts in sheer ecstasy after his winners against QPR (this season) and West Brom (last season). Many Newcastle fans thought something was up that day, with interest from Arsenal and PSG anything but far from media coverage.

A January move never materialised, so Sissoko is a Newcastle player until the end of the season.

As happy as we were to see him stay, Moussa himself doesn’t seem thrilled. Not that I can blame him having to hang around our rotting football club for another 5 or so months.

It’s been far too long since he got the crowd to their feet with a lung-bursting run from midfield, he’s dropped deeper than usual, and seems like he doesn’t want to make things happen anymore.

I’m not saying he’s been woeful, he’s been ok. But what annoys me is that he’s managed to look ok with minimal effort. When he puts a shift in, he’s monstrous!

The guy is a professional and will continue to do his job as he should. But it just doesn’t seem like the same player as the guy who made Chelsea’s engine room stars look like Sunday league fools.

Unlike Gouffran and Williamson, who just aren’t of Premier League calibre, Sissoko has the ability to perform and make things happen for Newcastle United, but he just doesn’t seem to want to. With De Jong out for another 8 weeks or more, the responsibility of even the slightest hope of a strong finish to the season rests on his shoulders a little while longer, whether he wants it there or not.

If he does want to move away, like it has been reported, he’s not going to get his way with the performances he’s given of late.

John Carver has come out and said plenty of times that Moussa Sissoko is focused on the task in hand, which I’m sure he is.

He just doesn’t look like he has the magic that he used to.

Comments welcome below.

You can follow the author on Twitter @RhysMelhuish22

  • Sickandtiredstill

    He’s a Pro and should ply his trade to the best of his ability, without doubt.
    Then again, if you were part of that team and squad, would you be inclined to give more effort and dedication than what the club and it’s hierarchy are showing? 
    A blind man, his dog, and best part of 52000 supporters can see what players are desperately needed and have been needed for some time.
    Instead they clear the decks to the bare minimum with almost half a season still to play, for no other reason than financial penny pinching. Of course, other than survival there is nothing to actually play for.
    We are becoming like a circus freak show. Sky still turns up and Ashley gets his SD advertising quota filled. The team can suffer all it wants in the meantime.
    Another moronic storlyline about Benitez to add to the FDB, Garde, Galtier circus while in reality too many refuse to accept what Charnley actually said. This is the way it is, the way it’s going to be, and whoever comes in needs to accept that and work with it.
    Well folks, this is exactly what that strategy means.

  • AshGT

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Newcastle will be net mediocre until MA is gone as a minimum. There will be some short-term exceptions, with individual performances and the odd unexpected positive result, but coaches, players and fans will always be drawn back into mid table mindset until this change happens. What worries me is, when it does happen, will MA be replaced by another self-serving businessman who further destroys any passion and value that might be left in our club.

  • philk4

    Sisssoko is doing what Remy did last season, only not as bad, as blatant or as insulting. (He just refused to play. Wasn’t injured I’d say) He wants away to a team wanting to win stuff. If Keegan was still here, he may well WANT to stay. But Ashley and Carver – Hell. Even I’D want to leave. And I live and breathe NUFC

  • Paul Patterson

    If your employer was content with a tick-over type attitude, would you bust a gut to help that employer.
    No, you would do what you are paid to do, no more, no less. If the situation changed then your attitude would alter. Until then, I think we can expect a couple of decent months (Nov/Dec for the last 2 seasons?) and then an abject three or four months from all concerned . .

  • Larry Adler

    I noticed on Sunday against Stoke at times he was totally uninterested in the game, if he wants a big move surely the better he plays for us will get him noticed more by the bigger clubs.
    Colback has gone off the boil in the last couple of games also, let’s hope he and sissoko come back a bit stronger after their enforced break this weekend.

  • PaulNewsome

    Aye. that’s right. When a player wants to move and to impress other clubs, he
    deliberately plays badly and makes no effort. :-)

  • wor monga

    Sissoko surprised a lot of people (not just Chelsea) when he
    burst into the PL, and to be fair there’s nothing wrong with the amount of
    effort that he has ever put in for us, but his passing in general or
    getting his creative final ball to a striker or a shot on target is something
    else altogether…
    If he could find those missing pieces of the puzzle, and put
    them into his game consistently then he would truly be a Vierra clone and
    sought after by all of the top teams, and not just as back-up to decorate their

    At present there is no real push from any of the ‘Big’ clubs
    to pay out the £20mill plus for his services… it’s more like some wishful
    thinking on his part, his agents and those stirring it up in the media.

  • DownUnderMag

    Sissoko is one of those players who should be dominating every game.  He has all the attributes but seems to switch off too often.  Obviously there is arguments that involve seeing him in better company and surrounded with better players, but his own game is far too unpredictable.  When it works for him he looks immense, a world class player.  When it doesn’t??  He is a passenger.  Almost a liability.

    But what I fail to understand is why, when we played so well and he was so effective did Pardew change that to accommodate the likes of Gouffran, Tiote and Obertan back in the side?  Carver, has just continued on where Pardew left off, but seems to be even more negative (if possible).  It doesn’t address the lack of goals, it doesn’t address the awful defending from piling pressure on them and it doesn’t address the clear need to change things up as well as giving younger kids a better idea of what they are meant to be doing when brought into the side.  

    Surely, we are all but safe now, so why not go for it?  Does Carver honestly think that 1 win in 6 is going to endear him to the fans and get him the job full time?  Or is he banking on the fact that Pardew lasted so long so if he emulates that form/tactics/brown-nosing then he is a shoe in to get the job permanently no matter the results?

  • Stephen McMenzie

    He’s a heap of shite, a handful of good games in the 2 years. No surprise all those big clubs supposedly after him never actually came in with an offer, all paper talk.

  • Nastynorm

    The player we shud b lookin at is our useless leader Collochini. This blokes supposed 2b our captain he dosnt talk 2players he can’t win a header he can’t tackle he’s got no heart & no bottle, drop him & give him away in the summer we need a strong captain & a new centre half pairing. As 4 sissoko he’s another 1 who dosnt want 2b here so sell him on as wel we need a clear out, Collo,willo,gouff,Anita,tiote & maybe amoebi.

  • Maximus Moose

    Sissoko isn’t as good as he thinks he is, £20 mill Snap they’re hands off

  • Stonesy

    I never cease to be amazed that some of our fans still comment on potential sales in terms of how much money will be received. When will you finally notice that not a penny of it goes towards reinforcing the team? And no matter how many times I check my online banking, I for one am still waiting for my share of the Carroll/Ba/Cabaye cash. So apologies if I fail to share your enthusiasm for the club making bumper sales. “Snap their hands off” for what, for God’s sake? So we can have even fewer options than we already have?

  • TonyMarkElsender

    If the task in hand is getting as far away from this circus as possible

  • Chemical Dave

    a player who lacks motivation at a club with no ambition, what a surprise.