Our last two games against Fulham and QPR have left me puzzled with the strike pairing before the game has even kicked off.
Firstly I wasn’t expecting two strikers to be played in both games, but also the combinations weren’t something I wanted, or expected.
I was in the Newcastle Arms before the Fulham game when I overheard someone say that we were starting with Peter Lovenkrands and Leon Best, and I was instantly frustrated. Before anybody moans, there is nothing wrong with Best. If we were to play two strikers one would definitely be Best for me, but Lovenkrands, I’d rather have Toonsy play and he couldn’t run a bath.
Peter Lovenkrands was a good player for us in the Championship, but that is certainly his level, maybe lower now he’s a couple of years older. He runs around avoiding the ball, and if he ever does come near the ball he will instantly lose it, or get muscled out.
As I suspected, Lovenkrands was as much use as a chocolate fireguard against Fulham and was substituted around the hour mark after contributing nothing. Demba Ba then came on and did more than him in in half the time. Ba won headers and he put himself about.
He also seemed to want the ball more, and didn’t shy away from it. Ba created Leon Best’s goal, it was more luck than judgement I think, but he controlled the ball well and had to be there.
I know some will say that Ba had a poor game against Scunthorpe, but we never really played the ball along the deck that game. We just fired it in the air, and I think if we were to play Ba he’ll link up with the midfield and stretch the opposition defence more. Also something to note is that Ba has had a poor pre-season due to Ramadan, and he’ll be fully fit now.
It just really frustrates me. I know some people like Shola Ameobi but when I saw he was starting against QPR in front of Demba I wasn’t inspired at all. Yes, Shola can do a job, but not away from home in my opinion. He has very little movement and rarely wins a header, he puts the effort in, but he constantly leans on the defender and gives away a free kick.
Shola did very little against QPR without much service I may add, but he never looked like he would score. At least Best had a bit of something about of him and nearly created something for himself. I know Demba did little when he came on, but he did link up the play better when we had the ball and won some free kicks.
I think that and Demba’s superior Premier League goal ratio and his better link up play mean he should get a chance at Villa. He’s not had a full game to showcase his talent yet at Newcastle and I think after his first goal we will really see the best of Demba Ba. It just makes me wonder, why isn’t he getting a chance?
Is it because he’s doing something wrong in training? Who knows. But when Ba signed for Newcastle he said he’d do everything he could to score goals for the club and to make the fans like him. Hopefully he’s given the chance to make himself a hero in the next few weeks.
Come on Pardew, give him a chance!