On the back of one of our most impressive attacking performances this season, much praise has been handed out to our three attackers of last weekend; Hatem Ben Arfa, Papiss Cissé and Demba Ba, and rightly so!
Surely everybody connected with the club would be happy to see repeat performances. Or would they? What about Demba Ba?
Papiss Cissé’s arrival at the club has coincided with a loss of form for Demba Ba as has been widely reported. This could be down to any number of things: loss of confidence at the ACoN, not having as much pressure on his shoulders, a loss of motivation, distraction due to constant rumours about his future, or maybe he’s just tired from having to bear the load alone for so long, and it’s a temporary blip.
Regardless he is invaluable to this team, and Newcastle management have work to do to keep him at the club beyond this summer. Coming in from a wide left role against West Brom, Ba’s chances on goal were understandably more limited that those of his compatriot Papiss Cissé. While it’s undoubtedly good news to make sure our new striker is confident and scoring, how will Demba feel about being moved out of his favoured central position after all he has done this season?
He will still pick up goals and for now, of course, he will be happy to help his club and compatriot find success, but if played there until the end of the season, doubt could creep into his mind about his future role. The success of that system against West Brom will ensure that it is tried again, but with Cissé showing an ability to cross when he drops wide Pardew could possibly run with Papiss in the wide role.
Both thrive on loose balls around the box and both want to be in and around those areas. They could yet form a formidable partnership as a front two, and perhaps the fact that this performance came when playing 4-3-3 was a coincidence, but maybe we can only accommodate one player in that role. If that’s the case, Pardew will need to decide whether to give the role to our more proven performer or our promising new no. 9 finding his feet in the Premier League.
Demba seems like a great character and willing to do what is necessary for the sake of the team, but he will inevitably see himself as a striker. So, although playing out wide may help Newcaslte’s results now, with the expected offers to come in this summer, could playing Ba out wide be to Newcastle’s detriment long term? With question marks already hanging over his head, the option to play in his favoured role elsewhere would be further incentive for clubs looking to entice him away.
Is he willing to sacrifice personal glory for the good of the club?
Thanks to Dubtoon for sending this in!