Has Shola found his role?

Shola the impact sub?
Shola Ameobi. I’ve never know of a player who polarises opinion as much as he does.

For the last decade the same argument has surfaced and time and time again opinion is split on the lad. Is he good enough or not?

We know what Shola can do. Just ask the Mackems and they will tell you, if you can coax them from behind their sofa as they tremor with fear at the sheer anticipation of his name. He’s scored at all levels in Europe and has the ability to turn a game on its head with his mixture of strength and skill. The main problem though has been consistency. There is no “he’s done alright” with Shola – he’s either very bad or very good with very little inbetween.

However, whether by design or by accident, Shola appears to have found himself a niche in Alan Pardew’s team. The role being impact sub.

We’ve seen Shola coming on for the last half hour or less, and each time he come on he does something that impresses. Like against Bolton where he came on and set up Papiss Cisse which sealed the three points for us on the day.



Thing is, it’s not the first time it’s happened either and I’m just wondering if now he has found a role that he can fulfil. He turned the game against Tottenham earlier on in the season, and he did it again against the Mackems. All of these appearances have come from the bench.

It’s been my belief that injuries have taken their toll on Wor Shola for quite some time now, and this shows when he has to play 90 minutes in event of injury, suspension or, as was the case recently, players missing through participation in the ACoN. The amount of hip injuries he’s had over the years is going to take it’s toll.

However, if you restrict his playing time down to 30 minutes or less you see a different Shola, a Shola who can give it everything the whole time he is on the pitch, which has given us another dimension in certain games.

Now I know he isn’t to the taste of everyone and I think we’ve all had one of those “Oh FFS!” moments with regards to the Fenham Eusebio. I also know that some people won’t change their opinions on him regardless, but I just happen to think that we’ve stumbled across an effective way to utilise him at long last, which is obviously helped by the fact that we are no longer relying on him.

Has Shola found his role?

About toonsy

A lifelong Newcastle fan and current webmaster of this very 'blog who has the sole aim of creating a place by Newcastle United fans, for Newcastle United fans.

70 thoughts on “Has Shola found his role?

  1. i think so… but the most important aspect of NUFC now is not scoring goals
    but conceeding goals….
    we have a leaky bucket….
    hope we bring some needed cover this summer

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  2. Bit off topic but…

    Think Guti needs to be dropped for Guthrie. Guthrie just spreads the field so much better than Jonas does. Jonas in possession plays like a winger in the middle of the field… that is to say he holds possession too long and doesn’t have the ability to move the ball laterally with one or two touches.

    The team would flow so much better with Guthrie’s additional ability to pick a pass from in that holding role with Tiote and both of them can strike from distance. Love Jonas’s work rate, but he is an inferior central mid to Guthrie.

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  3. On Shola… I absolutely agree that he’s an excellent impact sub. He has no need to conserve his energy (i.e. stroll around for 90 minutes) and can go hard for 20 or 30. His hold up play is superb and he can help the side see out a close game.

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  4. @ 2

    not gonna happen Boston Toon. Pardew doesn’t countenance subbing Jonas, never mind not starting him. I’m assuming his internally-monitored workrate and physical performance stats are off the charts

    I do think u have a point tho

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  5. Toonsy, he’s a great impact sub,holds the ball up well and shows some intelligent passing and helps out well in defence. But as you point out he ‘s just not able to do it for 90 mins and hasn’t got the killer instinct of Cisse or Ba unless it’s the Mackems wer’e playing. 😆

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  6. Shola’s class, how can’t you love him? I agree the role of impact sub suits him perfectly. Coming on when everyone ele is tired making his lacizacal style not seem as frustrating is good. Ameobi is quick and skillful(though as said he doesn’t always show it) meaning he can turn a defender quite easily when theyre knackered, and his hold up play is great, too a point where I start laughing cus the other team can’t touch him.

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  7. Watching Chelsea and Spurs today, we don’t deserve Champions League football yet. They are far better than us. I think 6th will be representative of where we are as a club.

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  8. In the summer, Tiote will no doubt be off to Chelsea for £20million.

    When he goes I would get Diame in for free and use the money to bolster our defence and sign a midfielder that is worthy of partnering Cabaye. Jonas works hard, but he doesn’t have the class we need to be first team. Misplaces too many passes and technically just isn’t good enough.

    If we can keep hold of Ba that would be great as it ensures continuity, but I wouldn’t be distraught if he left. If he is set for a LW role then I am certain we can do better.

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  9. Said it before and I’ll say it again, Shola is class 😉

    He’s had some great sub appearances this year and they’re a great opportunity for him-if we can get 30minutes of quality (or sometimes shite) from him then he’s a striker that can change a match, not like Bestie who I also like but just doesn’t have the *impact* attribute to really change up a match.

    Shola’s also had some other good starting performances for me….Manure and Norwich away, playing in a 4-4-2 with a finishing partner, Shola is one of the best strikers for holding a ball and finding the pass imo….

    Plus, he’s worth it just for the Mackems. He could have won us that game if Ba let him take the pen! :mrgreen:

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  10. Oh, and he’s not a c*nt and I think he’s quite a good character for the team, plus he yells at people on the pitch..

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  11. Very good article. I agree, Pardew has also found out a way to include Shola in a productive way. For years I have hated seeing him play but somehow Pardew has made him like you say into a good impact sub. Hopefully we should never have to rely on him as a starter and in the summer this will be made certain hopefully.

    He is the true Mackem Slayer I must say.

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  12. THE KID i agree about Ba he is a striker and is very good at being one , the lad trys his socks off out wide but is imo only half the player he is through the middle .How about bringing NZogbia back for the LW position if Ba goes, or even better keep Ba and let him fight it out with Cisse for the striker position and bring NZogbia back . We would then in a 433 have Santoon , Jonas and Nzogbia down the left . That would scare the shit out of any team in the premiership .

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  13. I love Shola and I hope he gets a great testimonial when he finally hangs up his boots. He, like Harper, has been a great servant to our club.

    I would love to see a compilation of his career highlights

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  14. Well we never got no favours of Spuds or Chelski today.
    As for Shola I guess we have found that he isn’t bad coming on to hold the ball for the last 20 mins but maybe im greedy because I expect more from a prem striker 🙄

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  15. @11
    as much as it pains me to say I agree with that, though am still hoping we make 4th as we’re still in with a chance, chelsea and spurs today played two teams that had no fight in them whatsoever, I’m sure the rest of the teams they face will be a bit more challenging and we can take advantage of any slip-up 😀

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  16. In terms of commitment and effort on Saturday it looked like there were a few Shola’s out on the pitch. A typical Shola type performance from many, lazy, uncommitted and a couldn’t care less attitude.

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  17. Shola is a master at coming on and swinging the game in our favour.

    Axel

    I wouldn’t go near N’Zogbia. He plays for himself and doesn’t fit our ethos imo. I also think there are better players available.

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  18. The Kid>

    We deserve it if we get enough points to get in to Champions League.

    I agree Chelsea and Spurs have more quality than us right now and we are as plucky as we are skillful at times this season but I don’t give a toss to be honest.

    I’d love us to get there and if we do its because, over the season, we’ve gained more points and therefore utilized our resources better than them.

    Resources that are incredibly less expensive than theirs as well. Its an incredible achievement.

    All the same I’m just ecstatic we’re back in Europe again! 🙂

    Its been WAY too long.

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  19. Shola is my hero.

    He has always been in this sort of sub/back up role though really, nowt has changed. He’s only really started when first choice have been out injured or just truly awful

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  20. Trouble is both Shola & Heskey have the physical attributes and the game to be on a par with the great Ronaldo, but neither had the belief or the support to achieve it. That’s the real ronaldo, not the portugese namesake.

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  21. I would much rather have a striker that could hold up the ball but score regularly aswell oh and it would be handy if he could play the whole 90 mins and not always get caught offside 😆

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  22. I still think Shola would be a decent player for any prem team.

    Look at Everton, this season with Jelavic is the first time they’ve had a high scoring forward in how many years? Yet they’ve been consistently around Europe…..And Villa a few years ago?

    We expect too much from strikers at Newcastle due to our history of great strikers…….I mean we have one of the best finishers in the league if not the best instinct finisher in Papiss, and Ba was the talk of the league only a few months ago yet they can still generate critics…..Some have suggested selling Ba already….Madness 😯

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  23. Yeah, I think Shola is good for 30mins or less and that’s all good but there is a problem.
    Cisse and Ba will go off to the ACoNs again next season and that leaves us with Best and Shola.
    We may well buy another striker in Jan but for me, we need a squad of players who we can call upon to play in any of the competitions we are in next season. Not bit part players earning a bloody good wage. If his contract expired at the end of this season or even next fair enough but I just feel with our tight finances, we cant afford to have players who aren’t effective for 90mins plus.
    Tin hat time?!

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  24. Newkie he has only ever reached double figures once in his 12 yrs and that was 10 in the CCC, or an average of 4.5 goals for every season he has been here. Maybe to you that is ok but I would expect more, and if your relying on him to score you the goals to keep you up I wouldn’t fancy the chances. yeah some people expect too much from strikers but is that really good enough.
    I think some people think his loyalty is more important than scoring goals but loyalty doesn’t get you points in the prem.
    So do you think Shola is an able cover to get us the goals when Ba and Cisse are away to the Acon ❓ .
    As for people saying we should sell Ba ? I haven’t heard anyone say that

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  25. I’ve said this before that with Lovenkrands out of contract, Ba and Cisse going to ACoN (how unlucky to have it two seasons in a row) we will be left with Leon Best (if he’s still there) and Shola who can’t play a run of games anymore. We definately need another striker and a CB in the summer. I like the comparison between Shola, Heskey and Ronaldo. They could be as good as him accept he was a superstar and they are donkey’s. 😆

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  26. I do agree that Ba is becoming alienated and wasted out wide, he is not a winger and it’s like we are trying to fit him into the team. Maybe we should go 4-4-2 again with Ba and Cisse upfront.

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  27. We definitely need a new striker in for the start of next season.

    It has to be someone who will compete with Ba and Cisse for a starting place and who will also accept that he will at times be substituted and be used as a substitute.

    Of course , this will limit the playing time of Shola and Best who would really only come into consideration through the three main strikers being unavailable due to ACON or injury. Best may well be sold , leaving Ranger as the fifth striker.

    If we do not buy a new striker we will need to start some games with 2 of
    Shola , Best and Ranger.

    If that was the case I’d rather see Benny and Obertan starting up front.

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  28. Big Dave-Not that I really want to go into the Shola debate yet again but….

    How often has he played deeper-as he did with Carroll-to supply passes? How often has he played target man-as he has for years and years for other members of our team, Owen, Martins, Duff, Milner, Ba, to score? How many seasons has he been the main choice starter? And when he has, how good has our actual supply been?Midfields with the likes of Nolan, Smith, Geremi, Butt? We have lacked creativity for years and years…even Jonas etc….. Lets face it, we now have two strikers who’ve done brilliantly off relative scraps (well at least until benny/cabaye have put them on a plate)

    Also how many of Shola’s appearances have been subs…how many “appearances” are really appearances rather than 10minutes at the end?

    The list goes on and on really, fact is many premiership teams actually struggle to find strikers who get into double figures regularly, many rely on a productive midfield ala Fulham with Dempsey, VDV at Spurs, Baines (lol?) and Cahill at Everton?

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  29. DJG- I know what you mean, but for me Benny is kind of wasted when he’s not allowed so much freedom…as is Cabaye who sits back too much…Guess we could try more of a diamond 4-4-2……

    Premandup’s 3-2-3-2 would probably get the best out of our players…but we don’t have enough quality in defence for me. Maybe we could manage next year with Colo, Taylor and Mbiwa or Pieters or Vertonghan at the back? But if we only have 3 decent lads at the back we’re fooked in case of injury…..and I don’t fancy us with 3 at the back currently..

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  30. ideally Marv, Cabaye & HBA
    agree defence not ready for 3
    Glad to see my suggestion of Jonas as a CDM has been taken up and is working well. 😀

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  31. Shola may be my favourite player.

    His odd mix of strength, skill and savvy make him a totally unique player at the club, his technique is also top stuff. Impact sub makes him priceless.

    Leon Best is kind of similar, in that he pulls out Messi-esque moments of skill and get important goals, if not lots of them. Both very important to our squad as Demba Ba has gone off the boil since we lost Leon Best.

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  32. Jonas has been brilliant in defensive mid role……Although I can see us reverting to 4-4-2 if we don’t buy another left back or Santon doesn’t start adjusting. He’s too walkabout for me…and Jonas can’t do everything for him. Blimey, even in all the matches we’ve won I’ve been astounded at having to watch CISSE make tackles at left back, with the support of Colo and Jonas with Santon not even in the picture 😯

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  33. Newkie 956 mins he’s played this season with 2 goals that includes a few game where him and Best were playing as the main strikers, yeah we can make excuses for him but I wont because IMO he is taken a squad place and while he is in the squad we should expect to be able to rely on him and he should be able to play a full game and we should be able to count on him stepping up when we lose Ba and Cisse to the acon.
    Sholas goals to mins ratio this season is 1 goal every 478mins, Benny who is a mainly a provider is 1 goal every 261 mins

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  34. Funky-You do sum it up pretty well.
    Both of them are capable of world class moves, even if its only once or twice a season :mrgreen:

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  35. Dave-Yes, but he’s been putting them on a plate for Ba, or recently Cisse who are obviously the far better finishers. I’m not really sure what else you could ask from him? He has displayed great passing via through balls and knock downs in Manure and Norwich games for a start.

    When it comes to out and out scoring, no he didn’t fill the boots of Ba who was at that time widely regarded as the best striker since shearer…or even better than shearer. Who would honestly expect him to? Especially after losing Tiote as well and having to re juggle players/formation etc etc. Even in those Best was taking the more advanced positions as Ba was looking to supply best who’s generally better at finding space and knocking them in..

    This “strikers score all the goals, midfielders provide all the assists” is really part of the problem for me. Its kind of an old fashioned way of things. Why can’t a striker create space with his awareness, or indeed create opportunities for a midfielder to come in and finish? In effect, why does Shola have to score more than Benny, when we all know Benny could well have a better shot but obviously lacks the physical presence of Shola to break up play/create space etc?

    We do need another striker or attacking option for the Acon though….But I still think Ameobi or Best could lead the line for us, if we have an effective 4-3-3 with Benny/Marveux/some other incisive winger. They may not score the goals of Cisse, but they can allow our other players the space and opportunity to score.

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  36. Funky – off topic , but am I right that the SPL gets 1 champions league place and 3 europa league places next season.

    Will Rangers ( if they are still in existence ) be allowed to compete after going into administration ?

    Just thinking it would be nice to beat them in a Euro semi final like we did in 1969 😀

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  37. I’m with BigDave on this one, he takes a squad place and just doesn’t provide enough to the team or squad.
    We can’t afford to carry players. Yes it’s worth while having such a player who can have an impact in the final 20-30mins, but you also need that player to be a goal threat, to possibly nick that goal which will kill the opponents chances of getting anything out of the game – and Shola doesn’t carry that threat.
    It’s not about liking or disliking a cult hero. It’s about having a squad of players who can do the job they are paid to do.

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  38. Sidekick,

    As far as I am aware, as it changes literally from hour to hour, Rangers are banned from Europe and may not even exist in 48 hours. As I said, it’s totally all over the place.

    It may end up being Celtic, Dundee Utd, Motherwell and someone else in Europe. What hope I have for our co-efficient ratings with that…..

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  39. Funky – thanks for that info.

    If we are in the Europa we’ll just have to beat St.Johnstone in the semi final 😀

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  40. Newcastle would lose to St Johnstone, but they’d beat Athletic Bilbao.

    That’s the way this team works I believe, lol

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  41. I was thinking back to our run of 11 games unbeaten at the start of the season, and we was all well chuffed with how we had started.
    We said then that realistically we should aim to be ‘Best of the Rest’ behind the top 4-6 clubs.
    This would be seen as making good progress from finishing 12th the previous season.
    I cant remember one person even thinking about a euro spot at that time, we were more bothered about getting to 40 points and prem survival as our first priority.
    Well I think we have achieved more than any of us ever dreamed about at that time, and it has made me so proud of NUFC once again.
    I enjoyed our little dalliance with CL dreams etc but deep down never really thought we were quite ready to make that final push. The results of the next 3 matches dont really matter. But what I do want to see is the players giving their all right to the bitter end.
    If we end up 6th I’m still over the moon, Anything else is a bonus.
    MAshley has had a taste of what is possible, and I reckon he liked it, ALOT. But even he can see we need more quality to get us over the last hurdle. Fingers crossed he invests some more over the summer, and next season could be even better.
    Howay the Lads,
    ps Shola does me nappa in. But ya gotta love him. 😆

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  42. What the hell has happened to the Arry for England vibe ,FA talking to Hodgson ! .Well that’s just great that is cause it means he’ll be spouting off about our players come the summer 👿 Wonder what Spuds fans are thinking now after turning on him 😆

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  43. Woy would be a great appointment for the England job.
    Cheaper too, as ‘arry would need a couple stuffed brown envelopes left in a foreign bank account to seal the deal wink wink 😆

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  44. Shola is definitely thriving in his new role. Would be crazy to see him win the game for us at Stamford bridge! Haha!

    Is Guthrie even available? He hasn’t been on the bench for the last couple of games. Maybe he has told Pards that he’s gonna be moving on and Pardew just wants players who are 100% committed to NUFC doing well?

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  45. I think that as well as your starting11 we have to consider the bench as specialist positions. Shola is great for coming off the bench as a game changer. As such he justifies his place in the game day 18? He is not merely a squad player being carried.

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  46. Newcastle United have now conceded 31 goals away from home in the PL this season, with three games still to play.
    That’s one more than the 30 that ended up in our net on the road in the whole of the 2008/09 relegation season. 😯
    Food for thought.

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  47. BB-58 😯 Crazy number of goals to go with out clean sheets…

    That is pretty shocking. Just shows what we’re like, no cojones amongst the lot of em. As long as we don’t get embarrassed in the last three games 😕

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  48. lets get back to what got us up the league,playing with width,ba through the middle and get jonas out wide,he cant play tucked inside.give cisse a free role behind ba,as for the defence,get back to basics,iv said for a long time now that not bringing in a centreback in jan could cost us dearly

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  49. That was a strange game. How can a team as low in the league as Wigan completely trounce us all game.

    Not one player came out with any credit. That has just knocked a massive dent in all our confidence so the players must have had a massive reality check.

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  50. Maybe Cabaye was playing too deep Troy 😀

    I think that a lot ot peoples expectations have become a little high. There are no easy games in the PL. I have stated this in the past, you only have to be off the boil by 10% and you will get beaten.. Saying that we were off the boil by around 25% on the weekend 😕 … Sometimes when you are on a good run of wins, you stop doing the little things that got you there and you expect to simply win a game without putting in the extra effort.
    Thats the only thing I can put it down to, I really think that the boys were expecting a win but forgot that a 90 minute game had to be played before that would happen.. A win against Chelsea will be a nice tonic…

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  51. Being as it’s quiet can we play guess the score, for tonights top of the table showdown.
    I’m going for a draw. 2-2.
    And while I’m on, 0-1 against chewsee on Wednesday. 😀

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