The last couple of games that Newcastle United have played have seen both Papiss Cisse and Demba Ba play together in a 4-4-2 formation.
Now this was tried during the last half of last season, when Cisse arrived in the January transfer window. The formation was quickly changed to 4-2-3-1 with Demba Ba having to operate on the left-hand side rather than playing through the middle as he prefers.
Cisse played rather well when being the sole striker up front and scored many goals to help Newcastle consolidate a fifth place finish in the Premier League, but with the attempts to keep both of these strikers happy, the traditional 4-4-2 formation has once again been employed by Alan Pardew. However it does not seem to be reaping benefits for the Magpies.
Cisse and Ba are of course Senegal teammates, but that doesn’t mean that they’ll be able to form a partnership together. Their styles of play are different and don’t necessarily complement each other which affects how the team shapes up in attack.
Along with this, the employment of the 4-2-3-1 allows Yohan Cabaye to play further up the field to be more effective in the game. Hatem Ben Arfa and Jonas Gutierrez can drift inside with their favoured foots with this formation as well.
Or is it a case that Ba and Cisse aren’t strong enough after Ramadan? That could explain why they haven’t been at their best but it remains to be seen if once they have their strength back would they be able to form a partnership once again.
Pardew clearly wants to keep Ba happy after he had to play on the left-hand side for much of the end of last year’s campaign. But how long do you try to keep him happy if a partnership is not able to be formed?
From my point of view we should be looking to revert to the system that served us so well last season. Personally I wouldn’t include Ba in the team but he could easily slot into the position that Jonas Gutierrez or Sylvain Marveaux would occupy on the left. If he doesn’t like playing on the left then fair enough, but he’ll have to wait for games.
From what I have seen so far, two up top does not seem to be working. It has been tried before and if there is no solution found for playing the two of them, then ultimately one of our strikers may find themselves on the bench.
What do you think?