Having warmed the bench for the best part of the last two games, it is safe to say that Papiss Cisse must be chomping at the bit to get back onto the park as a part of our starting line up.
While resting Cisse for the games against Sunderland and West Brom, Alan Pardew has put his faith in Shola Ameobi to fill the breach on the back of some solid Euro performances. Shola was unlucky to get substituted against Sunderland due to an early red card to Cheik Tiote but had a solid 60 minute hit out against the Baggies.
No goals were to come from Shola’s inclusion but he did help set up the first goal against West Brom with a nice headed flick into the path of Demba Ba, which the big Senegalese forward duly put away. In fairness to Shola, he was playing out wide on the right side of the park for much of the Baggies clash and really struggled to get into too many scoring positions. However, there was a scuffed shot from a tidy Ben Arfa cross which I think has yet to fall back to earth.
Given 30 minutes to make an impact by Alan Pardew, Cisse came on in place of Shola and began to put himself about. To me he had a bit more energy about his play compared to what I had seen in previous games and to his credit, managed to get into some good positions. As it turned out, the best position of all was to get in the way of young Sammy Ameobi’s last minute shot. In the midst of trying to get out of the line of fire, the ball deflected of his back and ultimately into the back of the net.
Goal to Cisse!
Now I don’t believe for second that Cisse would claim that it was a goal that he had any willing part in but it has been credited to him and we picked up the win as a result.
So where does Pardew go from here?
Does he start Shola against Liverpool or does he give Cisse another chance at rediscovering his goal scoring form?
Or has Shola shown enough in the past two games to warrant another start?
For me Cisse has to start alongside Ba, providing our top scorer can prove his fitness ahead of the trip to Anfield. It will give us much more mobility and hopefully it will force us to keep the ball on the floor and play to feet. Being an away game I can see Pardew setting up with a 4-4-2 formation so we will be requiring two strikers.
What combination that will be is anyone’s guess, what are your thoughts?
By Aussie Magpie Fan