I’ve been wondering in the build up to the match this evening whether we’d be seeing Demba Ba’s name on the teamsheet, although Alan Pardew seems to have removed any lingering doubts.
Our top scorer will, apparently anyway, be playing tonight despite strong rumours linking him with a move to Chelsea in the near future.
Of course that potential move may just be a rumour at the end of the day,but it wouldn’t surprise me if those rumours are true. It’s pretty clear that Demba Ba’s representatives are pretty “aggressive” and I don’t doubt there have been meetings, but forgetting Chelsea and forgetting any moves by other clubs, the real question for us to consider should be trying to find the best course of action as far as NUFC is concerned.
Should we play Demba Ba or should we leave him out until his future is resolved one way or the other? There is an argument for both scenarios of course so let’s take a look at them, starting with the rather short argument supporting why he SHOULD be playing.
The argument for playing Ba is obvious really. Simply put he is our top goalscorer and we need goals so on that basis he must play. There really isn’t much else to it and it would appear that this is the option that will be used by Pardew. One thing I will say is that through all of this Ba has always still produced the goods so why should the latest round of rumours make any difference?
However the argument for NOT playing Demba Ba is a little bit deeper as many other factors come into play. For once, as mentioned above, I don’t think motivation of the player is going to be an issue. Ba seems to be a pretty driven and focussed individual and he’ll do what he can, but what about the effect on the rest of the team?
First off we have to look at what, or who, will be left behind should Ba actually depart for pastures new. The main man will be Papiss Cisse who is being used out of position which is doing no good for the lad. He is a striker and nothing else, he is doing his best in a position unfamiliar to him but he needs to be up front to cause the damage we’ve seen he can cause.
Is it worth perhaps looking at putting Cisse back through the middle in an attempt to play him into form? I mean we’re going to need him to bang in the goals should Ba leave and I’m thinking of our fortunes beyond January.
Then there is the team. Will they be as willing to back a man who they know might be away in a few days or weeks? Would there be a second though if that killer pass to Ba was on? Would it cause annoyance if Ba continued being the focal point when it looks likely he will leave?
How about the fans? What will their reaction be to a guy who has always remained tight-lipped and non-committal over his future? Granted he’s never said he wants away, but he’s never said he wants to stay either. It does work two ways…
Ultimately it’s Pardew’s call. He’ll see what is going on and I dare say he is aware of what is going on. He’ll also know if Ba is ready to play and if the team are ready for him to play and it seems that, after all that, Ba will play anyway.
Is that the right decision though?