There's little doubt that Papiss Cisse has this season failed to find the goalscoring touch that he so readily showed last campaign. Although he's scored 10 goals this season (which is perfectly reasonable), his performances have been less than impressive and perhaps don't fully match up with the number of goals he's scored.
Not only did he scored at an incredible rate season, but the quality of the finishing was exquisite. Though many fans passed off a number of his goals as ‘fluke’, namely the physics-defying volley at Chelsea, I think it is unfair to label him as ‘lucky’ considering the consistency at which he performed throughout last season; he certainly has the quality.
While many fans had passed off his bad performances as a temporary loss of form, something he’d soon overcome, he has yet to rediscover it and we’re 31 games into the season.
Therefore, there must be something different from last season which has effected the lad. And today Pardew has sounded out the poor quality of service as a determining factor.
“We know that if we can get the delivery right, he’ll score.” “Sometimes we’ve had to give credit to the opposition because they won’t let us get the quality service in there.”
“I heard Rob Lee say recently on the telly we aren’t getting quality in the box – but some teams won’t let us get quality in.”
Though Pardew has throughout the season been making numerous excuses for failings or shortcomings, I do think that he may be right on this one. I don’t believe that Gutierrez, Obertan or Gouffran have a good enough cross on them, and without precision in that key final ball, it’s going to be difficult for any striker to score on a regular basis.
Looking ahead towards the Transfer Market, we’re supposedly going to have a ‘war chest’ of funds intended to bring in new quality to reinforce the size and quality of the squad. There has been a lot of talk about a new striker, and a new central defender. While I am certainly in agreement with both of those demands, I also think that a new winger is an absolute necessity.
The level of commitment from Gutierrez, when he does play, is second to none. But, I think that if we want to rediscover the form that we played at last season, it’s going to take more than just hard work to win those tight matches.
Natural quality is, in my opinion, the overriding necessity and I don’t believe Gutierrez matches that standard we need to play at week in week out. I think it was more a case of Gutierrez playing beyond his capabilities last season, as opposed to Cisse.
Whether Pardew will recognise that is unfortunately beyond our control, but it’s certainly something which I feel strongly about.
What do you reckon? Is Cisse out of his depth or do you believe the fault lies with the wingers?