Newcastle United slumped to their fourth consecutive Premier League home defeat last night, with Tottenham putting the hosts to the sword 4-0 at St James’ Park.
Worryingly, Alan Pardew’s men have now conceded ten goals in their last three games, not scoring in the process, and are clearly missing Yohan Cabaye after his somewhat inevitable move to Paris Saint-Germain in January.
Although a lack of creativity is something that Newcastle will now need to overcome, the distinct absence of a clinical edge in the club’s attackers has also become painstakingly apparent.
With Loïc Rémy suspended for the last three games the side have not taken any chances, with the team’s striking options looking relatively toothless during the QPR loan star’s unavailability.
One man guilty of a dip in form of epic proportions is Papiss Cissé. The Senegal international was handed a rare start against Spurs and continued his recent malaise by spurning a number of chances that could have drastically impacted on the eventual result of the game.
The most telling of the chances was in the early exchanges with the score still 0-0. From a Newcastle free-kick Luuk de Jong managed to single out Kyle Walker at the back post, winning the flighted delivery in the air and heading it to an unmarked Cissé six yards from goal. A relatively tame effort was saved by Hugo Lloris, and a golden opportunity to take the lead and the ascendancy in the game was missed.
The most baffling thing about Cissé’s lack of goals of late (he only has one Premier League strike this term), is the fact that he has been ruthlessly clinical for prolonged periods in the past.
A solid goalscoring return in France was backed up over the space of three years at Freiburg. The 2010-11 campaign in particular was impressive, with Cissé hitting 22 goals in 32 Bundesliga games for the side.
Despite reported interest from a throng of European clubs, Newcastle won the race for the African attacker’s hand in the January 2012 transfer window, paying £10 million for Cissé’s services.
In his first six months in England, Cissé exploded onto the scene with some unplayable performances and spectacular goals. The new addition took the limelight away from freescoring compatriot Demba Ba for the second half of the 2011-12 campaign, netting 13 goals in 14 Premier League games.
The pick of Cissé’s performances came at Stamford Bridge in May 2012, when the Newcastle forward scored two long-range wondergoals to give his side a 2-0 win over Chelsea.
With the Newcastle faithful witness to a rich history of top-class number nines gracing the St James’ turf, Cissé was the latest in a long line of uncompromising strikers. His goals fired the club to fifth place in the top flight, with the Senegalese attacker expected to be the club’s talisman in a potential effort to push for Champions League qualification last season.
However, that’s where the story ends. Cissé struggled for form last term and was clearly negatively impacted by Ba’s departure to join Chelsea. A return of eight goals was modest given his exceptional start to his tenure with the club, with the cool finishing of his first six months becoming a distant memory.
With Cissé only starting seven games for the Magpies this season and his confidence as low now as it has been, Pardew has a decision to make
The only way that the potential match-winner is going to get back to his best form is to get a prolonged run of games; Cissé had not started any of Newcastle’s Premier League fixtures for four months before the drubbing by Tottenham.
This will test the patience of the St James’ faithful, as the forward will inevitably take time to get his match sharpness back and start to hit the back of the net.
The other option is for Newcastle to cut their losses in the summer and try to recoup as much of the £10 million they paid for him. This will be no easy task due to Cissé’s much-publicised demise in form, goals and confidence, with a return to Germany the most likely option.
Cissé’s case is a classic example of the importance of confidence and how it can impact on a striker. At the other end of the pitch last night, a rejuvenated Emmanuel Adebayor netted a brace, taking his toll to eight in 11 games since being brought back from the wilderness.
Cissé clearly has all the attributes to be a star, he has shown the Newcastle fans this in the past. However, the likelihood of him being remembered in the same breath as the Milburns or Shearers now looks decidedly slim.