The relief of a striker breaking a drought is one of the great sights of football. The instant transformation of an edgy, nervous player into a preening alpha male shows just how intrinsic finding the net is to them.
This belies the constant half-hearted claims that come out during a barren run; that they are just hoping they can contribute to the team in any way they can, running channels and maybe picking up an assist here and there.
Make no mistake, there are plenty of number nines out there who only care about their own scoring records, and that’s the way it should be. When Papiss Cisse nodded in Shane Ferguson’s cross within minutes of coming on against Manchester United in the League Cup, the man appeared who had scorched through the second half of the Premier League last year.
There was no clearer way to demonstrate his return of confidence than attempting the audacious, as Cisse did when he rattled the crossbar with an overhead kick. Gone was the player who had failed to score in his first six appearances this club season, back was the man who scored the goal of the season last year, bending an absurd half volley over Cech in Newcastle’s 2-0 win over Chelsea.
More importantly, back was the man who netted 13 goals in 14 appearances in the league, scoring at rate of a goal per 88.2 minutes played. He was undoubtably the catalyst that fired Newcastle up to fifth place in the league, and his poor form at the start of the season has contributed to their unconvincing start.
Demba Ba has looked back on form recently for Pardew’s side, with four league goals from five appearances. if Cisse can get going they may have the pair of them firing simultaneously for the first time at Newcastle.
Fan’s expectations were raised by Newcastle’s excellent performances last year, for these expectations to be fulfilled both strikers will need to be on form. The Cisse who scores and hits the cross bar with an overhead kick at Old Trafford is the Cisse people expected to see at the start of the season, it’s good to have him back.
image: © machernucha