Two years on from his storming Premier League debut, Papiss Cisse is once again proving indispensable to Alan Pardew’s Newcastle side. John Howell takes a look at the Number 9’s Toon career so far.
He’s the Senegalese striker that came onto the Premier League scene in January 2012 with such an impact it caused some to proclaim that he could become the most feared striker in Europe – Papiss Cisse was set to become something special.
Within six months he’d hit thirteen goals in his first 14 – after joining Newcastle from Germany’s SC Freiburg – and had most pundits predicting that Cisse may even be snapped up by a top European side during that summer’s transfer window.
It was the high point that could not be matched again for the African striker however, who fell out of goals and luck in the two years following. Many likened him to former Newcastle striker & cult hero Faustino Asprilla – a shooting star that shone brightly but faded all too fast.
He looked lost in that two-year stint. His touch and movement was poor, his morale was low, and his finishing was dreadful. The lad couldn’t buy a goal.
That famous purple patch had been forgotten by January this year, and an offer from Turkish side Trabzonspor was accepted by Toon boss Alan Pardew. Cisse however, turned down the move – a fortunate decision for the Magpies, in hindsight.
With ten goals in 60 Premier League games, nobody held hope for Papiss to rediscover that once sparkling form coming into this season, except for maybe the man himself.
A dreadful run of form throughout 2014 and a severe lack of goals led to Pardew gambling on Cisse becoming the hero once again. The gamble paid off as Cisse rescued a home draw against Hull with two late goals from the substitutes’ bench.
Since that moment, Newcastle’s season seemed to change. They were sitting in 18th place with three points after the draw with Hull – now they’re three points behind a European spot.
There are several factors that have lent themselves to this upturn in fortune, and Cisse is one of them – with seven goals in nine Premier League games this season. The Senegalese hit man scored twice to salvage a point away at Swansea, scored from the bench to earn his team a draw at Burnley, and twice scored in a home win against an unbeaten Chelsea. His goals aren’t just important, they’re vital.
Cisse has rediscovered that knack of being in the right place at the right time. Sometimes you won’t see him for 60 minutes, only to find the ball in the back of the net and his name on the scoreboard moments later. Call it luck or whatever you want but the hard work, patience, and persistence to earn his stripes (pardon the pun) means he has earned this writer’s respect.
It’s a lesson that many players can learn from. Cisse bided his time and took his chance just when things looked darkest; not only for him, but the club as a whole.
Whether this will last is yet to be seen, but for now it’s good to see a smile on his face. His prolific record from his time in France and Germany shows the man knows how to score. Perhaps now life is settled in England, this can be the start of a whole new era for Cisse, and Newcastle United’s beloved number 9 shirt.
Will Papiss Cisse’s incredible run of form continue?
Where do you think Newcastle United will finish in the league this season?
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