Time for Cisse to step up

Is the pressure to score getting to Papiss Cisse? - Mark Runnacles

"I haven't forgotten how to score", says the Senegalese striker, but it's been a long time in league play.

About three weeks ago, I posed the question: When would Papiss Cisse score? The article, I will admit, was partly me trying to find reasons to be optimistic about Newcastle's 9. So, I sifted through some data and found some reasons to be optimistic. He was shooting more, offsides more, and he'd scored for Senegal. I thought he'd turn it around soon.

So did a lot of people. 75% said he'd score against Hull. All told, 88% of the respondents thought he would bag a goal by now (to be fair, he was subbed on with 20 minutes to go against Everton). And still, Cisse's lone goal came against Leeds in the CapitalOne Cup. That goal was a thunderous header, and while credit goes to Cisse for being in a good position, the goal will be mostly remembered for Sammy Ameobi's outstanding service into the box.

Cisse isn't creating. He's disappearing in matches. He's putting pressure on himself and taking bad shots or not finding his teammates. He did take five shots against Cardiff CIty, two of them on net (one was saved back to Loic Remy, who put in his second goal), but he isn't striking fear into opposing defenses.

Cisse insists he can still score. He says he feels a goal is coming. Senegal is hoping he can find his scoring touch during the International Break. Senegal visits the Ivory Coast, with the winner of the two legs advancing to the World Cup. The Ivory Coast have shown some goal scoring abilities in qualifying and if Senegal is to get a result on the road, they'll have to answer in kind. Senegal coach Alain Giresse says that Cisse "will play a big role" in the tie. His country needs him to step up.

And next week, his club will be asking the same of him. Newcastle has already left points on the table, and additional scoring would have helped. Whether it was putting the game out of Hull's reach, nabbing a late winner against West Ham, or finding an equalizer at Everton, Newcastle have lacked the finish in the final third. We know Cisse is capable of producing that final touch, we've seen him rise to the occasion before.

Now, for club and country, he must do so again.

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