Supporters of Newcastle United worry about their Senegalese striker. The media does not help the situation, either. Story after story after story hits the press or the website and we worry more and more: is the situation really as bad as they say it is? Of course these stories and this worry pertain mostly to Demba Ba and his future (or lack thereof) on Tyneside. I, however, am slightly worried about our OTHER Senegalese striker.
I am not at all worried that Papiss Cisse has yet to find the back of the net this season. It would be great if he were banging in the goals like he did all of the first part of this calendar year. It's not a worry to me yet, though. Strikers sometimes don't score. For even the most prolific strikers at the top levels of European football, 1 goal every 2 games is massive, and Papiss is still well ahead of that clip. I read a quote from Alan Pardew today that just rubbed me the wrong way when considered in combination with other factors that were in play when the action that this quote is about occurred.
I feel like we should take a moment to reset the table for this story: You may remember that the Olympics were held in London this past summer. You may further recall that Senegal earned a place in the Olympic tournament. Senegal were quite interested in having Papiss Cisse on their roster as one of their over-23 players for this tournament. Newcastle United said "nay nay!" and that was kind of that. There were any number of stories about Papiss' Olympic disappointment.
We have heard both Papiss and Demba Ba speak before about the importance they place on representing Senegal at the international level. Doubtlessly, the disappointment was great for Papiss in being excluded by a club which had owned his rights for barely half a year. I did not, however, feel that this disappointment would affect Papiss on the pitch for Newcastle United. July 27th gave me pause to wonder when this happened. It struck me as kind of odd at the time, and I wondered if maybe it was a bit of preseason petulance at the time. It seems I'm not alone in considering this possibility.
"Papiss missed one in pre-season (against Olympiakos). It wasn’t the professional thing to do, but I understand it.
from the Hartlepool Mail
This is the funny thing about petulance, though... oftentimes it gets you stuck in a rut - either of behavior or expectation (trust me... I was quite petulant during my middle school days... and I got caught in both ends of the rut). Nobody expects Papiss to continue not scoring. Alan Pardew says "it wasn't the professional thing to do..." I know that things oftentimes can be misleading or be edited in a strange way that implies something that is nowhere close to reality. If you watch that penalty v. Olympiakos, however, it's hard to believe that Alan Pardew meant anything else. It doesn't look like he even tried to put it on net... and he didn't exactly look busted up that he missed. Perhaps this scoring drought that Papiss finds himself in is just a tad self-inflicted?