Buried underneath the headlines of the 6-1 thrashing of Coventry City by Arsenal, Wayne Rooney's return to action, and Turkish superstar Nuri Sahin bagging his first goals for Liverpool, there will be two men who arguably went to bed happier than all of them combined—Papiss and Djibril Cisse.
Both men finally got off the mark in the Capital One Cup on Wednesday. As neither had scored in their first six games of the season, you can imagine the pressure that was riding on this.
Even though both Newcastle United and Queens Park Rangers ended up losing to Manchester United and Reading, both managers will be relieved that their top strikers from last season have picked their shooting boots up from off the floor, dusted them down, and tied their laces up tight.
Let's start with the Senegalese man who is currently residing in Tyneside. The Magpie man of the moment in 2012 scored 13 in 14 Premier League games, but has struggled this season.
Alan Pardew had kept faith with Papiss, starting him in every Premier League game so far, but has since begun substituting him midway through the second half in recent matches.
On Sunday afternoon, in what felt like a measly interlude between the box office showings of Liverpool vs. Manchester United, and Manchester City vs. Arsenal, a stuttering Norwich traveled to a less than phenomenal Newcastle.
With the score 0-0 and half time approaching, Mike Williamson was brought down in the box and Newcastle were awarded a penalty. Both regular spot kick takers Hatem Ben Arfa and Demba Ba stepped aside and handed the ball to Papiss Cisse in an attempt to let him get off the mark, and reclaim that sparkling form he showed in the latter half of last season. Unfortunately Cisse hit it over the bar.
To come back from that in just three days shows great strength of character. The Toon Army were rocking Old Trafford on Wednesday in the 62nd minute with "he scores when he wants"—something they haven't been able to sing for a few months.
Cisse back to his best? Both Papiss and Pardew will not be getting carried away, but it's a start. A long overdue start.
A "long overdue start" is how I would describe Frenchman Djibril Cisse.
His form last season, coupled with his preseason goal scoring prowess, honestly led me to believe that 30-1 were ridiculously long odds for him to be one of the top three goalscorers in 2012-13. As it turns out, they weren't long enough, if August and September are anything to go by.
Cisse was a forlorn figure against Swansea in what I like to call "The Opening Day Massacre." With no defense, no goalkeeper (okay, there was a goalkeeper, but there might as well not have been), no attacking play, and no service to Cisse—this ultimately led to no goals for Rangers, and lots of goals to Swansea.
A concise analysis, I think you will agree. This mauling will have done nothing for any of the QPR players' confidence, but it seemed to affect Cisse the most.
In the next game, away to Norwich, Mark Hughes attempted to remedy Cisse as the loan Ranger, and added in a strike partner Bobby Zamora. Much like in the story of Papiss Cisse, a penalty kick was handed to Djibril Cisse, and much like Papiss, he missed.
Since then, Djibril has only made sporadic Premier League appearances from the bench, and hasn't really looked himself—he couldn't even score against Walsall, no offense to any Walsall fans, obviously.
However cometh the Capital One Cup, cometh the man. Djibril Cisse fired home an absolute screamer against Reading on Wednesday night, opening his account for the season, and breathing a deep sigh of relief as he felt a huge weight fall from his shoulders as his goal scoring curse was broken.
People may say that "it was just the League Cup," and I would usually agree with them. However, both games were against Premier League opposition, and both teams fielded a strong side.
So I say, despite the losses, let them have their night. Let them finally be able to sleep without that elephant in the corner of the room, as they drift off, dreaming of a tale of two Cisses.
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