Pardew Has Decisions To Make
With Newcastle’s form at an all-season high after their January spending spree, it’s fair to say things are looking up on Tyneside. Alan Pardew has a wealth of options at his disposal and his French legion is carrying his side towards the top half of the Premier League table.
Since the likes of Moussa Sissoko and Yoan Gouffran arrived at St James’ Park, Pardew’s starting line-ups haven’t had much rotation, as his new players have hit the ground running and done the business.
But should the Toon boss make changes? I’ve compiled a list of four players who should not be on Pardew’s team sheet on a Saturday afternoon.
Feel free to comment and tell me what you think of my decisions, as I realise the following slides are going to divide opinion.
Tiote Hasn't Been At His Best This Season
Since impressing everyone with his all-action displays last season, more of the same was expected from Tiote this season. Despite being booked almost every game he played, Tiote endeared himself to Newcastle fans by being a rock in midfield, something he has struggled with so far this campaign.
It may be harsh on Tiote, especially with the players around him not shining too brightly either, but there has definitely been a drop in the Ivorian’s effectiveness in games.
Last season, Geordies laughed of the fact Tiote got booked in almost every game he played, instead choosing to love his aggression and desire to win the ball back.
However, that attitude has changed now and when the referee brands the yellow card in Tiote’s direction, it further angers the fans who are calling for his place to be taken.
One man who could replace him is Vurnon Anita, who has hardly had a look in since January. Anita was slowly discovering his best form after signing in the summer from Ajax and has been unlucky to not get more pitch time, despite being arguably Newcastle’s most versatile player.
If Alan Pardew was to drop Tiote and bring in Anita, it could spur the Ivorian into the kind of form which helped establish him as one of the indispensables in Newcastle’s first team.
Gutierrez Seems To Have Lost His Effectiveness
Plenty of fans have been voicing their complaints about Gutierrez this season, as the Argentine’s impact on games has dropped significantly since last year.
When he used to consistently get past his marker and get crosses in towards the strikers, Gutierrez seems to have become predictable and his final ball—always his weak point—is still poor.
One thing that hasn’t dropped though is his work rate, with his appetite for the defensive side of the game one of the main reasons he is still a regular in Pardew’s side.
Despite his hard work, Gutierrez is still a winger and his crossing is not good enough to benefit the side.
Sylvain Marveaux may be a decent alternative, as the Frenchman’s added creativity in the final third could make Newcastle more threatening in front of goal.
Cisse Hasn't Scored Often Enough This Season
Despite scoring a wonder goal against Southampton at the weekend, Cisse simply hasn’t been good enough this season.
For the first half of the season it was unfair to the former Freiburg man, who was deployed in his unfavoured right-wing position.
But since Demba Ba’s departure, Cisse has had the chance to shine as a centre forward and has not taken it. He is caught offside far too often—sometimes inexplicably when well placed—and his finishing hasn’t been up to scratch.
Cisse has no problem scoring when he has no time to think about what he’s doing, just like he proved with his goal against Southampton last weekend. The strike was instinctive and came naturally to him, but when he has a chance such as a one on one—where he has a few seconds to think about the finish—he squanders the chance more often than not.
If Cisse had converted the chances his teammates have created for him this season, he would be one of the top scorers in the league, but instead he has only seven goals to his name. The rate needs to improve, as he is running out of excuses for his lack of prolificacy.
The main reason Cisse hasn’t been dropped—and likely won’t be dropped—this season has been the lack of options in attack for Newcastle. Shola Ameobi only scores against Sunderland and there is no other real alternative for Alan Pardew to call upon.
It will be interesting to see if Newcastle sign another front man in the summer transfer window. If someone comes in, Cisse will have to start scoring or risk being second choice to the new arrival, much like he was when Ba was netting regularly for the Magpies.