Hope you all got that pun, otherwise that headline just looks silly.
As you all know, I’m a little bit hard on Alan Pardew. It’s not because I don’t like him on a personal level (I don’t like him in case you were wondering) it’s simply because he has a habit of doing everything wrong.
Moussa Sissoko is a perfect example of how Pardew can get it so horrifically wrong at times that one could only liken it to car-crash management. What do you think of when someone mentions a #10? Personally I think of a crafty, fleet-footed attacking midfield player. Someone who can drop in between the lines, pick up the ball and deliver a wicked through ball that no one else could have spotted. I think of someone like Chelsea’s Oscar, or Arsenal’s Santi Cazorla. Ask Alan Pardew the exact same question? His answer is Moussa Sissoko. Sissoko is many things, but he is certainly not a #10.
I’ve heard some ridiculous criticisms of Sissoko such as he can’t pass a ball, or that his vision is not good enough. I’ve also heard someone saying that his performances slipped somewhat after his fantastic performances in the wins away to Villa and home to Chelsea. However, one only has to look towards Alan Pardew in trying to explain why his spark faded slightly towards the end of last season. In Sissoko’s first few games he was used as a deep box-to-box midfield player, a role that suits his natural ability. Needless to say he shone in those games and played a massive part in those aforementioned victories. In a lot of the games that followed Pardew tended to use him, either as a second striker/#10 or as a right-winger, neither role of which suits his abilities so a dip in form was to be expected. It is also no coincidence that Sissoko’s impressive performance against Fulham came from his more customary midfield position.
Just as I feel that Anita is key to any success we may have this season, so too, do I think Sissoko is important. As long as Pardew plays these two players in the correct fashion in a 4-3-3 formation, then Anita and Sissoko, along with Cabaye, could form a formidable midfield trio.
The key to playing decent football sounds so simple – that’s because it is! Play your best players, in a formation that best suits their respective abilities, in individual roles that will get the best from them. For Sissoko this means allowing him to carry the ball from deep, giving him free rein to go up and down the field, and having plenty of pace and movement up front so he has someone to collect the ball from him.
For large parts of last season we were simply too static up front. By playing Sissoko further up the field this only served to make the problem worse as Sissoko is one of the few players we have in the squad capable of injecting a bit of energy into the side.
Alan, you have plenty of good players available to you. Unleash them and let them play some football, and then I can get back to finally feeling good about the on-field product. That would only leave the off-field nonsense to be addressed…the trials and tribulations of being a Newcastle United supporter eh?
What do you think? Do you agree that Sissoko will be an important player this season? Or do you think there are better options in the squad? Let me know your views.