Cisse will end his scoring drought

Posted by Marc Duffy

Serena Taylor/Getty ImagesPapiss Cisse helped get Newcastle back on the winning track with a goal in the Magpies' Capital One Cup victory over Leeds United Sept 25.

When Papiss Demba Cisse arrived at Newcastle from Freiburg for nine million pounds in January 2012, he was the club's most expensive signing since Fabricio Coloccini four years earlier.

He quickly paid back some of his fee, scoring goals almost every time he stepped out onto a pitch -- he scored 13 goals in his first 14 Premier League games including a goal against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge that was one of the best I've ever seen live.

It is remarkable, then, that in the 40 Premier League games Cisse has played since he has managed only eight goals. A 1-in-5 ratio.

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Was the player who burst on to the Premier League scene in 2012 the real Cisse or is it the player who hasn't scored a Premier League goal since April (13 games and over 1,000 minutes ago)? I think truth is probably somewhere in between.

Cisse's career record suggests that he's a far better player than he's looked of late. For Metz, Freiburg and Newcastle, Cisse has started 196 league games with 21 substitute appearances. He has scored 93 league goals -- a goal every 2.1 games. This is a solid ratio, with the majority coming in difficult leagues.

Part of the problem with Papiss is that if he's not scoring, he adds very little else to the team. Take Demba Ba. Ba was a frequent scorer for Newcastle, scoring every 1.79 league games. But when Ba wasn't scoring, he was also a very capable hold-up forward and comfortable dealing with the long balls insisted upon by manager Alan Pardew. He was also accomplished as a wide forward in a three-man attack -- when Cisse has been employed in either of those roles, he has looked clueless.

Before joining Newcastle, Cisse's longest spell without a league goal in Germany was three games. His current run of 13 is by far the longest dry spell of his career and it has to end soon. His first league goal last season came in his eighth league game, so this is the second season in which he has started slowly.

It is hard to say whether his confidence has been affected. On the one hand, he's often confident enough to take pot shots at goal from all sorts of angles and distances. On the other hand, many of those strikes have lacked any sort of conviction.

This time around, patience is wearing thin both on the terraces and in the dugout. If Cisse is ineffective again on Saturday against Liverpool, he could well find himself benched. But I have a strange feeling he'll score.

It's a big ask. There hasn't been a goalless draw between Newcastle and Liverpool since 1974. The 20 Premier League games at St James' Park have given us 61 goals -- Liverpool have scored 36. including six in last season's thrashing which is still fresh in the mind of Newcastle fans.

The last time Newcastle beat Liverpool (April 1, 2012) Cisse scored both goals in a 2-0 win.

Cisse scored against Leeds the last time Newcastle played at home. He scored for Senegal against the Ivory Coast at the weekend. The signs are there -- he will score on Saturday! These runs do not go on forever.

If he doesn't score then he could find his future playing time limited.

Twitter: @MarcSDuffy


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