Magpies and Cisse in particular could decide title destiny
PAPPIS Demba Cisse is a name that many of us have mentioned a lot this week following his two stunning goals in Newcastle’s mid-week win against Chelsea. Not many players are as technically gifted as Cisse is proving to be. He’s now being described as a jewel and a top marksman by football pundits. After Cisse’s second goal against Chelsea, the TV cameras panned towards the Newcastle bench to capture Alan Pardew’s reaction.
I noticed that apart from being in a celebratory mood after the Cisse’s goal, he looked visibly stunned with it. I think it just dawned on him what a special player he has in his team. Cisse’s performance since joining Newcastle can only be summed up in one word— consistent. He has scored 13 goals in 12 appearances.
The Senegalese striker has justified the amount spent to sign him from SC Freiburg. I think he will have a big say on whether the title will go to Red Devils or the Sky Blues. When he joined Newcastle United, there was no doubt about his class—after all he was a prolific scorer in the Bundesliga. However, even ardent supporters would admit that they had reservations whether he would replicate the same form in England but he has surpassed expectations.
Newcastle host title chasing Manchester City tomorrow in one of the defining fixtures this season for both clubs. Roberto Mancini is under no illusions about the challenge is facing. He is aware of the threat Newcastle pose to his title ambitions and will go to the Sports Direct Arena stadium prepared to do battle with Alan Pardew’s side. Newcastle’s advantage is that they will be playing at home and the atmosphere will no doubt be electric and intimidating for Manchester City. I have a feeling that Cisse will have the final word on who wins this one.
Arsenal and Spurs join Newcastle in the battle for the Champions League places. The Gunners’ fans have been a frustrated lot especially because Arsenal seem to be struggling to finish the job. Spurs have closed the gap to one point and with Newcastle in blistering form, Arsenal fans have began to feel jittery. The possibility of Arsenal missing the Champions League football next season remains a concern for the faithfuls.
Spurs and Arsenal are in a transition phase and both clubs have top players who have been publicly courted by other top clubs around Europe. The only way the two clubs can ward off suitors and also attract potential recruits is to guarantee the players Champions League football and that’s why qualification to the tournament is an obsession.
Finally, Chelsea and Liverpool meet at Wembley in an FA Cup final. Both sides have had a dismal season. Liverpool seem to have regressed while Chelsea have stunted. I think this will be an open game because both sides are desperate to win the trophy. Roberto Di Matteo will be keen to win a trophy during his short tenure at Chelsea. The Italian coach has been credited with Chelsea’s resurgence since the sacking of Andre Villas-Boas but it will all mean nothing to him if he doesn’t win anything. Di Matteo is aware that it will be a difficult task to beat Bayern at the Allianz Arena in the Champions League final and so he will want to go to that final with something to fall back on.