Newcastle got a third win in four games yesterday, with a (very) late goal from Senegal striker Papiss Cisse, and it was another clean sheet and Newcastle are now on 46 points after 30 games and 8th top of the league.
Here’s what we learned about five of our players in yesterday’s game.
Papiss Cisse – giving thanks for his winning goal yesterday
- Papiss Cisse – Papiss has had a difficult season and is no longer a starter, with Loic Remy having taking over that starting position this season, although Loic will most probably be at Arsenal next season. In the last two games Papiss has had many chances – maybe as many as eight and he has scored just once.
But we give Papiss credit for never giving up and he was unlucky with a number of his efforts, with the two goalkeepers making some good saves in the last couple of games. And as John Carver said after the game, Papiss converted his most difficult chance yesterday – and it was a great header from an excellent Ben Arfa cross.
Papiss Cisse may leave us in the summer – but we hope he stays on Tyneside – and before the end of the season we also hope he scores a few more goals for us.
What we learned about Papiss is that he has courage to keep getting in those scoring positions – and of course he got the winner very late in yesterday’s game, and that’s at least the fourth time he has scored a winner very late in a game at St. James Park in the last two seasons.
- Ben Arfa – the French International is another player who could be leaving Newcastle in the summer, but we hope he’s given a new contract. Yes, Ben Arfa can be inconsistent and yes, he doesn’t do enough work in defense, but there are not many better match-winners in the Newcastle squad than this player, when he’s in form.
And when he came on yesterday he posed a real threat to the Crystal Palace defense, and the opposition had nobody near the talent of the 27 year-old. Ben Arfa set up a great chance for Papiss Cisse with a great right wing cross, and then deep into stoppage time he sent in a beautiful cross that Cisse headed home well.
The mercurial Frenchman can be infuriating at times, but Ben Arfa is still a great player when he’s in form and there are few better match-winners than this lad on his day.
We’d love to see Ben Arfa given a new contract in the summer, but that’s far from certain at the moment.
- Luuk de Jong - Luuk hasn’t yet taken the opportunities he has been given to get a permanent deal at the club at the end of his loan spell in the summer, and yesterday he was less than impressive up front, and seemed to shy away from the physical challenges of the Palace defense.
Maybe Luuk doesn’t have the strength and physicality it needs to be a top striker in the Premier League – like Demba Ba for instance. Luuk may well be dropped to the bench on Tuesday night at home to Everton, and we’d love for him to do well at Newcastle and get a permanent deal.
But the 23 year-old needs to show he can be a first team Newcastle striker ,and half way through his loan spell he has still to prove that.
- Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa – we were big fans of the Frenchman before he arrived on Tyneside and in the fourteen months Mapou’s been on Tyneside, he’s had some poor games where’s he’s given away penalties and made some daft challenges in and around the penalty box.
But Mapou has had two solid games at right back in place of the injured Mathieu Debuchy, and yesterday he was solid and had a very decent game. Maybe it’s just that Mapou needs more games in the Premier League to become fully acclimatized.
And because of his versatility – the Frenchman can play anywhere across the back four – the former Montpellier captain has made 22 appearances this season to go with the 20 times he played for Newcastle last season – and remember he’s still only 24 and played 219 times for Montpellier – and he also has good leadership skills.
This lad can still become a success on Tyneside.
- Paul Dummett - the local lad had another solid game at left back, and is standing in for the injured Davide Santon, and his crosses and corners were a lot better than last week at Fulham – and in fact they were quite good yesterday.
Paul needs a long run in the Newcastle side and he will definitely improve, and as long as he remains fit it could be that he will start in each of our last eight games of the season.
And if in those games he continues to do well we could well see Davide Santon sold in the summer – with Roma being the latest Italian club who would be very willing to take him back to Italy.
Paul Dummett seems to have what it takes to become a Newcastle regular – although he still has a lot to learn – we hope he makes it.
Let us know what you think – comments always welcome.