I recently watched a Youtube video of the 15 goals that Demba scored before he went off to the African Cup of Nations. It’s painfully obvious what the difference is now. Most have put it down to him being played on the left by Pardew since the arrival of Papiss Cisse. I think it is less to do with the position he is being played in and more to do with the fact something has gone missing in his game – his instinctiveness in front of goal. Admittedly, coupled with a little bit of bad luck.
Most of the goals he scored for us in the first half of the season were down to quick-thinking and agility on Demba’s part. Like Cisse, he is more of an instinctive finisher than someone who can take their time and place their shots. Unlike Cisse, he seems to have lost a bit of confidence. He has had many chances over the last 12 games, all in which he has failed to score. The difference between then and now is that he seems to be taking too much time to think over these chances. It might appear that misfortune is the perpertrator, since the ball is just not falling right for him at the moment, but this simply because he is not getting into the right positions as often as he was.
Having said all this, I do believe the fact that he has been removed from the pinpoint of our attack is the reason for the drop in confidence. It could happen to most of us I suppose, going from number 1 to number 2 so quickly.
So on Sunday, I want to see a Demba Ba goal. It is important for him to finish this season on a high note and add to his 16-goal haul. Otherwise, I fear next season will start off the same from him - under the shadow of his strike partner Cisse. Naturally, he may feel pressurised by the amazing accomplishments of Cisse in such a short space of time. although he will never admit it. A goal would ease that pressure and will avoid a summer of him wondering if he will quickly get back on the goal trail or not.
We all know what a class player Demba is and we would definately be better off with him in the side next season. Hopefully, in a side where both the boys from Senegal and banging in the goals.