The starting line-up for Newcastle United against Bournemouth at St James’ Park this afternoon will be an interesting one, with bookmaker William Hill installing Newcastle as slight favourites. Newcastle manager Steve McClaren has some difficult decisions to make following insipid performances against Chelsea and Stoke City, but is it time for Moussa Sissoko, one of the Magpies’ most talented and arguably best player, to be left out?
Moussa Sissoko is something of an enigma. He has all talent in the world to be one of the best midfielders in the league. He has an incredible engine, is a very powerful runner, a great athlete, he can stick his foot in, thread the perfect pass (as he did for Gini Wijnaldum a couple of times earlier in the season) and even finds the back of the net from time (think back to the final game last year), but he doesn’t turn up regularly enough.
Now 26-years-old, Moussa should be in the prime of his career, but instead he continues to flatter to deceive. At the Britannia Stadium the Frenchman gave the ball away again and again, and was even out-muscled by Geoff Cameron when through on goal, which is criminal for a player of his size and strength.
Dropping a player of the stature of Sissoko would certainly send a message to the rest of the players that no-one’s place in the team is assured and that 100% effort and good performances are needed to be selected. However, while Moussa might not be playing well, is there anyone good enough to come into the team ahead of him?
Perhaps the buck should stop with McClaren whose job it is to get the best out of his players. If he showed the same passion in his argument with a journalist in his team talks then it might just rub off on his troops.
It might just be last chance saloon for Sissoko today. He hasn’t found the back of the net this season, so maybe today is the day he scores and earns us three points!