In fine form

Having made only four appearances for the Magpies this season, Papiss Cisse has already netted more times than he did during the 2013/14 Premier League campaign. Two starts and two appearances from the bench have seen him score four times this year — twice as many as he achieved the previous year. By JACK SCOTT PAUL.

Though Newcastle United have made a slow start to this campaign, striker Papiss Cisse has reaffirmed his position as Newcastle’s talisman following a string of good performances.

Having made only four appearances for the Magpies this season, Cisse has already netted more times than he did during the 2013/14 Premier League campaign.

Two starts and two appearances from the bench have seen him score four times this year — twice as many as he achieved the previous year.

Following Cisse’s superb first season in the English Premier League he has been the subject of widespread criticism having failed to maintain the goal-scoring prowess which helped Newcastle reach the Europa League in 2012.

His lack of goals coupled with some poor performances led to rumours circulating about a possible departure from Tyneside. Fortunately for Newcastle, Cisse has found his touch and he is now the dominant force behind a possible Magpies resurgence.

Previous to his move to Tyneside, Cisse had established himself within the French leagues having spent time at Metz as well as two loan spells with Cherbourg and Chateauroux.

On New Year’s Day 2010 he signed for Bundesliga side SC Freiburg. His strike-rate at Freiburg was good, particularly in the 2010/11 campaign when he scored 22 times in 32 appearances. Only Bayern Munich’s Mario Gomez scored more Bundesliga goals in that particular year.

In 2009, Cisse made his international debut for Senegal in a friendly against the Democratic Republic of Congo. He is one of a number of players from the Premier League currently representing Senegal alongside Demba Ba and Mohammed Diame. To date, Cisse has represented his country 32 times and scored 14 goals.

When Cisse arrived at Newcastle he was relatively unknown. Signing in January 2012 from Freiburg for a fee of GBP10million, he was immediately handed the prestigious No. 9 shirt. Previous players to wear the shirt include Alan Shearer, Andy Cole and Jackie Milburn, all of whom have become icons of St James' Park.

The shirt’s iconic stature amongst the Toon Army heaped great pressure on the shoulders of Cisse which he used to his advantage in his first appearance for the club. Coming off the bench in a home game against Aston Villa, Cisse scored a stunning volley which secured a 2-1 win for his side.

He continued to shine and finished his first season on Tyneside with 13 goals in 14 appearances. Playing in partnership with Senegalese team-mate Ba, Cisse had become an integral force with the Newcastle squad.

Much was expected of Cisse after his outstanding emergence in the English Premier League. The 2011/12 season had seen Newcastle shine with a squad made up of young, quality players. It was a great year for the club as they looked set to build a team reminiscent of Sir Bobby Robson’s squad of 2004.

The Magpies had great strength throughout the field, with Fabricio Coloccini marshalling the defence, Yohan Cabaye pulling the strings in midfield, and Cisse converting up front. Though Cisse’s prolific goal-scoring ability had helped Newcastle to their highest league finish since 2004, his form in the subsequent season failed to impress.

By contrast, Senegalese team-mate Ba hit the ground running and contributed significantly to Newcastle’s goal tally. In January, Chelsea triggered the release clause in Demba Ba’s contract which paved the way for his transfer to Stamford Bridge.

It was hoped Cisse would take on the mantle left by Ba, but unfortunately for Newcastle fans it failed to materialise. The end of the 2012/13 campaign saw Cisse score eight times in 36 Premier League appearances, the lowest strike-rate in his professional career.

Cisse was given time by boss Alan Pardew but his poor form continued into the 2013/14 campaign. Subsequently he was dropped from Newcastle’s starting XI and replaced by French loan signing Loic Remy, who proved to be Newcastle’s main striking option with 14 goals in 24 appearances.

Cisse’s season was cut short by a broken kneecap and he ended the season with only two goals to his name. After a busy transfer window this summer, Newcastle were tipped for a top-eight finish this season. An influx of quality in the shape of Siem de Jong, Remy Cabella and Emmanuel Riviere seemed set to take the Premier League by storm but the Geordie faithful have been left disappointed by just one win in eight matches.

It was thought Riviere would be the key figure in attack, however it is the returning Cisse who has proved most valuable so far. His time sidelined through injury appears to have given a new start for Cisse who will hope to continue his new-found consistency in front of goal for the rest of the season.

Cisse is currently single, though he was formally in a relationship with Miss Newcastle 2012, Rachelle Graham.

© PA Sport