Sir Alex Ferguson used to say about Filippo Inzaghi that he was 'born offside' well the same can be said about our number 9 Papiss Cisse. He has been unnecessarily caught offside time and time and time again this season and after last night's unbelievably frustrating 0-0 draw with Metalist this totally avoidable part of Cisse's game has finally came back to haunt us.
I should be writing this article talking about how we have the advantage going into the second leg with a lead and a clean sheet to our names sitting in prime position to get into the next round of the Europa League. Instead I am talking about how a linesman may or may not have robbed us of that scenario and how our misfiring striker managed to not get himself on the score sheet at least once.
Let's get something clear straight away, the linesman made a mistake when it came to Cisse's open goal tap in. Ironically it was Sissoko who broke through beating the offside trap with success only to see the linesman wrongly raise his flag as soon as he touched the ball. Maybe Moussa can teach Papiss a thing or two? We were robbed. The second of Cisse's 'goals' was marginal to say the least but it has to be said he was fractionally offside. Which is of no surprise to me whatsoever. Cisse has been offside all season long!
When will this lad learn? I have lost count of the amount of times he has been flagged for offside when we are in a good position. I understand he likes to play on the shoulder of defenders for the through ball but he has to learn how to hold his run. Sometimes he just blatantly runs 2 or 3 yards offside leaving it impossible for anyone to pass to him. What is he playing at? What is the manager and his staff playing at not fixing this? It isn't hard to rectify is it?
We have somewhat tolerated it up to this point as he has got himself on the score sheet vs Everton and Villa but after this Metalist debacle my patience has ran out. I am going to go on record and say that I think we are out of the Europa League after drawing 0-0. I think all of those missed chances will definitely come back to haunt us next week. Kharkiv looked like a decent team with the ball and in their own stadium they will be certainly a much stronger force to handle.
The clean sheet is the only thing we can hold on to and if we were to score the first goal in the second leg then we would have a decent chance of going through on at least away goals. But seeing how we failed to even turn up at Bordeaux and failed to win at the likes of Bruges and part timers Maritimo, to go to Ukraine and come back with a result is a big ask. We only have one away win in all competitions after all. We had to win last night in my eyes and we failed. You can blame the linesman all day but we created 3 or 4 clear cut chances and failed to score.
Every Cisse chance he missed was easier than the last. One on one with the keeper is never a foregone conclusion but you would expect the striker to put it away and not just hit it straight into the keeper. The cut back from Santon 6 yards out from goal should have seen the back of the net but again Papiss struck it straight into the keeper. The worst one of the lot was in the last minute of injury time. How the hell did that header not find the net?
He was in the perfect position, point blank in front of goal, looking straight at the corner of the net he needed to find. But yet he heads it into the keeper giving him the chance to get his hand on it to keep it out. That was a terrible miss. I would expect any player you can think of to have put that away whether they are a striker or not. Just put it in and we can take some satisfaction of a 1-0 last minute win and (almost) all is forgiven. That failure to score could prove to be fatal.
Derek Llambias said the other day that we have replaced Demba Ba in this January transfer window. Is he having a laugh? I hate to say it but if Demba was in our team last night we would be heading to Metalist with a healthy lead. We definitely need someone to come in who can at least a) score from 6 yards out and b) knows how to stay onside. Cisse is a good striker but he is not a reliable one I am afraid. Gouffran can make the LW position his own but we need more options up front.
All is not lost and I have no doubt my mood will be a lot more optimistic next week before the second leg but my feelings are that we have shot ourselves in the foot a few times too much which will come back to bite us on the arse big time. What a missed opportunity.
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