The Curious Case of Nikica Jelavic (and Papiss Cisse)
A year ago this month, two footballer clubs both paid relatively decent money to improve their striking options.
Newcastle, paying £9 Million notes for Cisse, and The mighty Blues spending the Bily money all on Croat ´Slotter´ Jelavic.
By the end of the season there was no doubt that both were contenders for signings of the window and the season with their final tallys as follows (in all comps):
Played – 14
Played – 16
Scored – 11
This season has been a different kettle of fish altogether. Both players are finding it increasing difficult to emulate last seasons goal scoring achievements. Stats for this season are:
Played – 26
Scored – 6
Played – 22
Scored – 7
Today after watching the game, I did my usual venturing to the match thread and noticed that the clammers of discontent towards Jela´ are becoming more frequent.
It would seem that our number 7 has lost his way a little, with one poster today even pointing out that it may be that he just isnt as good as we all thought.
That got me thinking, and straight away the above sprung to mind. It isnt just our Croat who is having a largely different season this time round, Cisse is going through exactly the same thing. Is he also not as good as was thought? Were his two goals against Chelsea last year flukes?
As this is an Everton forum and I an Evertonian like you all, I am obviously more concerned with Jelavic than Cisse. I just think its interesting that his isnt the only one with ´second season syndrome´. This was always going to be tougher for Jelavic especially with Cahill having left for pastures new. Timmy C, whose goals dried up in the latter stages of his career, was still effective behind Jelavic last season. This year its Fellaini -granted the much better player – but it is still going to take time for the two to come to an understanding.
Last year Mr Jelavic was a little less mobile, instead hovering around looking for the pass or the set up as he was the focal point of our attack. Everything was done to ensure that he was in and around the box when the crosses came in. His job was simple – score goals, preferably with one touch only.
We dont play like that this season. This season Fellaini is the focal point, the out-ball, the man we look to. And why shouldnt we? Hes in the form of his life. However, because we are playing to his strengths, it means that Jelavic is now having to work the channels. Time after time today he was trying to get in behind, even putting crosses in.
He isnt a good enough player to be the all round forward like the horrible buck-toothed racist accross the park.
An example was today, he was wide left, went to beat a man one-on-one and failed miserably. That isnt his game.
To try and complete this post with some sort of structure, all i am saying is that just like Cisse where Ba this season was the man for them, he has struggled with being number 2 if you will. Strikers love being the big cheese, this year for us Jelavic is obviously finding it tough feeding off the scraps from Fellaini. And we all know from history that top strikers need to be scoring and in the groove. If things are dropping to him or he isnt in that groove, its more likely that the odd one that does fall to him wont go in either.
Its a tricky time for Nikica Jelavic, id just ask us all to keep the faith.