Writer: Michael Coverdale
Date:Tuesday May 5 2009
It looks like it could be the end of the road for the misfiring Sunderland Strike-force of Kenwyne Jones and Djibril Cisse writes new Vital Football editor Michael Coverdale.
Boasting just 2 goals from the last 9 games the pair have become the subject of much criticism from the Sunderland faithful.
The signing surprised many people in the summer, as did the reported £4 million loan fee paid for just one season of the strikers services.
It all started so well for the forward scoring the winning goal in a 2-1 away victory away at Tottenham back in august.
Playing under Roy Keane the striker was central to the Sunderland line up, often playing as a loan striker in a 4-5-1 formation, culminating in a healthy return of goals, which until recent poor form, saw him prominently featuring in the leagues goal-scoring charts.
It is not the Frenchman`s strike-rate which has come into criticism, as his record of 10 goals in 31 appearances stands up to many premiership strikers.
The major talking point on Wearside is the effect of the return of Kenwyne Jones has had on the forward's form.
Although upon his arrival he was never seen as a playmaking forward, the fact that Cisse has failed to make one assist all season is a significant point as to the thoughts of Sunderland fans who believe he does not contribute enough to the team.
Whilst the strikers shoot on site attitude has bore fruit on occasions this season, on too many occasions the striker has been guilty of wasting possession.
This can be seen when looking at the forwards successful passes, as at of all the regular forwards in the league, on just 338 successful passes, he has the fewest in the league, with only Ricardo Fuller lower than him, although the Jamaican forward has played a significantly less number of games.
As Sunderland have now lost all form, and the high profile strike force currently unable to create any chances for themselves in recent games, with the 1-0 win against Hull the only acception here, it looks like Cisse will figure increasing less in the remaining fixtures.
Sbragia said: 'I think now is the time where we have to look at everything about our approach to away games, and that includes the formation and whether or not we go with two strikers from now on.
'The quality up to the front players wasn't the best and when we got it up there, especially Djibril, he never kept it enough, didn't retain it.
'Kenwyne Jones was okay, he worked hard. But when it comes to that final ball and the final decision, we were really careless and really poor with it.'
With the whole team struggling for form, and the strike-force of Cisse and Jones unable to forge any understanding, it looks like Cisse will be made the scapegoat for the loss to Everton, dropping to the bench in favour of Jones at the front of a 4-5-1 formation.
It is the projected fee agreed in that loan deal which is set to be the final nail in the player`s future at Sunderland as due to the fall of the pound against the euro, the reported £11 million fee agreed when the forward signed last summer, has now gone up drastically.
This, as well as the fact the Jones agreed a new contract earlier in the year, look to spell the end of the forwards career at the Stadium of Light.
However if the forward does play some part in keeping Sunderland in the Premier League, along with the goals he scored in both of the seasons ties against arch rivals Newcastle, he will always be remembered fondly by the Sunderland faithful.
Date:Tuesday May 5 2009
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