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Magpies’ Ba continues to impress

By | 27th September 2011

Senegalese hitman Demba Ba got off the mark for the season in style against Blackburn Rovers at the weekend, hitting a hat-trick at St. James’s Park in a near-perfect performance for both him and the Magpies as a whole in front of their home crowd.

Andy Carroll’s shock departure last winter, along with fellow starts Kevin Nolan and Joey Barton also leaving Tyneside this summer, has left the supporters in want of another high-profile goal getter who can propel them to higher ambitions.

Ba and Leon Best each have three goals to their name, and the Irishman provided the assist for Ba’s opener against Rovers. With Newcastle unbeaten in nine league matches stretching back to last season, and sitting pretty in 4th place, there is evidence to back up the theory that Ba can indeed be the talisman striker for Alan Pardew’s men.

Ba arrived in England with West Ham in late January of last year, after two and a half successful years with TSG Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga. During his time in the German top flight, he hit 25 goals for the Sinsheim-based outfit, including an impressive 14 in 33 appearances (all starts) in the 2008/09 campaign.

He was brought to East London with the task of reviving a comatose strike-force, with the Hammers fighting relegation. Despite the the Hammers ending their spell in the Premier League, Ba certainly did his best to help the club avoid the trap door, notching 7 goals in just 12 appearances, enough to make him the top scorer for the club in the Premier League.

This impressive run meant that the Championship was never going to be an attractive proposition for Ba, especially with a host of clubs interested in his services. And it was a move to the northeast that was on the cards, a free transfer that could prove to be one of the best deals in recent years for Newcastle.

Born just outside Paris to Senegalese parents, Ba has scored three goals for his country to date, but missed out on the most recent African Nations Cup squad in early September. Dame N’Doye (FC Copenhagen), Diomansy Kamara (Eskisehirspor), Mame Biram Diouf (Manchester United), and Moussa Sow (Lille) represent his main competition to get into his country’s starting eleven.

Les Lions sit 42nd in FIFA’s latest world rankings, an improvement of seven places, and continued good form for his club will surely result in more chances, and goals, for Ba with Senegal. But it will be his domestic form that the black and white section of the Northeast will care about more.

His performance against Blackburn showed why he can score goals in any league- good in the air, searing pace, and a good touch in front of goal are the ingredients for a great striker.

Ba looks set for an extended run in the team under Pardew, and whether he is partnering Best, Gabriel Obertan, Peter Lovenkrands, the Ameobi brothers, or even Nile Ranger, it is a good bet that Ba will be on the score-sheet more often than any other player at the club come season’s end, and instrumental in any silverware Newcastle may be able to land.

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