The story goes that either Demba Ba or Papiss Cissé are in goalscoring form for Newcastle United but not both simultaneously. Here are their scoring records for the club:
Here are the same again but smaller so you can see the whole picture at once:
Ba scored 15 goals in the first half of 2011-12, his first season as a Newcastle player. Cissé was signed in January 2012 with the pair seeing out Senegal’s brief Africa Cup of Nations campaign before returning to Tyneside in February. They both scored in their first club match as team mates before their scoring form diverged. Cissé found the net 12 more times to finish the season with 13 goals but Ba didn’t register again and ended with no more than the 16 he had registered in the season’s first six months.
So far in 2012-13, the form has switched back to Newcastle’s original Senegalese hero as Ba has been scoring regularly and Cissé has not. Cissé does however have a decent 4 goals (to Ba’s 10) so the narrative isn’t quite as clear cut as it was last season.
The phenomenon is hardly one of football’s great unsolved mysteries since one player will often be given a less central role to accommodate the other. Ba was moved wide to make way for Cissé as the focal point of Newcastle’s attack in the second half of 2011-12 and so scored fewer goals. This campaign they have operated together more as a front two so the goals have been more evenly shared.
Anyway, the graphic’s there and you can draw your own conclusions from it at your leisure. I’ll update it at the end of the season, I promise.