Hello and welcome to the second of my series on the latest four Frenchmen to join Newcastle. The subject this time will be the versatile 23 year old defender Mapou Yanga-M’Biwa, purchased from Ligue 1 side Montpellier for undisclosed fee that is estimated to be around £6.9 million.
For those of you who didn’t read my last piece on Yoan Gouffran, as I explained in that, the reason why there isn’t one on the first of our January signings, Mathieu Debuchy, is that I have already written several pieces about him, including this one where I looked at Debuchy in comparison with Newcastle United’s existing first choice right back, Danny Simpson, which was written when Debuchy was still a Lille player. So without further ado, let’s get back to Yanga-M’Biwa.
The most expensive of Newcastle United’s new signings, Yanga-M’Biwa was signed from French champions Montpellier for a fee of around €8 million which converts to around £6.9 million at current exchange rates. Until he joined Newcastle United, M’Biwa had been a one club man, having spent the whole of his career at Montpellier, rising from the youth ranks to eventually become captain of the side. In total he played 211 games over seven seasons for Montpellier, becoming an established part of the side from the 2007-8 season onwards, and playing a key role in the Montpellier side which won the Ligue 1 title last season along with the likes of Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud. In that time M’Biwa scored a total of four goals, providing 3 assists. He also has three caps for the senior French national side, along with five under 21 caps.
Positions: Centre Back / right back and defensive midfield.
According to stats website “WhoScored,” statistically, M’Biwa had the best rating of any defender in Ligue 1 when he left for Newcastle, and was the sixth most highly rated of any player. In the table below, I have compared him on a variety of stats with Newcastle United’s two main centre backs this season so far, Fabricio Coloccini and Mike Williamson. Though of course, it might be slightly unfair to compare stats from Ligue 1 with stats from the Premiership, it’s just a bit of fun!
|Yanga-M’Biwa vs Coloccini and Willamson (All comps 2012/13),|
|App – Appearences, TPG – Tackles Per Game, IPG – Interceptions Per Game, FPG – Fouls Per Game OSW – Off Sides Won Per Game, CPG – Clearences Per Game, DPG – Dribbled Per Game, BSG – Blocked Shots Per Game, WSR – Who Scored Rating (out of ten).|
|App – Appearences, Gls – Goals, Ass – Assists, SPG – Shots Per Game DPG – Dribbles Per Game, FPG – Fouled Per Game, OSG – Off Sides Per Game, DiPG – Dispossessed Per Game, WSR – Who Scored Rating (out of ten).|
|App – Appearences, PPG – Passes Per Game, Ass – Assists, KPG – Key Passes Per Game PS% – Pass Success %, ACG – Accurate Crosses Per Game, ALB – Accurate Long Balls Per Game, TBG – Through Balls Per Game, WSR – Who Scored Rating (out of ten).|
|App – Appearences, MoM – Man of the Match Awards, ADW – Aerial Duels Won Per Game, YCs – Yellow Cards RCs – Red Cards, WSR – Who Scored Rating (out of ten).|
Style of play.
Though primarily a centre back, Yanga-M’Biwa is a versatile defensive player who has also played as a right back and in defensive midfield. Though it has been written that he can play “right across the back four,” I can’t find any record of him having played at left back.
M’Biwa is very comfortable on the ball for a defender, having the abilty to play his way out of defence, pass very respectably and generally build attacks from the rear. In other words he is what you might call a very “cultured” defender who is good technically. However, he also has the other more traditional qualities necessary to make him an excellent defensive package, specifically he is strong, good in the tackle, and a hard worker who is good at intercepting passes of his opponents to add to all the fancy stuff that is expected of defenders nowadays, sometimes at the expense of all the old fashioned values, though this is certainly not the case with M’Biwa. When he signed, Alan Pardew said of him:
“We needed to strengthen the team and bringing in Mapou will give the whole squad a boost. He is precisely the sort of player we’ve been looking to bring to the club. He is a good age for us but has plenty of experience at club and international level. Mapou is a talented footballer, good in the air and on the ground and has all the attributes to succeed as a quality defender in the Premier League. He’s a good character too and that will be important for us over the next few months.”
So basically, we have a very cultured but well rounded defender in Yanga-M’Biwa. Not just that but his leadership experience a captaining a League winning side might well stand the club in good stead if our existing central defensive Captain, Coloccini, leaves the club at the end of the season. That’s not bad for a 23 year old!
Yanga-M’Biwa on video.
Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa vs Marseille.
Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa vs Lille (10/11/2010)