Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa is a good player as he demonstrated in his first start for the club against Metalist Kharkiv on Thursday night, and he’s also got some very good leadership skills, and that helps the team when he’s on and off the pitch.
Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa in action last Thursday night
Yanga-Mbiwa is still only 23 years old, but he led Montpelier to their first ever French Championship last season, and it looks like he is still thinking big – and has said today in the local papers that Newcastle want to win the Europa League.
We’re not sure we’re good enough to be able to do that this season, but there again our five new players have significantly strengthened the squad last month.
But we face a very tough test in the Ukraine on Thursday night, and Yanga-Mbiwa is certain to start at right back again, having contained one of Metalist’s star players – Brazilian striker Willian (full name – Willian Gomes de Siqueira)- last Thursday night.
This is what Yanga-Mbiwa had to say about the Europa League:
“I think this competition is important for the whole squad, we all want to advance and progress in Europe.” “We want to win the trophy because that way we will be able to play in Europe again next season.”
“I think the squad is very competitive – it’s not just a strong first XI, but everyone who sits on the bench too. Everyone wants to win.”
One the evidence of Yanga-Mbiwa’s play on Thursday night he can challenge French team-mate Mathieu Debuchy for the right back spot at Newcastle – although we’d also like to see him play at center-back.
That’s unlikely to be very soon, with Steven Taylor and Fabricio Coloccini both in excellent form at the moment, and providing a new solidity to the Newcastle defense, that we haven’t seen all season.
If Fabricio Coloccini leaves in the summer we could see Steven Taylor and Yanga-Mbiwa become our two starting center-backs, but Newcastle would also need to bring in another center-back and there are two Frenchmen we are looking at right now.
French International Mamadou Sakho of PSG would be a terrific acquisition for Newcastle in the summer, and we’re also supposed to be watching Valenciennes 21 year-old center back Nicolas Isimat-Mirin, who has played for the French U21 side and only turned 21 last November.
But if Coloccini leaves we must bring in a fourth experienced center-back and not have only three experienced center-backs, which we’ve had over the last two seasons, and we’ve paid for that when Steven Taylor had lengthy times out with injuries.
You can also reach Ed at firstname.lastname@example.org