When Newcastle signed Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa in January, we thought we had got a really top player who would solidify the Newcastle defense, and since he can play anywhere across the back four, he would get lots of games.
Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa - two poor games from the Frenchman
And when Mapou finally ousted Steven Taylor earlier this season, and became first choice at center-back, after Steven had served his three match suspension, we thought everything was on track, and we weren’t all that surprised.
But in the last two league games – the two 3-2 defeats against Hull and Everton – Mapou has had two very poor games, and of course when you have a poor game at center-back, it usually ends up with goals conceded, and we’ve let in a massive six goals in those two league games.
It’s still early days for Mapou at Newcastle of course, and he is still learning and should get better as he gets more experience of the English way of playing football.
But we don’t think center-back is his best position, because he is not a good header of the ball, and he cannot seem to handle the big bustling strikers like Romelu Lukaku, as one example on Monday night.
To be fair to Mapou, not many center-backs could have handled the player on Monday, as Romelu was in sparkling form.
But we think Mapou can still play a big role for Newcastle, but it’s probably in one of the full back positions.
Mapou was great at left back in the last few games of last season, and in Debuchy and Santon we are not sure they are necessarily the best full backs at Newcastle right now, with Mapou available and local lad Paul Dummett pressing hard, and there’s also Massadio Haidara, when he comes back from his knee injury..
It sometimes takes players at least a year to acclimatize to England, so we do expect Yanga-Mbiwa to get back into the starting line-up at Newcastle, but that may be at full back rather than center-back.
For the record the Frenchman has played 27 times so far for Newcastle United.
And talking about center-backs we expect Steven Taylor to be fit, but only for the game two weeks on Saturday at home to Liverpool,
Win, lose or draw at Cardiff, that is huge game for Newcastle and we cannot be overwhelmed like we were in last season’s game, when we were absolutely outclassed and hammered 6-0.
But the bottom line is that we certainly haven’t given up on Mapou, this lad is a fighter and an excellent character, and we expect him to learn – and come fighting back.
What do you think?
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