Little over 6 months later, the 175cm tall, 71kg heavy, box-to-box midfielder has played his way into the hearts of the Geordie public and become an inspirational maestro in his no.4 shirt.
Cabaye has played all 14 of United’s Premier League games, arguably one of the first names pencilled onto Alan Pardew notepad in preparation for fixtures, leaving the field as a sub just six times. He has managed one stunning goal thus far, a belter against Wigan at home, and one ‘official’ assist. He also has to his name four yellow cards and fortunately no red ones!
Defensively, Cabaye stands as a man who ranks up more tackles per game than anyone else at NUFC (4.1 on average) beating his midfield partner Cheik Tiote by nearly one a game. Tiote does outdo him however in the ‘dribble stopping’ stakes; Cabaye presently stops the runners 1.5 times a game compared to the Ivorian’s 1.8.
Argubaly, Cabaye’s best attributes at NUFC are shown in his attacking numbers. The French creator produces the 3rd most passes per game on average after Tiote and Ryan Taylor; all three key to NUFC’s possession game. With his 80.2% pass succession rate, Cabaye manages more ‘key passes’ than any other at the club, (1.7 per game on average) just pipping forward Leon Best, and the most through balls per game (0.2).
Cabaye also produces more crosses than any Newcastle player, ‘whipping’ in 1.3 a game (Simpson next on 0.9) and only Simpson, Colo and Steven Tayor are dispossessed less out of the starting ‘regulars’. However, his goal-getting ability might need a little work; Yohan currently manufactures only 1.2 shots per game, a number equalled by team-newcomer Danny Guthrie, the 6th best in the squad.
In the Premier League:
In comparison to the centre midfield regulars at Nufc’s current rival clubs, Yohan Cabaye doesn’t set the Premier League alight. However, he isn’t a fading soul by any stretch of the imagination either, outperforming some of the so called ‘top players’ in many areas.
Out of the most regular centre midfielders in the other top 7 clubs, Cabaye and Charlie Adam are the only ones to have featured in every game so far. Moreover, behind just Adam and Arteta, Cabaye has created more chances than the rest for his team mates, as well as the third most key passes, again behind those two.
Cabaye also creeps in at third for the amount of times those payers have lost possession, but that’s about as positive as it gets! Only Charlie Adam has a worse percentage for pass succession rate than Cabaye and only Scott Parker wins less aerial 50-50’s. Parker is also the only player to have less goals than Yohan, although the same can be said for Gareth Barry and Phil Jones, and at just one assist, Cabaye sits with a few others as the lowest of the goal providers. Finally, NUFC’s no.4 may rank up most tackles for his club, but in comparison to some of the Premier League’s elite CM’s, his tackle success rate is relative lowly, beating only Parker again.
So, how good is Yohan Cabaye? Well, for Newcastle United he has been a revelation. Alongside Cheik Tiote, Newcastle have one of the best combative centre midfields in the Premier League. Not only that, they play a high number of passes with a fairly decent success rate and notch up the most disturbances for other team in terms of tackling and intercepting.
On the front foot, Cabaye is an integral part of NUFC’s attacking machine. At top key passer and top crosser, Yohan Cabaye is a link that in the current circumstances Newcastle could not survive very well without; although a few more goals and assists would add strength to his repertoire.
Alongside his Premier League counterparts, Cabaye appears to be recording some average figures, but for a player plying his trade in a different country, at a different club and in a different league for the first time, he should hardly be expected to do much more.
Who’s for boarding the Cabaye dreamboat?