It’s fair to say that Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa has lacked consistency on the field since arriving from Montpellier in January.
The Frenchman cost the club just shy of £7 million. The price tag seemed justified following the defender’s excellent 2012 season, in which he skippered Monpellier to The Ligue 1 title. Mapou has certainly found it difficult to maintain those high standards in England and despite having some bright moments in a black and white shirt, he has also had some forgettable ones.
Mbiwa was dropped by Alan Pardew in Newcastle’s 2-1 victory at Cardiff. This followed a nightmare 45 minutes the player endured during the previous game against Everton, a game we were losing 3-0 by half time. Mapou was replaced by Mike Williamson in the second half at Goodison Park and then Mike managed to keep Mibiwa out of the team against Cardiff a week later. I think to be fair it’s worth pointing out at at this stage that Colocinni was also very poor in the first half in the Everton loss too.
It would seem that a few people have already hit the panic button with Mapou and feel the player will not succeed at Newcastle. Those skeptics include his former Montpellier president Louis Nicollin who claims the player has made a big mistake in leaving France. Nicollin told L’Equipe:
“I’m sorry for him. I love him a lot. He has followed the advice of his agent and he was wrong to leave.
“Don’t worry, he’ll come back to Montpellier.”
The first argument that the optimistic would raise is that Colo had a very poor start to his career on Tyneside. What about Jose Enrique? Both players were under the microscope during thier first season in England and both looked they were unable to adjust the English game. Colo and Jose both knuckled down and proved their doubters wrong with complete transformations in their performances. Granted it took a relegation to get the pair to standard, but they stuck to their guns and both became pivotal to our return to the top flight and maintaining Premier League status the following year.
Jose left on a bit of a bitter note as we all know, but just look at Colo. Who would have thought that he would go on to captain the club when you look back on his performances during his first season with us. Alan Pardew has said before that Mapou has great leadership skills and the lad’s CV proves it. To win a League title as an underdog is a great achievement for anyone.
Mbiwa has had a slightly shaky start to his Newcastle career, but he is young and it does take time for some to adapt. I had a conversation with a fan who described the player as ‘terrible’.I have to say I feel that is slightly premature and I think we have a good player in Yanga-Mbiwa, we just need to be patient with him. I also believe it’s only a matter of time before he’s back ahead of Steven Taylor and Mike Williamson pecking order.
What do you think? will Mbiwa rank with Colo and Woodgate or Boumsong and Titus?