Coloccini Vs Mbemba Vs the Premier League

How do our defensive 'rocks' compare?
How do our defensive ‘rocks’ compare?

Newcastle United has conceded 49 goals this season, which is 3rd worst in the Premier League and only one behind Norwich and Sunderland. Fabricio Coloccini has taken much of the flack for this, with fans citing the 34-year-old’s declining ability as one of the main factors in such a poor defensive record. He also happens to be the Club Captain and his lack of leadership no doubt has a big part to play in the lack of cohesiveness within the squad – but if he were to be removed as Club Captain, would his performance data back up the notion that he still has a part to play at this level?

This performance analysis will look at averages over 90 minutes so far this season. To get a balanced view, Chancel Mbemba and Fabricio Coloccini will be compared to 3 other Premier League defenders. First up is ex-Newcastle player Sebastien Bassong, who is playing in a side with an equally awful defensive record. Next up is a player many fans suggest would be ideal for the Magpies – Stoke City’s Ryan Shawcross. Finally, a player highly coveted by some of the bigger sides in European Football – Everton’s John Stones.

As with our recent full back analysis – these players will go head-to-head on a variety of statistics, with 10 in total. The winner in each field will be awarded with 10 points, 2nd place will take 5 points, 3rd will take 3 points and 4th gets 1 point. So lets get started.

Aerial duels won:

This is an area many fans have identified as being obviously weak for many years – and the stats prove it. Ryan Shawcross earns himself 5 points here with 70.59% of headers won. In third place is John Stones with 65.12% whilst top dog is in fact ex-Toon defender Sebastien Bassong with 73.15%. Coloccini gets himself 1 point with a measly 49.23% whilst summer signing Chancel Mbemba brings up the rear with only 46.84%. Clearly this is an area to be addressed in the next window.

Tackles won:

Take your best and worst performers from the last field and switch them, because this time Mbemba is now King of the Hill with an average of 2 successful tackles per 90 minutes. In last place is Bassong, with only 0.66 per game – whilst Ryan Shawcross keeps himself steady in 2nd place with 1.44. 3rd place goes to John Stones with 1.33 per game, whilst Coloccini nets himself a single point again with 1.26. Considering a central defender’s main job is to head the ball away and make tackles, Coloccini is lagging behind here by some distance…

Fouls committed:

Clearly professional fouls are sometimes necessary and unavoidable, but any fouls committed in a team’s own third invites the opposition to have a pop at goal – so it’s important to keep them to a minimum. The dirtiest of the defenders is Bassong, with 0.88 per 90 minutes. Taking a single point this time is Shawcross with 0.76. In third place is Mbemba with 0.60, whilst 2nd place is taken by John Stones (0.48). The cleanest tackler then, is Coloccini – with only 0.35 fouls per 90. It could be argued he commits fewer fouls because he makes fewer tackles, but fouls are still fouls.

Total duels %:

Now we look at who generally comes out on top when all of their headers, tackles, take on’s and free kicks won are taken into account. Showing why he’s highly sought, John Stones takes top spot with an impressive 62.42% of all battles won. In second place is Bassong with 61.5%. Next up is Shawcross (56.7%) and trailing behind again is the two Toon lads. Mbemba has 50.94% whilst Coloccini is the only player to win less than half his battles with 46.67%.

Defensive Errors:

This means mistakes leading to goal scoring opportunities for the opposition. Surprisingly, John Stones is the worst offender, with 0.14 per 90 minutes. In 4th place is Chancel Mbemba with 0.09. Taking third is Bassong with 0.08. Second is Coloccini with only 0.04 whilst Ryan Shawcross shows he is a machine, with zero mistakes.


Who has the fastest reactions when the ball is bobbling around in a dangerous area? Well John Stones doesn’t, with only 3.9 per 90 minutes. Coloccini is not much better with 4.28. In third is Shawcross (5.49) whilst young Chancel takes second spot with 6.35. Top dog is Norwich City’s Sebastien Bassong with a mighty 8.46.


Here we get to see who has the best defensive brain and can read the dangerous through balls, cutting them off before an attacker takes advantage… This is finally where the Toon boys come to the fore. Mbemba takes the day with 2.85 every 90 minutes, with Coloccini on 2.40. In third is Ryan Shawcross with 2.28, whilst John Stones takes the last point with 1.90. Bottom of the pile is Bassong, with only 1.77 over the same period.


Going back to reactions, who puts their body on the line the most to save their team? As you would expect, the hard-as-nails Ryan Shawcross takes top spot with 1.18. Toon Captain Fabricio Coloccini shows he will put himself on the line for his team with 1.14 earning him 2nd place. In last by some distance is Bassong (0.54), who seems to run very hot and cold in his performance stats. One point goes to Chancel Mbemba (0.81) whilst John Stones takes third with 1.05.

Pass Completion:

The old saying ‘if in doubt, knock it out’ is a great fail-safe for defenders, but part of the modern game is about ball retention – which has obvious benefits. Showing how neat and tidy he is, John Stones leads the way with 89%. In second is Coloccini with 83%. Third goes to Bassong (80%), whilst 4th is taken by Mbemba with 77%. Failing to get a point in this field is the no-nonsense old school Ryan Shawcross with 73%.

Total Shots:

Not an essential part of a defensive set up granted, but a a defender that can chip in with shots on goal is a benefit to the team (so long as they remember where their main duty lays), because if they don’t score, they might just give a teammate an opportunity to react fastest and stick it in anyway. Plus, it’s entertainment for the fans! Winner for this one is Norwich City’s Bassong with 0.62 over the 90. In second place is Stoke’s Shawcross with 0.42. Third goes to Coloccini (0.39), whilst the final point is claimed by Mbemba (0.38). John Stones trails the pack by some way on 0.29.

Final Table:

1) Ryan Shawcross – 47 Points.
2) Sebastien Bassong – 39 Points.
3) Fabricio Coliccini – 36 Points.
4) John Stones – 35 Points.
5) Chancel Mbemba – 33 Points.


Well the first thing that comes to mind is this – Is John Stones really worth upwards of 40 million pounds? He is tidy on the ball and relatively steady across the field, but he makes a lot of mistakes leading to chances for the opposition and his reactions are not great either. The fans are right to call for a Ryan Shawcross type player to be signed. Not only is he very strong in the air, but across all fields, he is the best defender amongst the above 5 by far. Our own defenders are very weak in 2 key areas – aerial duels and total duels. If it were not for Mbemba’s impressive tackling, our two defenders would offer very little when confronted by players with physical presence or fluid movement – which is a big concern.

Whilst Mbemba takes the wooden spoon here, it should be remembered that he is very young and this is his first season in the EPL. The margins between the bottom 3 of the above 5 are minimal and it stands to reason that Mbemba will improve next season. Coloccini shows that whilst he is steady across most fields, he gets bullied off the ball. Not ideal for a central defender at all. Finally, who would have thought Bassong would come out in 2nd place? Did the Toon make a big mistake shifting him on? He might be rubbish on the ball, but he’s a threat in the air.

Stats taken from

About Shamrock

Like everyone here, support Newcastle United. Not the easiest side to feel good about at times, but it's our side!

293 thoughts on “Coloccini Vs Mbemba Vs the Premier League

  1. I think we just have the perfect storm here at the Toon. A billionaire owner who after 8 years still seemingly knows sod all about football, a MD that knows sod all about football, a manager that is not cut out for this level anymore (if he ever was), either poor facilities or poor medical staff contributing to an injury prone squad and outside of that a squad full of below par players for this level, or players that can’t be ars&d to apply themselves all game, every game – such as Sissy, Cisse and Tiote. Oh and a Captain that is afraid to speak out on the pitch.


  2. Or we have the basis of a good young team once the mercenaries and out-of contracts leave. We need a Manager who can work with these players and the addition of a centre-back and goalscorer.

    If we retain:


    That is not that bad a team and a good manager would have them mid-table with a couple of additions.


  3. I agree Eric @228. Don’t need to spend a fortune to compliment that squad and get it stable for a couple of years – just need a proper manager and signings for the squad, not the future accounts books.


  4. I didn’t include Thauvin because I have no idea if he is any good or not. Same applies to de Jong as I think he is still in recovery from the collapsed lung and may never recover.


  5. I can’t see where De Jong fits into the team even if fit, unless he can somehow be a 2nd striker type player.


  6. So Colo out for month,injured doing warm down after game even though he didn’t play he has done his calf


  7. Man City side had 9 changes and a load of kids thrown in, using their battering by Chelsea’s first team can not be an excuse for McClaren or the shower of **** we served up. No doubt he would leap on the excuse if he could but I don’t buy it. That’s the thing – they didn’t even turn it on that much against us, and they still smashed us to bits.

    Pardew used his break away in Spain well it seems with a win away at the Prem’s form side. Can Schteve do the same?


  8. Might this be a blessing in disguise? I don’t really want injuries, and this is obviously assuming Mbemba is back and fit….but seeing as Colo will never be willingly dropped from the side, will this give us the chance to try and get a more effective and settled back 4, with some actual on field leadership?


  9. We should get a look at Dummett and Taylor now as I highly doubt MBemba will be fit for Stoke. I have no inside knowledge of his injury I just know the history of NUFC when they always underestimate the time a player will be out.

    Until MBemba is fit I think we cannot risk Lascelles as he has hardly any PL experience and seems a bit reckless. I think Colback has to play left back leaving the 2nd central midfield spot between Tiote and Saivet. I would choose Saivet because what did we buy him in January for if we don’t play him and we were perfectly willing to let Tiote go. So, Tiote will be Schteve’s choice then 🙂

    It will be very interesting to see who McClaren makes Captain. Probably Janmaat or Shelvey as he has been on the verge of dropping Wijnaldum and Sissoko this season. He also said he wanted to build the team around each of them so you never know with Schteve.

    It should be interesting and it just goes to show that the Board have been completely vindicated in relying on a slow 34 year old, an accident waiting to happen with no PL experience and a player made entirely of glass.


  10. No Mitro, no mbemba, no Colo 😯 so cinder toffee bones Taylor and Lascelles as our main centerhalves.. Or dummett..

    Not looking good


  11. I hope I am wrong and that MBemba is fit or Dummett or Lascelles step up and keep Colo out of the team. It seems we do well when he has a good game and get hammered when he can’t be arsed.


  12. As much as I want Colo to be eventually replaced, we’ll see in the next few weeks how much we’ve relied on his experience. I can only see mbemba &dummett. Taylor won’t stay fit for long


  13. I am still wondering about the fans forum and who is allowed to attend and who can ask questions? Do the powers that be have foreknowledge of the questions and is it really just a PR stunt? The Chronicle said the media aren’t allowed in. Oh to be a fly on the wall.

    I read VIZ the other day and in letterbocks they wondered why anybody would like to be a fly on the wall because they just fly straight out of the window and eat dog ****.


  14. Shouldn’t have sold williamson for the pittance he went for when we’re in such dire straits. The fact that we’re complete dog **** without him in the side has shown that not every goal we conceded was down to him (no matter how much some fans wanted that to be the case).

    Hardly a world beater but more worthy of a squad place than Taylor, at least he stays fit.


  15. It would be interesting to see Shamrock compare Williamson with Taylor and Coloccini to see if the stats tell a story about his effectiveness or lack of effectiveness? My view was always that he was scared of the ball and that tainted him. He did always seem committed to the cause though even when Carvs said he got himself sent off on purpose. He clattered Jamie Vardy into the advertising board with no thought of his own safety. If that had been Stevie G or John Terry we would have a sign us with “Captain, Leader, Legend”.


  16. I hope the “be careful what you wish for” brigade keep quiet about Colo. What we actually wished for was a new, quick and commanding centre back and what we got was a contract extension.


  17. So Collo out for a month , Well imo that has improved our chances of staying up . He is too slow and is the worst captain we have ever had , whoever gets the armband will show more leadership thats for sure , for me i would give it too Shelvy with Elliott as vice captain and form a players committee just like Hughton had in the dressing room . Its time for the fighters in the team too stand up stand proud and do a job .


  18. We lost £30m the last time we were relegated. I think it’s a fair assessment to expect at least double that this time with our increased wage bill without selling most of our high value players.

    As for Colo, YCMIU! Who’d have thought we’d have a few problems in defence with injuries and things like that…? Only everyone bar the club – McClaren included!


  19. Eric @228 – that’s why I am not overly concerned about going down. I actually think we would probably loose Janmaat & Gini from that group, the latter being the biggest loss if so. But with the money from their sales I reckon we could get championship players or loan players to replace them. I’d obviously not want to go down, and I’d be gutted to see it happen again, but I don’t see it as Armageddon personally.


  20. So we might get maybe £25m for Gini and Janmaat and saves about £5m in wages. Where does the rest come from? Let’s be real here; we would require Ashley to subsidise us to the tune of over £30m! We would need to sell more than just two players to fund us I’m afraid.


  21. Stu – would we?. Didn’t we have around £20-25m to spend on Berahino not so long ago. As I said last night, we are in a different financial position to the one we were in last time round. Maybe Ashley hasn’t intervened because he knows that he won’t be hit in the pocket this time round coz we have money in ‘cart’ to cover it.
    I’m not saying that relegation won’t hurt us both financially & in the loss of quality playing staff – I said last night that relegation will set us back years again. But I (or anyone on here for that matter) don’t know the financial structure in the event of relegation. We have cleared a lot of our bigger earners from the wage bill recently & I’d imagine if we go down, Colos head would be first on the chopping block too. I believe Saylor & Marv are out of contract in the summer – they are over £100k pw in wages, add Colo and there’s around £200k in wages a week gone – that’s around £11m in wages loosing 3 players I’d be prefectly fine loosing.


  22. Oh Sharpy! It appears we’d be the only club in the division who wouldn’t be financially hit badly by relegation!

    Just go and have a look at our accounts, Sharpy. TV money is the majority of our turnover.


  23. Is Colo really injured? or is this a way of installing a new captain without Colo losing face, has he thrown a strop? I love a good conspiracy me 😉


  24. Regardless if we stay up or not – Cisse, Gouffy, Obertan, Marv, Vuckic, Good, Ameobi will defo be off for next to nowt. Sissoko will be sold for upwards of £10m. Meanwhile I imagine we will get a few quid for Rivierre, Cabella, Thauvin and Tiote.

    That’s at least £35m in sales and a shed load in wages given they stand at 33k per player on average.

    If we drop we can expect Janmaat and Gini maybe Krul to join the exodus and that’s another 30m easily.

    We will have to sign a few players to beef out the squad, but that can be paid for by our parachute payment. Meanwhile Toney and Armstrong would be back with us, saving us buying strikers in the Championship.


  25. We would lose potential TV money for sure – and sponsorship money and half our PL payout. But we would release a load of injury prone and out of contract players, sell a few ‘star’ players like Gini, Sissy, Tiote and Cisse and would massively slash the wage bill whilst freshening up the squad.

    I still say it would not be the end of the world getting relegated – so long as we get back up with preferably one, but at most 2 years. Any longer than that and we will find it very hard to ever get back. When we go back up, it would be a massive battle trying to get the squad as strong as other teams that have had one or two years worth of PL money pumped into their squads, facilities and profiles. That would be far harder than trying to survive the drop in my opinion.

    We are not going to spontaneously explode if we get relegated. It will just be a restructuring job on a smaller budget – but we have to restructure anyway.

    Definitely better off staying up – that’s not in doubt. But going down does not mean Armageddon.


  26. Stu – here we go again 🙄 so where have I said that then?. Show me where I have said it wouldn’t hurt us financially, or do you misunderstand what I mean when I say that relegation will set up back years?.

    I would suggest you be the one to look at the accounts, coz so far all I’ve read from you is ‘fair assessment’ or ‘Eric said’ – nothing of any factual substance from you as yet though.


  27. Potential Championship squad:

    GK: Elliott, Darlow, Wooodman.
    RB: Mbabu, new signing or Sterry.
    CB: Lascelles, Mbemba, Dummett and either Colo or Saylor.
    LB: Haidara, new signing or Gibson.
    CM: Shelvet, Colback, Saivet, Anita for his last year?
    AM: Townsend, Aarons, Barlaser, De Jong, maybe Ameobi, new signing.
    STR: Mitrovic, Perez, Armstrong, Toney.

    Thats a strong Championship side and not a huge outlay in wages or transfers required. The struggle would be in strengthening that squad sufficiently to cope with the PL when they went back up.


  28. Right quick canvass. I’m gona do my last article for a few days. Do you want nother stats comparison such as Colback and Anita (back passes, key passes etc) or do you want a general random thread to move away from stats for a bit?


  29. Sham – I’d get rid of both Saylor & Colo & clear their wages, we could either buy or loan a replacement for them. I would probably sell De Jong and move Perez back there and keep Riviere, who I think would do just fine in the championship.
    You’re right though, that is a good squad to have if we were in the championship. Better than Hulls or Burnleys who are 1st & 2nd at the moment, having been relegated last season.


  30. Yes I’d be happy enough with that Sharpy – but not sure how easy it will be to shift Colo on this summer. He’s definitely declining and he will be on a good wedge. Who would match that? Saylor if he stays fit for the rest of the season may bring decent experience to the back line next season if Colo goes. He would not be on a big contract as his expires this summer so we can give him an incentivised deal or at least much lower wages for a year or so. However, if he gets crocked between now and the summer then its definitely time to wave goodbye.


  31. Sham – I’d pay Colo off if we have to and send him back to Argie. Saylor has spent a large part of the season on the treatment table for probably the last 5 seasons now, so I don’t see him contributing much personally, but I know what you mean. It would be 2 senior players down in a key position and leaves very little experience there.
    I think I just want to clear the decks and start afresh mate.


  32. I do reckon Dummett would step up just fine at CB mind. Him and Mbemba next season with Lascelles and one other as back up would be fine in the Championship. Know what you mean about losing both Colo and Saylor. Would not have a problem with that really.


  33. Sham – I think Dummett would do just fine as a no nonsense CB. I’d get rid of the other 2 and see if we could get someone like James Collins from WH, or I like Grant Hanley at Bburn as well. Boro have done well loaning people like Kalas from Chelsea & Bamford of course, so we should look to do that too. Maybe Blackett from Man Utd or Chambers from Arsenal.
    Obviously I hope we don’t need to do any of those things coz we’ll stay in the PL, but even if we do stay, we need to clear out.


  34. It would be a financial disaster for the club if we went down. If our wage bill is £80-£90m alone we would maybe shave a few few mill off by selling Gini and Janmaat plus letting the out of contracts go but if you offset that against the £60m we will lose it still leaves a huge gap to be filled. This is the reason I believe Ashley will cut his losses and go. The job would be huge to get us back up due to squad re balancing, board room reshuffles and the money needed to be spent. He wouldn’t get that back.


  35. Just seen a mega rich family from Jordan buy Bristol Rovers last week, there are still potential buyers out there and you have to wonder how many offers Jabba may of turned down over the years that we’ve never gotten to hear about.


  36. @sharpy

    Do you honestly believe we were seriously after Berahino? I reckon mike knew the offer was never gonna be accepted. He would of shat himself if they had of.

    So we go after a clutch of players, waving around 25mil and end up with a loanee.

    It’ll be interesting to see if we sign a forward worth 25mil in the next window


  37. If we go down I’d expect krul, Janmaat, Gini, mbemba, Anita, saviet, Sissoko to leave. Possibly Perez

    None of these players will hang around playing in the championship


  38. Relegation it is then lads.
    I remember last time having to sit on top of a step ladder with a radio held up further trying to get reception of Radio Newcastle for the Birmingham away game. Beer can in the other hand. Happy days?


  39. KIM if there is a buyer out there imo it will come from China they going footy mad out there throwing big sums of cash around at players


  40. seems to me we are all ready for the drop 🙁 does no one hold out even a smidgeon of hope?

    We aren’t down yet and might just surprise everyone, there’s always hope.


  41. If we go down I see us loosing Krul, Janmaat, Colo, Saylor, Tiote, Sissoko, Gini, Marv, Obertan, Gini, De Jong and Cisse.
    That would be at a rough guess around £33-34m in wages.
    Yes we would need to bring in some new players, but the money generated from the sales of these players would cover that. The new players would also be on lower wages than those being moved on.


  42. I’m still hopeful of staying up. Less so since we lost mbemba then Mitro and now Colo

    But we do have dummett returning, mbemba, Cisse and a fitter Doumbia

    Toon toon 😛


  43. That’s a bit better, Sharpy. Before it was just Gini and Janmaat.

    As for the Berahino bid. It has been proved in arbitration that the club under Ashley have done things just for ‘PR purposes’


  44. Stu – it was always as many as that. I only said Janmaat & Gini in response to someone saying we would loose Janmaat, Gini, Mbemba & Perez I think they said – well of those players I think it would only be those 2 leaving. However of all the squad, I think it will be those I listed, and those I haven’t I think will stay.

    I’m not having any of this PR bids nonsense though. PEA has came out and confirmed that we offered more than BD. That was a ‘PR stunt’ at the time too if I remember.


  45. Ryder says the club are going to “assess” MBemba this week. Sorry, but I have been conditioned to expect bad news whenever I see statements like that. I fully expect to see a headline of “MBemba out until April” in the next few days. I hope I am wrong as that leaves us – Taylor, 2 games this season, Lascelles, 1 and a bit? and Dummett no games at CB.

    I have said it before but Taylor has averaged 12 games a season since his last contract almost 5 years ago. That is too big of a risk and surely the money would be better spent elsewhere. Do players actually get individual incentivised contracts. With all the money sloshing around there will probably be other takers.


  46. Sharpy: I posted a link to an assessment of our accounts @226. The wage bill last year was 78 million and not many high earners left. We have seen 6 new players acquired so it is quite possible that the wage bill is now 100 million.

    With the likes of Taylor and Marveaux off the books and Cisse and Tiote sold we would see a bit of a reduction but there would have to be major sales to get the wages in line.

    I agree that we would lose Gini, Sissoko and Krul but I am not sure who else. Better we stay up 🙂


  47. Eric – 278 would be my assessment of the squad overhaul. With sensible recruitment & good loan deals I think that would be enough to get us back.


  48. Sharpy: I think we would stand a very good chance of bouncing straight back but it is a massive risk as the TV money if we stay up is probably in the region of 120 million. Our other sources of income last year were Commercial 26 mil and gates 26 million. It shows how important TV is now and the parachute payments cover very little of those lost millions.

    Things just go from bad to worse with Thauvin. Marseilles fans are heckling him now. How much will we get if he is in their reserves?


  49. Eric – just to be clear, I don’t want us to go down. I’m not putting this across as a positive by any means. But I’ve read that if we go down we won’t come back up or it would be the end of us – I don’t believe that. I think we could do it and still keep some of our best young players.

    But I would much rather we stayed up.


  50. Sharpy: I understand that you want us to stay up and we would probably have a good enough squad to challenge. But would we have the same manager? If we stick with Steve and still go down it is very likely that Charnley would keep him, unless of course Charnley was sacked.


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