Cabaye Still Calling Le Toon...

Newcastle's new breed of Gallic warriors made an big impact on Tuesday, but WhoScored.com's Martin Laurence says Yohan Cabaye remains l'homme principal...

Last Updated: 30/01/13 at 12:57 Post Comment

Latest Articles

Football Managers On TV: Louis Van Gaal

Post comment

He often seems to be talking interviewers through things as if tutoring a not-very-loved, rather slow child, which means that patience will wear thin if things don't improve...

Comparing Three Man United Sides...

14 comments

We asked WhoScored to analyse Man United under Louis van Gaal, David Moyes and Sir Alex Ferguson. Now they have more possession and more long balls...

All Articles

Yohan Cabaye: 'L'homme principal

Yohan Cabaye: 'L'homme principal

Newcastle's French revolution was strengthened on Tuesday night after three new Ligue 1 signings made debuts for the club in the vital 2-1 Premier League win over Aston Villa at Villa Park.

The victory was their first away from home in all competitions this season, spanning over 17 matches, and put distance between themselves and the chasing pack.

Indeed, the main difference between Newcastle and the other sides at the bottom in this transfer window seems to be the Magpies' readiness to invest and ability to attract a certain quality of player.

The fact that the club already had five Frenchmen on their books prior to this window will certainly have helped assure the new signings of their ability to settle in at St James' Park. But the relative ease with which the likes of Moussa Sissoko, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa and Yoan Gouffran were snapped up is somewhat mysterious.

In bringing first-choice France right-back Mathieu Debuchy to the club, another who never looked like going anywhere other than the north-east, and also hot prospect full-back Massadio Haidara, Newcastle now have a far stronger squad than those below them.

The Magpies' scouting network across the channel has been lauded for identifying such talents, but these players are well-renowned on the continent. Yanga-Mbiwa is now a regular in the France squad and is tipped by many in his homeland to become one of the nation's first-choice centre-backs. He's only 23 but captained Montpellier to a shock title last season. Since August 2009 - when Yanga-Mbiwa was just 20 years old - only Daniel Congre has played more minutes of Ligue 1 football than him (not counting goalkeepers). Hardly a player slipping under the radar.

Though he didn't start at Villa Park on Tuesday night, the defender is likely to partner Fabricio Coloccini once he adjusts to the English game. A look at the match centre from the Aston Villa-Newcastle game on WhoScored shows he managed to complete a tackle, an interception and two clearances in just ten minutes of playing time on his debut, and with averages of 2.1, 2.8 and 7.8 for the same stats respectively in Ligue 1 this season, he will be a real asset.

One man that has already made his mark on the fans, and certainly manager Alan Pardew, is Sissoko. His new manager claimed that had he not been playing on Tuesday night, Newcastle wouldn't have won the game. His inch-perfect slide rule pass was the key to breaking the deadlock and earned him an assist in the black and white of Newcastle after just 19 minutes. Although he set up another chance on the night, his chance creation isn't something that the fans should expect on a particularly regular basis.

Prior to Tuesday, the central midfielder had made just one assist in his previous 39 games for Toulouse. The 23-year-old did impress on his debut, though he probably won't play a more favourable central midfield partnership than Ashley Westwood and Barry Bannan in terms of physical presence, and is a player who needs to make that next step.

Tipped for big things as a youngster, Sissoko's progression over the last two seasons has been a little disappointing. With average statistics across the board in Ligue 1 this season, including one shot, 1.2 key passes and 1.6 tackles per game, Newcastle will hope to see more of the same from Tuesday night's performance in a potentially advanced role in the Premier League.

The third and final player to make their debut in midweek, drafted into the line-up due to a late injury to compatriot Sylvain Marveaux, was former Bordeaux hitman Gouffran, and though the forward may have built up less of a name for himself abroad, at well under £1million it seems wages would be the only issue to perturb interest from elsewhere.

In terms of goalscorers in Ligue 1, only two have netted more since the beginning of last season than Gouffran's 22 (Bafetimbi Gomis with 25 and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang with 24). Clearly, again, the 26-year-old is far from an unknown entity and though he had just one shot on his debut, he will hope to come into competition for the central striker role, having moved there from the wing in recent seasons for his former club.

While all of Newcastle's newcomers made solid starts, it was another Frenchman who proved to be the match-winner, and if any of the January recruits can contribute half of what Yohan Cabaye has produced since joining the club last summer, they will win over the fans with ease. The former Lille man was another absolute bargain, having arguably been the French outfit's strongest player outside of Eden Hazard in their title-winning 2010/11 campaign.

His control and volley for Newcastle's second at Villa summed up his ability and technique, and marked his eighth Premier League goal in the shirt. With five of said strikes coming from outside the box, no player has netted more from range than the midfielder since he made the move to England, and while many counterparts have since joined him from Ligue 1, Cabaye remains l'homme principal at St. James' Park.

All stats courtesy of WhoScored.com. Follow Martin Laurence on Twitter at @martinlaurence7.

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

W

e were a steaming pile of recently released dogs dinner.

popularpete,
Wenger: We refused to lose

I

m sure I'll be one of about 100 but the Monday's third allbum was actually Pill, Thrills n Bellyache. Brendan would kill for quality like that right now.

u man
Brendan Rodgers: Radiohead Or The Happy Mondays

I

heard them all talking on Sky last night about how Liverpool could not find a decent striker to buy and ended up panicking and buying Balotelli at the last minute. They all forgot Liverpool found Loic Remy and for some unfathomable reason rejected him at the last minute due to some mysterious medical issue. Liverpool's loss is Chelsea's gain.

Glenbrook
Carragher: Balo off next season

Latest Photos

Footer 365

Jamie Carragher would be surprised to see Mario Balotelli at Liverpool next season

Jamie Carragher does not believe 'panic' buy Mario Balotelli will remain at Liverpool next season.

Carragher: Balotelli will leave Liverpool next season

Jamie Carragher does not believe Mario Balotelli will remain with the club next season.

Champions League: Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers rues defensive mistakes in Real Madrid defeat

Brendan Rodgers says he could have asked for no more from his side after seeing them taken apart by Real Madrid.

Mail Box

Oh Mario - Why Always Meh?

Come on in and play the Liverpool blame game. Is it the fault of Rodgers, Balotelli, Mignolet, Johnson, Markovic or Lovren? Plus, Arsenal fans annoyed in victory...

Do Man City Have A 'Small Mentality'?

That's one claim in the mailbox after Vincent Kompany focused on a few hundred CSKA fans sneaking into the ground instead of City blowing a two-goal lead...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property