Looking for positives this season at St James Park has taken some considerable effort but Chancel Mbemba has been one of those.
Steve McClaren has stated that the former Anderlecht defender has taken to the Premier League like a ‘duck to water’.
After six Premier League games, Mbemba is ranked fifth in the whole division when it comes to making tackles and interceptions.
These stats simply confirm what we have seen with our own eyes.
As the likes of Massadio Haidara and Fabricio Coloccini continue to struggle and look so suspect, the DR Congo star, who was only 20 when he signed, has shown maturity and calm beyond his years.
Even Daryl Janmaat has struggled in his defensive duties this season, though recent matches he has looked more like his old self, particularly when getting forward.
So who are the four rated higher than the United central defender?
Maybe surprisingly, Yohan Cabaye is at the very top.
He is being used in a more withdrawn role at Palace, which sometimes happened at Newcastle, when occasionally Cheick Tiote would be playing higher up the pitch than the Frenchman.
Cabaye always did like to put his foot in, plus of course he was always very perceptive with his interceptions.
Due to Mike Ashley’s ridiculous transfer strategy it was never going to happen, but I wouldn’t have minded seeing Yohan Cabaye sitting in front of Chancel Mbemba and the rest of the Newcastle back four.
The Premier League players with most tackles & interceptions so far:
54 Yohan Cabaye (Crystal Palace)
53 Jordan Amavi (Aston Villa)
41 Simon Francis (Bournemouth)
41 Etienne Capoue (Watford)
40 Chancel Mbemba ( Newcastle United)