Chancel Mbemba had a baptism of fire, arriving as a 20 year old from the weak Belgian league, he was expected to single-handedly sort a number of years of shocking defending at Newcastle United.

Playing with the likes of Fabricio Coloccini and Steven Taylor it was a thankless task but week after week he proved to be one of United’s top performers.

The supporters knew Chancel Mbemba was doing a great job against the odds but only when paired with Jamaal Lascelles, did we then see a partnership that could well be the making of both Newcastle’s defence and team overall.

Once Rafa sorted his team, in the final six matches Newcastle kept clean sheets in three of them and only conceded more than one goal on a single occasion.

With this past season behind him of Premier League experience, Chancel Mbemba is set to be a real rock for Newcastle in the Championship.

The other day we published the stats (see HERE) for Premier League players who had made the most interceptions last season and the DR Congo international was in the top half dozen.

He has repeated the trick here below in the top 10 PL players who made the most clearances last season.

Chancel Mbemba – easily the best signing Newcastle made last summer and if only another similar quality centre-back and left-back had been brought in, Newcastle would never have been in relegation trouble.

The only negative is that Mbemba is set to miss up to six weeks in the middle of next season, as DR Congo are on the verge of qualifying for the finals of the African Cup of Nations.

Most clearances in the Premier League 2015/16 as compiled by the Express:

318 Ashley Williams

306 Steve Cook

294 Toby Alderweireld

265 Virgil van Dijk

263 Robert Huth

262 Sebastian Bassong

236 Chancel Mbemba

234 Jose Fonte

224 Ramiro Funes Mori

222 Wes Morgan

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