The Secret Of Debuchy’s Bounce Back To Form
When Newcastle signed the five French players in January, there was maybe most expected of Mathieu Debuchy.
Rumours of his imminent arrival having started over a year ago with Yohan Cabaye strongly hinting that his bets mate was on his way to St.James’ Park.
The popular belief amongst was that this French international full-back would help take that position up to a whole new level, replacing the more workmanlike Danny Simpson and to a lesser extent, James Perch.
Debuchy’s form was average at the very best in the second half of last season and in the opening matches of this season he was looking like the number one scapegoat when things went wrong.
As games have gone by though we have seen more of the player we thought we were buying and he followed up his derby goal with possibly his best performance so far against Chelsea’s superstars.
What’s behind the transformation?
Well, I think you would have to accept that needing time to settle is an important factor but to me there is something much more deserving of close attention.
I think what the French full-back is doing now is playing more like he did for Lille when they won Ligue 1 and what got him established in the French squad.
This season Debuchy has been getting ‘right up them’, if you pardon the expression.
He is at his best when he is pressing up the pitch and instantly denying his opponent space, preferably stopping them being able to turn and face him.
There are statistics to back this up.
The style Debuchy employs means that to be successful and get his foot in quickly he is sure to pick up bookings, in fact the total opposite of Santon who when at his best will always back himself to match the pace of any opponent.
Last season Debuchy picked up four bookings at Lille and then only another three at Newcastle after he arrived in January.
Seven bookings in a season isn’t insignificant but when you consider his previous two seasons when Lille won the French league and competed in the Champions League, you see a ‘bit’ of a difference.
In both 2010/11 and 2011/12, Debuchy picked up 13 (thirteen!) bookings in each of those seasons. He was getting the attention of referees but the overall effect was a massive positive for his club as his all guns blazing style helped nullify the opposition and set up countless breaks and dangerous situations.
This season for Newcastle, Mathieu Debuchy already has four yellow cards and we haven’t even seen fireworks (night).
I predict two things for the Frenchman;
Firstly, he is going to be banned this season, how many times is the only question?
Secondly, if he keeps this form going he is going to be a firm favourite with the fans.
With Mathieu Debuchy it is clearly a case of all or nothing.
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