Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa set for his first start in the Premier League?

The injury to Fabriccio Coloccini seems almost certain to keep him out Newcastle United's match with Swansea City, with the talented Frenchman ready to step into the defence in his place.

Losing a defender of Fabriccio Coloccini's class at this stage of the season is always a setback for a side, especially since Newcastle are still nominally fighting to avoid relegation. However the Argentine's absence will not be as damaging to the side as it was earlier in the season, as Newcastle have one of the best young defenders in Europe ready to step into the back line.

In the long run, it is likely that Yanga-Mbiwa would end up settled in the heart of Newcastle's defence anyway. The 23 year old has already proven himself capable of impressing at any level, captaining Montpellier in their Champions League campaign this season after helping them claim an unlikely Ligue 1 title last year. The defender has also been capped by France three times, and the smart money suggests he will be a regular in the national team for the next decade.

Clearly this is a player with enormous class, and plenty of neutrals around the country will be keen to see him start his first Premier League match this weekend. Coloccini has still not been completely ruled out of the match, but it would be unwise to risk him when Newcaslte have such an able player on the bench.

Facing Swansea will give him an interesting introduction to the league, and if he were to start and keep his game for the next match, he would then line up against Stoke.

There are perhaps no two teams with a more different approach to the game in the Premier League, and it would be a fine way for Yanga-Mbiwa to announce himself to the division if he were to impress against both the intricate passing game of Swansea and the robust physical challenge posed by Stoke.

Given the ability he has already shown in his career, Yanga-Mbiwa is more than ready to face up to both these tests, and many more to come for Newcastle United.

image: © machernucha

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