The centre-back has only featured twice in Newcastle United colours since that fateful evening in September.
When Rafael Benitez decided to extend his stay on Tyneside despite Newcastle United’s relegation from the Premier League last season, sweeping changes were expected throughout the squad.
And the Spaniard has not disappointed, clearing out the deadwood without a second thought. But while the sudden departures of Emmanuel Riviere and Henri Saivet took precisely nobody by surprise, you would have got long odds on Benitez dropping Chancel Mbemba from first-team contention, as reported by The Chronicle.
The Congolese centre-back was perhaps Newcastle’s most consistent player last season, the calm alongside the uncontrollable storm that was Fabricio Coloccini.
Yet this season he has slipped to fourth choice in the pecking order, behind Jamaal Lascelles, Ciaran Clark and even the seldom-seen Grant Hanley (below).
In fact, Mbemba has only featured once in the Championship since a 2-0 home defeat to Wolves in September. And according to The Chronicle that dismal performance was a turning point in the 22-year-old’s Newcastle career.
Bullied all evening by the pace of Helder Costa and the power of Jon Dadi Bodvarsson, Mbemba’s error-strewn performance hit a new low when he headed into his own net just as the Magpies were beginning to wrestle a modicum of control off the spirited visitors.
The Chronicle reports that Benitez felt Mbemba had ignored his pre-match instructions while questions have been asked of his application and attitude.
The defender may remain a favourite among the fans but, having lost Benitez’s trust, Mbemba’s career on Tyneside looks to be on hold.
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