Sunderland have made it a routine to fiddle with the possibility of relegation before escaping by the skin of their teeth and this season seems no different. The Tyne-side club currently occupy the 19th spot, 2 points away from safety with more than 1/3rd of the season behind them. While, there might not be too many positives to take away from the club’s performances, we have been intrigued by the stellar performances of their recent recruit Yann M’Vila who is on a loan from Rubin Kazan. The former Rennes and Inter midfielder was extensively linked with the likes of Arsenal and Liverpool before moving to Sunderland to ensure regular playing time and resultant growth.
The 25 year old, who primarily operates as a Defensive midfielder has adapted rather quickly to the game in a tougher league. He is believed to be in the same mould as legendary French midfielders Claude Makelele and Patrick Viera by coaches and players alike who cite his work rate, technical ability and vision in the game. Ever since moving to Stadium of light, M’Vila has been a notch ahead of everyone else in the side. He has put in tireless performances in an often faltering midfield, lending some bit of relief to the Black Cats’ faithful.
M’Vila has featured on 17 occasions for the black cats this season, often being deployed as a Central Midfielder and functioning as the engine of this side. He has always been hailed for his passing ability and vision, and it comes as no surprise that he has shown a tidy set of feet averaging a passing accuracy of 85%. He has been fairly tidy with his possession as well as his positioning thwarting the opposition’s efforts.
He has come under criticism for not being combative in the middle of the park in the past. His stats at Sunderland defy these claims as he has averaged a successful tackle every 43 minutes (Tackling accuracy-46%) and has won more headed duels (65%) than he has lost. Apart from his frequency and efficiency in tackles, he has often been seen breaking the opposition’s moves with harmless fouls and interceptions.
The midfielder’s attacking numbers are much more impressive than his defensive stats over the course of the current season. He is currently Sunderland’s most creative player, creating a chance every 60 minutes, 9 more than the next most creative player in the side, Adam Johnson. His only goal of the campaign came against Aston Villa in August. However, he has shown a tendency to leave the opposition guessing his next move often mixing it up with shots from distance.
Yann M’Vila is a package that fits the bill of what many top teams in the league lack, a player with a bit of bite and loads of skill and technical abilities. His work rate cannot be questioned and with the presence of better players around him, he could potentially put in better performances. The only trouble the French midfielder might have will be from himself, having various controversies surround him since making his time at Rennes.
The best piece of business Sunderland have done in recent times is adding the option to sign him at the current season, when he runs out of his Rubin Kazan contract. Will it be possible for the likes of Liverpool, keen on adding some firepower to their midfield? Looks very bleak but can’t be ruled out.