Player of Week 7: Stephane Mbia

Stephane Mbia is a powerful defensive midfielder who likes to attack and, with another two goals to his name at the weekend, he not only epitomises the energy and offensive intent of Unai Emery’s Sevilla side but also typifies the modern defensive player who loves to get forward into goalscoring positions whenever possible. Added to all of that, he is extremely popular at Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, where the Sevilla fans love him.

The 28-year-old grabbed a brace against Deportivo La Coruna on Sunday, earning an impressive 35 points as Emery’s men got back to winning ways following their 4-0 spanking at Atletico Madrid. The Cameroon international headed Sevilla in front from Gerard Deulofeu’s corner and fired high into the back of the net for his side’s third in the game and his own third in La Liga this term, having also been on target in a 3-1 win at Cordoba last month.

Mbia had already been his side’s hero in midweek, grabbing a stoppage-time equaliser in Croatia against Rijeka. Having previously opened his Europa League account against Feyenoord, the former Queens Park Rangers man has been on target five times in just six starts for the Andalusians, equalling his goals tally for the whole of last season when Mbia made 30 appearances for Sevilla on loan from the West London club.

Mbia’s late show against Rijeka was not his first in the Europa League and Sevilla fans have come to expect him to be the one to pull their team out of a crisis. In last year’s competition, which Sevilla went on to win, Mbia scored as his side won their semi-final first leg against Valencia, but they were on their way out in the second leg until he popped up in the fourth minute of added time to take Emery’s men into the final on away goals.

Beginning his career with Rennes, Mbia made his name in French football with Marseille, playing a leading role in their title-winning 2009-10 campaign. He showed his versatility under the guidance of Didier Deschamps by beginning the season in his customary defensive midfield role before making the transition to centre-back alongside Souleymane Diawara, with whom he formed a formidable defensive partnership.

Having expressed a desire to play in the Champions League, Mbia had been tipped to return to the Premier League this season after his successful loan at Sevilla and having succeeded Samuel Eto’o as captain of his country at the World Cup in Brazil. His return to Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan was therefore something of a surprise, but nothing about his form this season indicates that he made the wrong choice.

Prove yourself as an outstanding football manager by building a unique La Liga fantasy football team for free & challenging your friends at