Special Mention: Younes Kaboul vs. Leicester

Many professionals have had to take a step down in their chosen career. Sometimes you have to go back to go forward. There’s no shame in that.

After the media dredged up a strange comment about earthquakes the Younes Kaboul moved from Tottenham to Sunderland for four million pounds sterling. If this fact by itself wasn’t pleasing enough, our hero had the ‘perfect’ debut.

Substitute 'we' for 'I' and you get the idea (via BBC Sport)
Substitute ‘we’ for ‘I’ and you get the idea (via BBC Sport)

There is something particularly pleasing about a player finding his level. Younes Kaboul is not a Champions League quality footballer. However, Younes Kaboul is perfectly suited to the role of Mackem tragicomic defender.

The position has a proud history, from the original archetype Titus Bramble, through to the last season’s attempts by standard-issue defenders Wes Brown and John O’Shea.

Judging from the 95 minutes against Leicester on Saturday, Kaboul and forgettable Liverpool cast-off Sebastian Coates have the potential to be the best yet.

It had everything (even without own goal perfectionist Santiago Vergini on show).

Chaos (via StatsZone)
Chaos (via StatsZone)

Stats are useful, but of course they don’t tell the whole story. StatsZone’s pass maps don’t show scuffed clearances, hapless falling over or a perverse penchant for playing everyone onside, which is just as well – they couldn’t do them justice.

It was poetry in motion: a lump of a defender equipped with strangely feminine eyes floundering and flapping inside the 18-yard box. Alan Hansen’s negative adjective collection would have struggled.

Jamie Vardy and Marc Albrighton were made to look like Diego Maradona and Johan Cruyff.

Poor old Younes is not popular on Fantasy Football
Poor old Younes is not popular on Fantasy Football

The first game of the season is all about excitement, generally followed soon after by crushing realism.

Sunderland fans might not be too excited after shipping four to Leicester, but I can’t wait to see how Kaboul and co can top this.

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