Matteo Guendouzi is nearing a return to the English Premier League. The 23-year-old was a former Arsenal player but was unable to make much of an impact in the North London club. He played two seasons for the Gunners before being loaned out for two seasons. His last was on loan at Marseille and this season the move was made permanent to the Ligue 1 side. The French international has shown massive improvement in his gameplay and that earned him a call for the FIFA World Cup 2022. These performances have raised the interest of a few English Premier League sides. Unai Emery, who is currently managing Aston Villa was the first one to show his interest in the player. Guendouzi had already played under Emery at Arsenal and knew a bit about the manager. Now, West Ham United have also entered the race for the midfielder. Matteo Guendouzi has impressed many in his last two seasons at Marseille. We now look at some of the stats of the player that show why the Premier League are interested in signing the youngster.
Matteo Guendouzi has cemented a regular place in Marseille’s starting 11. He plays as an attacking midfielder for the French side and has 18 appearances for them this season. The 23-year-old has found the back of the net once and has three assists to his name. The above viz shows the percentile rank of the player in comparison to other attacking midfielders in Ligue 1. It can be observed that Guendouzi has not contributed much to the attack, but his ability to retain and pass the ball has been excellent. He is one of the best midfielders in Ligue 1 when it comes to passing the ball. The defensive stats show that Guendouzi is good in the air and has won a few aerial duels this season.
Last season, he was on loan at Marseille, and his performances caught the eye of the management. The 23-year-old made 38 appearances for his side and managed to score four goals along with six assists. The above pizza chart shows that Guendouzi had much more impressive stats in the attack as well as in the possession department. However, he played more as a right-central midfielder for Marseille last season. The player had very low defensive contributions last season, but this season he has improved a lot in his defensive stats.
Consistency in the last two seasons
The 23-year-old Frenchman has played a lot on the right side for Marseille this season. He has led the attack from that side on occasions and has made some important goal-scoring contributions. Guendouzi averages 47.94 passes per 90 minutes this season and has an 89.5% accuracy rate. These include 6.86 passes to the final third with a 79.2% accuracy rate and 2.01 passes to the opposition penalty box with a 77.4% accuracy rate. The progressive passes in the above viz. show that most of them have been attempted from the right side.
Last season, he commanded the ball more and averaged 55.38 passes per 90 minutes with an 88.4% accuracy rate. These included 7.96 passes to the final third (82.8% accuracy) and 2.65 passes to the penalty box (56.6% accuracy). Now he has taken a more attacking role and this is the reason why the stats have shown a bit of a decline. His position last season was a right-centre midfielder. His progressive passes in the last season were attempted from central areas, but once again from the favoured right side.
The Frenchman’s ability to pass the ball has contributed well to his nine assists in a Marseille shirt. The above viz shows the shot assists delivered by the midfielder combined in the 2021/22 and 2022/23 seasons. It can be observed that most of the passes are directed into the penalty box, while the others have been a few cutbacks that the player has made when he is inside the opposition penalty box. Last season he averaged 0.7 shot assists per 90, and this season the average has slightly gone up to 0.78.
More contributions to the attack
Another area where the midfielder can also contribute is in his ability to score goals. The 23-year-old has found the back of the net six times combined for Marseille. This season he has only scored one goal, and last season he had five goals to his name. The player averages 1.1 shots per 90 minutes in the 2022–23 season and has an accuracy rate of 23.5%. Last season, the average number of shots per 90 minutes was 1.29, and the accuracy rate was 39.6%. The xG map above shows that Guendouzi has taken half of his shots from inside the penalty box and half of them from outside. The shots from inside the box have been very accurate in comparison to the long-range efforts. He can get into some crucial goal-scoring positions at times and find the back of the net.
Another way in which Matteo Guendouzi can contribute is by recovering the ball in the attacking half. The 23-year-old has an average of 6.28 recoveries per 90 minutes in the 2022–23 season. He has made 55.7% of these recoveries in the attacking half. There is a massive improvement from last season, as he averaged 4.72 recoveries per 90 minutes and 51.7% were made in the attacking half. Looking at the two visuals above, it can be observed that in the 2021–22 season, he was more effective because he played a high line. This allowed Guendouzi to make more high regains and dangerous recoveries.
Massive improvement in the defensive traits
Matteo Guendouzi has shown signs of improvement in his defensive qualities. He has started to contest more duels and has a better win percentage than last season. In the 2021/22 season, he contested 4.88 defensive duels and 1.56 aerial duels per 90 minutes. He won 57.7% of his defensive duels and 36.2% of his aerial duels. This season, he contested 5.18 defensive duels and 2.65 aerial duels. The win percentage is 56.3% for defensive duels and 41.5% for aerial duels. He has committed a few fouls this season, but mostly in safer areas.
Two seasons as a Gunner
Matteo Guendouzi spent the 2018–19 and 2019–20 seasons at Arsenal. He accumulated a total of 57 total appearances during his time as a Gunner and only provided a single assist. The 23-year-old was signed from Lorient and was only 19 at that time. He played as a central midfielder as well as a defensive midfielder. Arsenal were also struggling a bit at that time, and the player also failed to make much of an impact. The defensive territory above shows that Guendouzi covered a lot of ground and was involved in a few defensive actions in both halves. He won 59.3% of his defensive duels and 41.9% of his aerial duels. Along with this, the player made 4.3 interceptions and recovered the ball 8.35 times per 90 minutes.
The player has matured since his two-year spell at Arsenal and takes more control of the midfield.
Matteo Guendouzi’s signing is unlikely to make much of an impact on the 1×2 odds bets. He is not a regular goal-scorer and is yet to make his mark in the English Premier League.
Aston Villa and West Ham United will look to sign the young Frenchman before the deadline ends. He has shown massive improvements in his game and will look to impress the Premier League after struggling in his first two seasons. Marseille won’t let him leave easily, as they also plan to finish in the top four in Ligue 1, and Guendouzi will be one of the crucial players in their quest for Champions League football next season.
Visuals via TFA data viz engine