Patrick Vieira’s appointment as Crystal Palace’s manager has brought a lot of confidence to the team. They are now a mid-table side in the English Premier League and have registered some famous victories against the top clubs at Selhurst Park. The players have started to give their best, and the team sits 12th in the league table. After a decent start to the first half of the season, the manager decided to bring in a few fresh faces to bolster the Eagles’ midfield. One of the players who was brought in during the recently concluded transfer window is young French midfielder Naouirou Ahamada. The Frenchman represented the German club VfB Stuttgart, and his performances have earned him a move to the EPL. We now look at some of the stats from the current season that show why the Eagles spent £9.7 million on the 20-year-old.
The first full season as a regular in Bundesliga
After making nine appearances in the first two seasons in the Bundesliga, Ahamada got more opportunities on the field in the current season. The 20-year-old managed to make 17 appearances in the current season and went on to score two goals. He also provided two assists in as many games. The heatmap above shows that the player featured on the left side of the midfield for Stuttgart. The pizza chart above shows the percentile rank of the midfielder in comparison to other left-sided central midfielders in the league. Ahamada is ranked decently and is close to average in most of the stats mentioned. He is ranked a bit high for attempting dribbles and passing accuracy.
Ball playing ability
One of the areas where the 20-year-old has shown signs of maturity is in his ability to pass the ball. His stats in this department have been decent, and this is one of the primary reasons why Vieira thought about signing the player. In the Bundesliga, Ahamada averaged 32.8 passes per 90 minutes and had an accuracy rate of 87.8%. These passes included 3.89 to the final third (82.3% accuracy) and 0.49 to the opposition penalty box (80% accuracy) per 90 minutes. The pass map above shows that most of the passes were sideways and his accuracy rate indicates that the player is calm and composed before delivering any pass. Naouirou Ahamada provided two assists for Stuttgart this season.
Naouirou Ahamada is not only good at passing the ball, but the player also possesses the ability to carry the ball forward to help his side progress in the attacking areas. With most of the runs coming from the left side, the player averages 2.66 progressive runs per 90 minutes. He has the ability to dribble past opponents and has done this quite a few times this campaign. The 20-year-old attempted 3.89 dribbles and succeeded 53.2% of the time. Some of the successful dribbles were attempted in the attacking third.
Adding a goal-scoring touch
With two goals already to his name this season, Ahamada could prove to be a secret weapon for Patrick Vieira’s side. He scored two goals for Stuttgart this season. The player averaged nearly one shot per 90 minutes and had a low accuracy rate of 31.6%. The above viz shows that Ahamada likes to take his shot from the edge of the penalty box. He mostly targets the right side of the goalkeeper.
Room for improvement
One of the areas where the youngster showed a bit of vulnerability was in his ability to perform defensive duties well. The 20-year-old committed some silly fouls, especially in the defensive half, including a penalty. He contests 4.78 defensive duels and 1.72 aerial duels per 90 minutes. The win percentage for defensive duels was 53.6%, while for aerial duels it was 17.1%. The interception rate is also a bit low at 2.56 per 90 minutes. This is the area where Patrick Vieira will look to focus and hope that the player gets accustomed to the Premier League environment.
Can he find a space in the starting 11?
Crystal Palace will hope that their new signing gets adjusted to the pace of the English Premier League in the remainder of the season. He will slot into the midfield on the left side. Jeffrey Schlupp has played in that position recently for the Eagles. The above radar shows that he has an edge over the youngster when it comes to defending the goal. In other areas, he tends to struggle, especially with progressive passes and passing accuracy. Ahamada is unlikely to make it straight into the starting lineup. He will have to impress the manager and earn his opportunities in a Crystal Palace shirt.
Naouirou Ahamada is unlikely to have much of an impact on the 1×2 odds for Crystal Palace. He is not a regular goal scorer and is not guaranteed a regular place in the starting lineup either. As for the over/under lines, the odds are likely to change at the moment. However, there are chances that the odds for Palace might increase if Ahamada replaces a regular member in the starting 11.
Crystal Palace signed two young French midfielders on deadline day. One of them was on a loan deal, while the other one is Ahamada on a permanent deal. Partick Vieira has boosted his midfield with young talent and will hope that they adjust quickly to the team. Ahamada is still young and at a developmental stage. He will look to pounce on any opportunity and impress the manager.
Visuals via TFA data viz engine