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Forward Thinking

With the launch of the new kit and squad numbers today there is some hope amongst the Notts faithful that both Ruben Rodrigues and Cal Roberts might still be Notts players when the new season kicks off in 5 weeks time.

I thought therefore it might be interesting to look at the firepower Luke Williams has in his squad as it stands and compare the playing styles, strengths and possible areas for further development of the Magpies forward players.

In total we I have assessed 6 players:

  • Ruben Rodrigues

  • Cal Roberts

  • Macaulay Langstaff

  • Cedwyn Scott

  • Kairo Mitchell

  • Aaron Nemane

Of course there are other players in the squad that offer attacking threat, in particular Sam Austin and Frank Vincent but also wing backs Joel Taylor and Tobi Adebayo-Rowling, but I wanted to compare just those players that would be seen as out and out attacking players.

Additional there is no data as yet for youngster Luther Munakandafa so is not included in the analysis.

I have used data from Wyscout for league matches played last season only. It's worth noting that Mitchell and Nemane only just cleared circa 1,000 minutes playing time last season so all data is per 90 mins.

We should also consider that Langstaff and Scott were playing at a lower level and all players data can be skewed a little by tactics and role being asked to play.

However, I have used metrics that identify each players style of play based on the number of actions per 90 minutes. It should also be noted that the final calculations reflect the players actions in comparison to their peers in the league they competed in.

For example players whose greatest actions involve dribbling and crosses are likely to be wide attacking forwards. Players who have a lot of shots will be high lying forwards and those that have higher offensive duels, recoveries and passing actions are more likely to be slightly deeper lying forwards.

So let's have a look at how the data stacks up. The radar charts below are fully interactive. You can filter players in or out by selecting their name in the legend, equally you can combine and separate the charts. For example if you want to combine the charts for Rodrigues and Langstaff remove all the other players by clicking on their name in the legend and then select combine.

Offensive Style of Play by Player | Season 2021/22

What appears to be evident from the findings above is that both Rodrigues and Roberts were very busy in the games they played in, hence the larger area covered in the charts. Mitchell less so.

Rodrigues looks to have been very combative in his #10 role scoring highly when it comes to offensive duels, recoveries and interceptions, mind you he had his fair share of ball losses as well which might have been a contributing factor.

Roberts showing as expected that his strengths were in his wing play, scoring highly for dribbles and crosses but again was not found wanting in the defensive duels department highlighting his determination to drop deep and cover when requested.

Langstaff offers something different, scoring highly in shots as you would expect but also crossing which indicates his ability not just as a central striker but also for wing play when it's needed.

Mitchell aside, the one thing that is common throughout the Notts players from last season are the passing scores with little to separate Rodrigues, Roberts and Nemane. We have to assume this is a by-product of the style of play we saw from Ian Burchnall throughout the season.

Nemane has the strangest looking radar of the lot, scoring highly in all areas except shots and surprisingly had average stats for crosses. Again, it's worth noting that he had games last season where he was being asked to play more as a wing back which would reduce his crossing opportunities if often having to track back. It would be good to see what he could do as an out and out winger which is something we saw glimpses off at the back end of last season.

If we compare the playing styles of last season's Notts players to Langstaff and Scott we can see that their approach under Mike Williamson was certainly more direct and this can only be a good thing looking ahead as it will provide a dynamic Notts have arguably been missing in recent times.

Looking ahead you would hope that if given the minutes Mitchell might improve his overall involvement, but having barely averaged 25 minutes per appearance under Burchnall it's probably a little unfair to judge unless he is allowed more game time. Given the departure of both Wootton and Sam we might find his opportunities as the only 6ft plus striker at the club might improve?

Overall there's enough diversity in the playing styles of the new Notts attack that Williams will have options off the bench that should help change things up and impact games when necessary. Whether he will still have the likes of Rodrigues and Roberts at his disposal come August 6th is yet to be seen, but if he does he will certainly have a considerable amount of fire power in his arsenal.

As always, thanks for reading. If you have any questions please don't hesitate to get in touch!



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