Getting Nemane Right
So far this season we’ve seen Aaron Nemane deployed in an unfamiliar wing back role, and whilst he hasn’t quite taken to the role like a duck to water, he has adapted a lot quicker than many would have anticipated.
Of course there are still teething problems; Nemane at times looks very much a winger playing at wing back, with the defensive side of his game still a little suspect. Playing him in this role does however allow Nemane to offer his rather unique skill set; pace, in abundance, and that rare ability to actually take a man on.
We saw Jayden Richardson get down the byline with his pace from that position last season, and in many ways Nemane has been able to replicate this. But how does the Frenchman compare to the former Forest loanee? And how has his game adapted from last season?
Here we cast an analytical eye over Nemane’s transition, and consider how both stylistically and statistically different Nemane is as the right wing back.
The main element of Nemane’s game is receiving the ball on the right hand side, and then looking to take his man on down the byline. Last season he recorded 7.77 1v1 dribbles per 90, the 8th highest in the National League, underlining what a key facet of his game this is.
However, in his new role Nemane has less opportunity and freedom to attempt a take on, as unlike last season where he would have someone behind him at all times, he now has the extra responsibility of protecting the ball, as losing it from RWB could lead to counter attacks.
As a result, Nemane now records 5.39 1v1 dribbles per 90. It’s still a large number, ranking him 25th in the league, but already we can see how his defensive duties impact on his attacking licence.
However, when you compare it to our previous wing back, Jayden Richardson, it makes for interesting reading; Richardson only recorded 4.18 1v1 dribbles from the same position. Of course the change in manager may play a role in this, but I think it speaks volumes about Nemane’s ability to beat a man in a 1 on 1 situation. Luke Williams spoke about the Frenchman having more confidence in the final third, but the stats seem to suggest he is already doing more on the ball than his predecessor.
But how does he compare to other wing backs? Nemane actually ranks incredibly highly in terms of dribbling when it comes to wing backs. In fact, only Dennon Lewis, Myles Weston, Niall McManus and Harry Forster have more 1v1 dribbles per 90 of those who could be considered wing backs, showing just how much of a success Nemane has been down the right hand side for Notts so far.
Whilst his dribbles have decreased, his attacking output has actually increased in other areas.
Nemane crossed 1.96 times per 90 last season and took 0.98 shots per 90, but this season this has risen to 5.6 crosses per 90 and 1.24 shots per 90. The fact that his crosses have increased isn’t so surprising, as Notts’ wing backs provide the main width in the side, but the fact this has increased by over 100% is a little shocking.
Even more surprising is that Nemane actually gets more shots away when he plays in his wing back role than when he was more advanced last season. We saw Nemane crash a shot off the bar against Dagenham, and it’s a testament to the effectiveness of Luke Williams’ system that the wing backs get as much action as they do. We’ve seen Adam Chicksen add goals to his game, and with his increased attacking output it can be only a matter of time before Nemane also adds goals to his game.
Nemane is also a stats leader when it comes to crosses per 90 in terms of other wing backs; only Dennon Lewis makes more crosses per 90, showing how impressive the French wing back has been.
Last season’s outstanding wing back was Macauley Southam-Hales, and he recorded 5.78 crosses per 90 for a title winning Stockport County. This is just 0.18 more crosses per 90, highlighting what an impressive job Nemane is doing in an unfamiliar position.
By contrast, Jayden Richardson only made 2.96 crosses per 90, a lot less than Nemane, so once again the Frenchman’s output is an improvement on last season.
Nemane’s crossing is a constant threat, and even led to an own goal scored by Gateshead which ended up rescuing a point for the Magpies. In terms of attacking output, not only has Nemane improved in this area, but he is shaping up to be one of, if not the best at attacking from right wing back in the league.
The attacking side of Nemane’s game is very rarely in doubt, however, the defensive side sometimes raises eyebrows, which is understandable as this is his first full season playing in a defensive role. However, Nemane has adapted quickly, and certainly improved this part of his game.
Last season he won just 55.93% of his defensive duels, but this season has already seen an increase 62.96%. This is a significant improvement, and is just another sign of the good work undertaken by both Nemane and boss Williams.
Jayden Richardson won 64.62% of his defensive duels, a small margin more, but it's likely that as the season progresses Nemane will improve his defensive abilities, and could feasibly draw level with Richardson.
Compared to wing back performance this season Nemane’s stats actually seem quite impressive; Myles Weston has won just 60% of his defensive duels and Dion Kelly-Evans has won just 57.69%, so Nemane looks comparatively impressive.
So what can we expect from Nemane moving forward? it's fair to say he has earned that starting spot, and the stats back up that Nemane is excellent in his role.
Hopefully sooner rather than later Notts fans will accept that Nemane isn’t just a winger playing at wing back. He has blistering pace, is always improving, and already has an increased attacking output, as shown by the stats comparison from last season.
Under Luke Williams’ management the signs are the Frenchman should continue to improve, and he will continue to be one of the first names on the team sheet.
As always, thanks for reading.
Your Notts County Stats Team:
Richard - @notts_stats
Tom - @tomhwilliams23
Colin - @Colin_Sisson
Header - Nottingham Post
Nemane - Aaron Nemane Twitter
Jayden Richardson - Nottingham Post