Welcome back to the best of the Rest XI so far. Yesterday revealed that Brighton’s Tariq Lamptey was our choice for the teams RB and today we select our first Centre Half to the team.
In our group chat picking most of the team was pretty easy, we would all say who we think deserved to be in the team for each position and the player picked most frequently would be agreed on. For 90% of the team this was a simple process. However, when it came to the CB’s there was a large range of players selected and we had to go to an individual vote just for the CB’s. What this means is you may not like the choices that we have made but ultimately these are the two players who came out on top!
So, our first choice for CB is Leicester’s Wesley Fofana. Fofana joined Leicester from St Etienne back in the summer when he was only 19 years old after having only played 20 games for the French side where he started his career. At the start of the season Wesley couldn’t have imagined the chances that he would have got at the club with a back line already recognised as one of the most formidable in the League. Fortunately for Fofana this is the craziest season recorded and like many others Leicester went through an injury crisis which ravaged their back line.
This meant that Fofana was plunged into the deep end but ever since his debut he has undoubtedly risen to the challenge. In the 18 games he has played for the Fox’s he has helped the club keep 7 clean sheets, 7 Premier League victories and even bagged himself an assist against Spurs whilst also performing above and beyond all expectations in every game.
As always with thanks to VIZI we have the opportunity to put Fofana head-to-head with a big 6 foe, and who better than a player who embodies everything that Fofana will hope to be, Thiago Silva. He was made predominantly in the French League, won countless trophies and is regarded as one of the best centre half’s of a generation. Now in his swansong Silva is a Chelsea but is still showing some of the class that took him to the top. Let’s look at how Fofana racks up against a player 14 years his elder:
Immediately we can see two players who are playing at the highest quality but also, we see two players who are very evenly matched. As we discussed yesterday with Reece James, Chelsea’s setup seems to mould their defenders in a certain way. Once again like Reece James we can see a player who players a litany of long balls every game and likes to get into the final third of the pitch.
But for Fofana we can see some phenomenal stats and a brilliantly well-rounded player for someone who is only 20 years old! But his youth in this case may be what gives him the advantage in some areas. More dribbles, more tackles, more interceptions and more pressures are the signs of a very hardworking player who likes to commit himself and get stuck in. This fact is only certified when you look at Aerial Duels won and Aerial dule win %, despite the fact the two stats sound the same the results show something important. Fofana has won more dules per 90 in total, but Silva is almost 20% more likely to win a duel than Fofana! This shows to me the energetic but also naive nature of a young player who goes in to win every single header and will win a lot but only 50% of the time. Whereas Thiago Silva wins far more often because he experience allows him to know when a battle is and when it isn’t worth it.
Silva’s experience also shows as he commits less fouls and is far less susceptible to giving the ball away than Fofana. But to me we are seeing a graph of a phenomenal 20-year-old. One who is already performing way above his age for the position he is in. As time passes and Fofana becomes a smarter player you will also undoubtably see him catch up to Silva and even overtake him in some areas. He will become smarter on the ball meaning his passing will get better and he is less likely to give the ball away. We can see that the lad has a lot of room for improvement, which in itself is scary considering how well he is already doing. He has years left before he reaches his physical and mental peak as a player so looking at this there is a real possibility that Fofana could be one of the best CB’s on earth if continues playing and improving as he has so far for Leicester City. And that is why he is in our squad!
Tomorrow we will see who partners Fofana in what is going to be a world class back line…
Thanks for reading!