Introduced during the host of signings that took the Premier League by storm known as the French Revolution is none other than Ayoze Pérez. The forward has enjoyed his best goal scoring season while being at St. James Park. Pérez has managed to score 13 goals this season which is five more than last season. With this said Pérez has attracted a lot of attention from bigger teams in the Premier League looking to bolster their squads in the summer. This tactical analysis will break down his season at Newcastle United.
Classic number 10
Typical of his native land, Pérez plays a type of football which is centred around ball mastery and exploiting spaces between the defensive lines. With Rondón being the target man Pérez has played the role of linking the attack and defence of Newcastle United. Pérez will often pick up the ball in half spaces and look to combine with Rondón to create goal scoring opportunities. Having been directly involved in 14 of Newcastle’s 42 goals in the Premier League this season. It is clear why the midfielder has been linked to several top teams including the UEFA Champions League finalists Tottenham. The ability Pérez has in creating chances for his teammates as well as having an eye for goal makes him an asset to any team he may join this off-season.
The picture above is a heatmap of Ayoze for this past season, it is evident that Pérez is more involved on the right-hand side of the field. However, he won’t shy away from cutting into the middle. With the way Rafael Benitez sets out his team, on formation Pérez starts out on the right-hand side of a midfield of four.
Even while playing on the right Pérez eventually tucked in the middle in this game. He was a huge plus for Benítez with his man scoring two goals and playing a vital role in the goal Rondon scored. He helped his team come back from a two-nil deficit to defeat Everton three-two.
One of the things that stand out for Perez apart from his wizardry on the field is his contribution in the attack. Perez registered 55 shots during the season, 28 have been on target resulting in 12 of those being goals. With a shot accuracy of 51%, this season and a goals per match ratio of 0.23 the Spaniard is someone you could really look at to chip in with goals for your team. With the 12 goals Pérez has scored in the league, six have been with his right foot, two with his left foot and four have been with his head making him all round-balanced-forward. Quite deserving of the characteristic of a goal poacher it is evident that a vast number of goals Pérez scores are usually from rebounds or loose balls in the box making him the perfect fit to play with the likes of Harry Kane. A striker who troubles a lot of goalkeepers in the league with his lethal shots.
Due to his game intelligence, Perez is also quick to identify spaces and use his pace to make runs behind the defence to put him in goal scoring positions. While Rondón has the ball Pérez reacts quickly to sprint to the open space behind the defence whereby he taps the ball in to finish.
Something Perez does a lot is scoring by re-deflecting his teammates’ shots eventually leaving goalkeepers stunned and helpless. In the picture above Perez scored a header past the Southampton keeper who had already committed himself in the direction of the initial shot.
A trait very much needed in the Premier League is the ability to create plays and take the initiative. Pérez has the vision that goes beyond just playing the flashy through ball. Throughout the season he has shown us moments whereby he has taken upon himself to create a goal scoring opportunities. The art of dribbling past defenders to force other defenders to leave their zones is something Pérez has mastered. In an attempt to stop him, defenders in return give up space for Pérez to play the forward pass setting up his attackers.
After receiving the ball in the picture above, Pérez holds on to the ball for a few moments and only passes to his teammate once he is sure that his teammate will receive the ball in a goalscoring position. To be able to do this you need to be tactically and technically aware in order to understand what is going around you. Pérez style of play is quite like Spurs star Dele Alli. Which only shows why he would be a good fit adding depth and competition for Mauricio Pochettino’s men.
Again, after receiving the ball from his teammate in the picture above, Pérez does well to wait for the perfect time before playing the through pass for his teammate. Setting him for a one on one with the keeper, who unfortunately misses denying the Spaniard an assist. Pérez would have recorded a decent number of assists if it wasn’t for his teammates always “dropping the ball” at crucial moments.
This time almost instant, from the picture above. Pérez identifies the space behind the defence and takes only two touches before releasing his teammate through on goal for the finish.
To be a successful dribbler you don’t only have to have the ability to whiz past defenders for the sake of it but need to have an end goal in mind. This is what Pérez brings to the table. A lot of the time Pérez will draw multiple defenders and eliminate them with either a body feint or a smart turn which will enable his team to progress to the opposition third swiftly. Due to the fast pressing adopted by many teams, this ability serves clubs well. As someone with the ability to take the pressure off their team during stages of being highly pressed is important.
This time in the picture above Pérez eliminates two good defensive players in Jan Vertonghen and Harry Winks. In return helping his side keep possession in crucial areas also forcing the defenders to panic as some of their key defensive players are out of possession.
Off the ball, Pérez also displays good game insight when on the defensive side. Knowing when to press and what triggers to follow. He waits until the Swansea player is out of options before pressing the player on the ball and dispossessing him in the process.
Pérez has certainly enjoyed a fruitful season in Newcastle United. He truly deserves the attention he is getting in the off-season. With his playing style so similar to the players at Spurs. It is clearly obvious that a move to the London based outfit would be a good buy for both the club and the player: adding depth to a youthful and vibrant Spurs team