Talking Tactics

Rising stars: Mitchell can make left-back role his own

By Adrian Clarke 4 Jul 2021

Adrian Clarke says defender has the poise and potential to be a regular starter for Crystal Palace

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Adrian Clarke looks at players who emerged in the Premier League last season and are set to shine in 2021/22.

Tyrick Mitchell (CRY)

Reliable in defence and positive with his distribution, Mitchell can make the left-back slot his own at Crystal Palace in the season ahead.

The 21-year-old impressed last term as he shared the role with Dutch international Patrick van Aanholt.

Similar in style to former team-mate Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Mitchell relishes duels with opposition wingers.

Timing his tackles

Mitchell made more tackles per 90 minutes than any other Premier League full-back during the 2020/21 campaign.

Averaging 3.42 each match, he is combative and likes to get tight to skilful opponents.

Mitchell made 65 tackles last season and of the 69 PL players to have made 50+ during that time, he was the only one who was penalised for fewer than 15 fouls.

Sensible with his decision-making, Mitchell's record of eight fouls was by some distance the cleanest in the division, while he rarely gives away free-kicks in his own half.

Tackles and fouls stats 2020/21
Name Club Tackles Fouls conc.
Mitchell CRY 65 8
Godfrey EVE 55 15
Justin LEI 61 16
Vestergaard SOU 50 19
Lowton BUR 54 19

Mitchell scored and assisted in a 3-2 home win against Aston Villa in May, yet contributions inside the final third are rare.

While he gets forward to deliver the occasional cross, his primary role is to defend with assurance and pass the ball quickly to team-mates.

He made only three key passes in total last season and is not a full-back who opts to play safe, sideways passes.

Mitchell's goal and assist v Aston Villa

Instead his first instinct is to move the ball forward and this is another area where he stands out.

Indeed with 63.8 per cent of his passes played in that direction, his forward-pass ratio in 2020/21 was a competition-high among players with a minimum 10 starts.

Defender passing stats 2020/21
Name Club Passes Fwd passes % forward
Mitchell CRY 599 382 63.8
O'Shea WBA 810 490 60.5
Dummett NEW 518 285 55.0
Ward CRY 828 447 54.6
Krafth NEW 455 246 54.1

*Defenders with a min. of 10 PL starts

Another plus point is Mitchell's ability to pick out his team's main attacking threats, Wilfried Zaha and Eberechi Eze.

Both men like to drift towards the left and the defender is always eager to get the ball to them, with the statistics showing they are the two players to whom he passes most often.

Mitchell's passes to team-mate
Name Total passes
Wilfried Zaha 107
Eberechi Eze 79
Jeffrey Schlupp 29
Jordan Ayew 29
Luka Milivojevic 28

Mitchell has the potential to develop into one of the most consistent full-backs in the Premier League and there is no doubt that their new manager Patrick Vieira will inherit a very capable player.

Also in this series

Part 1: Smith Rowe setting tempo for Arsenal
Part 3: Tella ready to rival Adams and Ings
Part 4: Pass-master Gilmour will shine at Norwich

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