Talking Tactics

Players set to star in 2018/19: Benjamin Mendy

By Adrian Clarke 16 May 2018
Benjamin Mendy, Manchester City

Adrian Clarke says Man City defender can be the most exciting full-back in the Premier League next season

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Adrian Clarke is looking at players who, after limited contributions in 2017/18, can make a big impact in the 2018/19 Premier League.

Benjamin Mendy

This time next year, Mendy will probably be regarded as the Premier League's most exciting full-back.

A serious knee injury limited the Frenchman to only 361 minutes of action in his debut season for Manchester City.

But, during those brief stints, he showed how he can take Pep Guardiola's side to new heights.

Power and purpose

Mendy is powerful. He only made three 90-minute outings, against AFC Bournemouth, Liverpool and Watford, but, in each, Mendy made the most sprints of any City player, averaging an incredible 82 per match.

He married great width down the left with a bold approach that gave the champions an exciting new dimension.

Man City full-backs per 90mins
 Rank 1st 2nd
Open-play crosses Mendy 9.7 Walker 1.8
Succ. open-play crosses Mendy 2.0 Danilo 0.2
Chances created Mendy 2.2 Zinchenko 1.4
Dribbles Mendy 2.0 Delph 1.7
Shots Danilo 1.3 Mendy 1.2
Creative force

The signing from Monaco is by some distance City's most creative full-back.

He put more than five times as many crosses into the penalty area than any team-mate per 90 minutes. So expect his supply line to offer an alternative avenue for the title-winners to attack opponents in 2018/19.

Despite his long layoff, Mendy looked excellent on his return to action in the last few weeks of the season.

At home to Huddersfield Town he sent in six crosses, two shots and a key pass during only 33 minutes on the pitch as a substitute.

And in Premier League terms he is by some distance the most active and proficient crosser from full-back.

Davide Zappacosta, of Chelsea, is the closest to Mendy in that department.

The only defender with more key passes per 90 minutes is Jesus Gamez, who made only two appearances for Newcastle United.

Mendy v PL full-backs per 90mins
  Mendy rank
Open-play crosses 1
Succ. open-play crosses 1
Chances created 2
Dribbles 14
Shots 9

Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus are likely to be the chief beneficiaries of a player who, when he is in full flow, is fabulous to watch.

The balance and threat he will provide to City next season will give them a major boost in their title defence.

Also in this series

Part 2: Players set to star in 2018/19: Kelechi Iheanacho
Part 3: Players set to star in 2018/19: Ruben Loftus-Cheek
Part 4: Players set to star in 2018/19: Florian Lejeune
Part 5: Players set to star in 2018/19: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

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