Talking Tactics

Standout players of 2018/19: Jose Holebas

Adrian Clarke 14 Oct 2018
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Adrian Clarke on how the Watford full-back's all-round game has improved this season

Adrian Clarke selects the players who have caught his eye in 2018/19 so far. 

Jose Holebas (WAT)

The left foot of Jose Holebas has been one of the success stories of the season.

The Watford defender’s four assists and 17 chances created are the most by any Premier League full-back this campaign.

The Greek has impressed with his raids down the left but his quality from set-piece situations sets him apart.

Kabasele gains

Holebas applies such pace and accuracy to his deliveries that opposing defences have found them almost impossible to deal with.

Fourteen of the 17 chances he has created have come from set-plays, with defender Christian Kabasele the chief recipient, getting on the end of five Holebas centres.

Roberto Pereyra, Craig Cathcart and Troy Deeney have all scored from his dead-ball crosses.

The statistics speak for themselves. No player in the division has reached their target from corners and wide free-kicks more often than Holebas.

Holebas deliveries 2018/19
HolebasTotalPL rank
Successful corners111=
Successful free-kick crosses51=
Defensive solidity

Holebas’s all-round game now looks to be in its best shape since he joined Watford from Roma in 2015.

As well as providing an attacking threat, the 34-year-old's defending has been terrific, too.

Tucking inside to keep a narrow shape when necessary, Holebas has been effective in the air, winning a number of crucial headed duels to repel attacks.

He also uses his powerful physique to his advantage. He is ranked second only to Etienne Capoue for regaining possession inside the defensive third for the Hornets.

Holebas the all-rounder
 TotalWatford rank
Assists41
Key passes171
Open-play crosses252
Forward passes1261
Possession won defensive third272
Headed clearances172
Modern full-back

Balancing sound defensive work with all the attacking expectations of a modern full-back, it is no surprise Javier Gracia has picked him for every Premier League match so far.

One area of his game where he still struggles is staying out of the referees' notebooks.

Holebas will miss Watford's trip to Wolverhampton Wanderers on 20 October through suspension, having collected five yellow cards.

His absence will be keenly felt by his team-mates at Molineux.

But when he is on the pitch, Holebas looks set to play an integral role in the ambitious Hornets' season.

Also in this series

Part 1: Standout players of 2018/19: Lukasz Fabianski
Part 3: Standout players of 2018/19: David Luiz
Part 4: Standout players of 2018/19: Lucas Torreira
Part 5: Standout players 2018/19: Bernardo Silva

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