Having analysed Charles N’Zogbia’s stats from this season and last it is clear to see that his performance against Blackburn on Saturday was extremely encouraging as the new signing played a pivotal role in Villa’s victory.
The Frenchman made a somewhat subdued debut against Fulham, clearly lacking in match fitness and being withdrawn on 67 minutes, but the £9.5m looked shard against Rovers and showed signs of real quality during the game.
At Craven Cottage, N’Zogbia took just 37 touches of the ball before being replaced compared to a team and match high of 72 touches on his excellent home debut. The 25-year-old also made more passes than any other player on Saturday with 50, having made just 20 the week before, showing signs of increased confidence.
Despite being far more involved his pass accuracy increased significantly to reach a superb figure of 90% vs Blackburn, again a team and match high and markedly better than the 75% he managed at Fulham.
N’Zogbia made 2 key passes this weekend and last, both leading the way for Villa and his 3 successful dribbles thus far this season is also a joint-high with Fabian Delph. One area in which he dropped in performance against Blackburn was his crossing, reaching his target with just 20% of his deliveries compared to 33% against Fulham. However, when you consider Downing’s cross accuracy from last season was 23% it’s not really that bad.
He was dispossessed once having not been dispossessed the week before but this can be attributed to his greatly increased involvement and while he shipped in with the same figure of 1 tackle in each game, he picked up 3 interceptions against Blackburn compared to none the previous weekend.
Early Villa Form vs Wigan Form
The most encouraging sign for Villa fans is the fact that N’Zogbia is clearly beginning to settle in quickly at the club, proven by a look at his combined stats from the first 2 games of this season compared to his figures from last season with Wigan.
N’Zogbia has averaged more passes at Villa (35 – 29.6), a greater pass accuracy (86% – 78%), more successful crosses per game (1.5 – 0.8) and has been dispossessed far less (0.8 – 3.3). His defensive stats are also noticeably higher having averaged 1 tackle per game and 1.5 interceptions per game at Villa compared to figures of 0.8 in the same regards with the Latics, while his key passes per game rate of 2 is equal to that of last season.
The only real decrease in form from last season can be directly attributed to an unwillingness to lose possession early on in his Villa career, with his confidence yet to hit its peak. Compared to a phenomenal 3.2 successful dribbles per game last season, N’Zogbia has managed less than half this with 1.5. He has also had just 1 shot in his first 2 games, having attempted an average of 1.6 per game last season.
Either way his stats are still impressive and should give the fans cause for hope and prove that there is life after Young and Downing. His 86% pass accuracy is top of the team charts with youngster Fabian Delph thus far while he also leads the way for the team in terms of key passes per game and successful dribbles per game so all-in-all, a very promising start!
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