In-Depth Statistical Profile of Karim El Ahmadi
In what is the second installment of my blog from last week detailing just what sort of player we might be signing in Karim El Ahmadi, here we will gain a purely statistical viewpoint on Lambert's new lion.
The Dutch-born Moroccan international amassed 2649 minutes of playing time over 31 appearances for eventual Eredivisie runners-up Feyenoord, grabbing much of the plaudits for their success along with City loanee John Guidetti. In that time he netted just twice in his role as a box-to-box midfielder, but did pick up 6 assists, which is more than any Villa player managed last season.
Upon signing, El Ahmadi stated that he was the sort of player who always looks to make himself available, which, if true, will be music to Villa fans ears. The stats back up his claims, averaging 46.7 passes per game last season - another figure that betters those of every Villan, with captain Petrov averaging 43.1.
His pass accuracy of 85.8% is, you guessed it, higher than any Villa player last season, with Petrov again best for the Lions, on 83%, and perhaps more encouragingly, his accuracy barely wavers in the opposition half, standing at 83.8%.
Though many have been led to believe El Ahmadi is an out-and-out defensive midfielder, this is not entirely the case. Although his main strengths are admittedly more defensive, the new recruit averages 1.3 key passes per game, with N'Zogbia (1.6), Bannan (1.4) and Petrov (1.4) only just ahead. When it comes to dribbling, however, El Ahmadi comes out on top again, with 1.6 per game up on N'Zogbia's 1.3.
And the hugely encouraging stats just keep on coming, with an average of 3 tackles per game way up on any of Villa's midfielders, with Ireland the surprise best last season, on 2.3. The one area, statistically, in which Villa did excel under McLeish was interceptions (woohoo), with Petrov's average of 3.6 the most in the league and Warnock's total of 103 again topping the entire division. El Ahmadi has a decent average in this regard, with 2.1 per game able to see him place 6th in comparison to Villa's ranks from last term.
All in all, Lambert looks as though he may have pulled off a great opening signing, though the midfielder did take a while to settle into his new club when making the move to Feyenoord. Clearly a huge void will need to be filled in the absence of our captain fantastic, but given time, maybe El Ahmadi could prove to be that man on the field. UTV!