All the secrets of the potential French champion

Category: Team Analysis

Franck Haise's Lens, the revelation of the season in France, who can dream of a title challenge in the remaining two months of the championship. But what are they doing so well compared to Marseille or Monaco?

Published:05/04/2023

Paris Saint-Germain’s 2023 could make the league title difficult for them. The team’s internal problems have been reflected in their performance and they are only six points ahead of their nearest challengers, none other than Franck Haise’s Lens, the revelation of the season who can dream of a title challenge in the remaining two months of the championship. But what are they doing so well compared to Marseille or Monaco?

The most remarkable, without a doubt, is their defensive performance, conceding only 18 goals without penalties while managing 57% possession and a defensive distance away from their own goal. In all our generic defensive metrics, they are well above the championship average, always managing to win the ball back at the top. Among the numerical data, the 1.65 xG against for every goal conceded stands out.

In this visualisation, we can see that the Lens have only been behind 9.6% of the time, with clean sheets against Monaco, Marseille and Rennes, as well as the 3-1 win over PSG at home. With this visualisation, stored on our driblabPRO customer platform, we can see in which sections of a match he scores the most goals or how many comebacks he has accumulated so far.

A particularly characteristic feature of his style has to do with his centre-backs. Playing with a line of three centre-backs and two full-backs, their centre-backs tend to drive constantly to add to the midfield and generate attentions in the opposition to open up space to progress behind them. On this map, we count up to 490 drives by Facundo Medina and Kevin Danso.

So much so that the Argentinian and the Frenchman are currently the two centre-backs in the five major European leagues with the highest number of carries. Their protagonism and daring to initiate and carry the ball into the opposition half with long drives allows the lens not to be inferior in the opposition half when they have the ball.

All this is crowned by the impeccable and effective work of Lois Openda. Lens’ gamble on the Belgian striker from Vitesse has paid off right from the start, with almost no time to adapt. Openda is having an extraordinary season as a finisher, proving to be one of the most in-form strikers in Ligue 1, recording the best finishing percentage of his career (21% of his shots are goals).

We are Driblab, a consultancy specialized in the statistical analysis of players and teams; our work is focused on advising and minimizing risk in professional football decision-making in areas related to talent detection and footballer evaluations. Our database has more than 200,000 players from more than 180 competitions, covering information from all over the world. Here you can learn more about how we work and what we offer.

Autor: Alejandro Arroyo
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