ON/OFF: Betis and Atlético de Madrid without two of its pillars

Category: Team Analysis

We look at the impact Nabil Fekir and Reinildo Mandava have on their respective teams, now that they are set to be sidelined for several months with the same injury.


Football is made up of 11 players and 11 substitutes, but not all players have the same impact and relevance within a team. There are players who, due to their characteristics or the absence of a similar profile in the squad, acquire greater importance than other players who are performing equally or better. To know with data how a team performs with or without the player we have the ON/OFF tool.

Recently, two key players in their teams, being defenders and winger respectively, have been seriously injured, affected by the rupture of the cruciate ligament in their knees. They are Reinildo Mandava and Nabil Fekir, two players, from different positions, who will miss the rest of the season and whose teams share the same objective: to enter the next edition of the Champions League.

The case of Nabil Fekir has a direct impact on the whole of Betis’ attacking play. With the Frenchman, Betis have better numbers in all the metrics referring to shots, chances and possession of the ball, being a player of great quality to pause, retain and attract defenders to create space in areas close to or away from the ball. Our tool shows a clear statistical decline in goals, shots on goal, touches in the box, verticality or possession. A fundamental player in Pellegrini’s plans.

Without him, Betis can still play well but will have to play differently. For example, in his map of progressive passes received, we can see how Nabil is the recipient of passes from the goalkeeper or the centre-backs, which shows his relevance in Betis’ game in terms of progressing possession and generating continuity in the opposition half.

The case of Reinildo Mandava is only relevant in defence, as his contribution in attack is quite limited. Although the statistics do not reflect it, the Mozambican represents the speed and forcefulness within the red and white defensive line. His absence will weigh heavily for two reasons: not being able to field a back four unless Reguilón regains his best fitness, and a tip of speed and agility inside the box to correct borderline situations.

In his defensive action maps, Reinildo is close to perfection in one-on-one situations, thanks to his concentration and quickness to accelerate. When he gets his leg in to steal the ball, his success rate (map on the right) is very high, managing to close down many progressions and attempts to go deep by opponents.

In yellow, successful actions but where the ball is not recovered.

In the following graph you can see what Mandava means in the tackle and in the aerial duel in his own area compared to the full-backs in La Liga 22/23. A specialist who has become essential for Simeone and who has no substitute in terms of characteristics and prolonged performance.

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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